I received an electronic message the other day from someone trying to persuade me that, in essence, repentance is not necessary as long as one has faith. Such a concept is nonsense and little worth commenting on, were it not so popular. There are several ways to address this absurdity. I will present a couple.
Perhaps the first is to ask, faith in what or whom? If one means faith in Christ, then I would ask how would one have faith in Christ without repenting of the sinful way of life and embracing the commandments that Christ has given us? Can you be said to have faith in Christ and yet reject the walk of life that He commanded us to follow? Following that way of life is repentance.
Second, advocating that faith is enough, without repentance, is to use the concept of faith to avoid repentance. It is using the concept of faith to avoid doing what Christ commanded us to do, to avoid living the way of life He set out for us. It is to invoke faith in order to doubt what He said. I do not remember the Savior or His prophets ever teaching that. It is a Satanic doctrine that destroys both repentance and faith—and dishonors the Christ who gave us His commandments.
Again, repentance means changing your lifestyle, turning away from following your own faulty and rebellious whims and following the way of abundant life that Christ has outlined in His commandments. The doctrine of faith without repentance ignores the commandments of Christ. Faith means that you believe Him and trust Him. Men’s actions derive directly from their faith in what will bring them what they seek. That is why James declares, “I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18) Faith in Christ cannot mean disregard of His commandments. That would be faith in something or someone other than Christ.
I know of only one commandment of Christ repeated more often in the scriptures than the commandment to repent, namely the commandment to seek Christ. Jesus Christ has promised us that if we seek Him, we shall find Him. What do we do once we find Him? We believe Him and follow Him and embrace His way of living. That is faith in Christ. That is repentance, and that is life eternal. As Jesus said in prayer to the Father, the night before the crucifixion, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” (John 17:3)
(First published January 17, 2009)