Whatever Happened To The Gospel Of Repentance And Faith?

Whatever Happened To The Gospel Of Repentance And Faith? July 20, 2018

What’s changed in the proclamation of the gospel in the last hundred years or so? It’s the presentation of the gospel that’s changed.

Come into my Heart

What’s happened to the presentation of the gospel? Where have repentance and faith gone? What about Jesus’ saying, “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt 16:25). Jesus did not come to give you or me a more fulfilling life; He demands our life! If we live for ourselves, we’re dead to Christ, but if we’re dead to self, then we’re alive to Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). I’ve heard the phrase, “Let Jesus come into your heart” a few times, but exactly what does that mean? I’m not sure Jesus would like my heart since Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it” (Jer 17:9)? Besides, Jesus doesn’t only want our hearts…He demands our life and that we seek Him and His righteousness above all things (Matt 6:33). We must die to ourselves before we can live for Christ, so a plea to sinner to “Let Jesus come into your heart” is neither biblical nor effective.

Jesus Loves You

Yes, Jesus loves you, but He is also asking you to repent and believe (Mark 1:14-15). The saying “the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man” is not found in the Bible. Whoever is not of Christ is not a child of the Father. You are either for Him or against Him (Matt 12:30). There is no neutrality with Jesus, so to simply walk up to people and proclaim, “Jesus loves you” or “God loves you” is never going to bring about the knowledge that they are sinners and they need the Savior. Yes, God is love, but He is also holy, and dwelling on only one attribute can be to the others. You cannot separate one attribute from another. The only attribute of God that’s mentioned three times is that He is “Holy, Holy, Holy.” That is the greatest emphasis possible in Jewish literature. One man walked around the park with a sign that said, “Jesus loves you.” Well, that’s nice, but a lot of people would answer, “Well, my wife loves me too and so do my children and my mom.” Can you imagine Jesus or Paul going up to the Pharisees, Scribes or lawyers and say, “I love you?”

Accept Jesus

Many years ago when I was saved, maybe I said, “I have accepted Jesus,” but a few years later I thought, “Does Jesus really need my acceptance?” I would be more concerned about Jesus accepting me! It sounds a bit condescending to Christ to say, “I have decided to accept You, Jesus,” almost as if He needed our acceptance before we could be saved; almost as if we’re saying, “He needs me to accept Him in order more for me to saved, so I guess I’ll just have to accept Him.” If we had to “accept” anything, it was the fact that we sinner in the hands of an angry God, and that our sins had separated us from Him, so we must put our trust in Christ, not accept Him. Actually, He is the One Who grants repentance (2 Tim 2:25) and draws us to Christ (John6:44), and we only love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Give Your Heart to Jesus

There is the phrase, “I have given my heart to Jesus,” and I’m not sure where it came from, but it somewhat recent. I know people are saved by donating organs, but what does it mean to say, “Give your heart to Jesus.” Once more, Jesus doesn’t want one part alone…He wants all of us. I realize this is a common expression, but God is the one Who quickens the dead, not the dead quickening themselves (Eph 2:1-4), so we cannot give anything to God, particularly our heart, until God quickens us to eternal life by His Spirit. It’s not about giving our heart; it’s about what God gave (John 3:16).

Don’t Lose Heart. You’re Awesome

Don’t Lose Heart. You’re Awesome. This was on a church sign and it just struck me as wrong. Only God is awesome. In fact, the word awesome should only be reserved for God Himself. No, I am not awesome. I would only say that I am awful…a wretch and not deserving to be saved. The truth is, there is not one that is righteous, and not even the one who thinks he’s the exception (Rom 3:10). There are none that do good (Rom 3:12). I’m awesome? Really!? It’s a nice pithy statement, but I’d like to see the chapter and verse for that one.

The Sinner’s Prayer

God alone saves, so salvation does not come by repeating a sinner’s prayer. Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved (Acts 4:12), and God is the one Who draws people to Christ (John 6:44), and even though He may use this prayer as a means to save someone, it’s not the prayer itself that saves anyone. It takes the Word of God with the Spirit of God to create the children of God. If you are repeating a sinners prayer or even filling out a decision card (not biblical either), you may be giving someone false assurance or creating a pseudo conversion. Even walking the isle doesn’t save you. Again, God alone saves (Acts 16:30-31). When someone asks what they must do to be saved, we don’t say, “Here, fill out this decision card, walk the isle or repeat this sinners prayer.” Jesus says we must repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:14-15).


In the last century or so, the church has become more seeker sensitive, but until we tell people the bad news about sin, judgment, and God’s wrath upon the unrepentant, they’ll never see the importance of God’s mercy. His mercy is only relevant until His wrath is revealed. That makes Christ’s atonement all the more precious. It is only through Christ that we can be seen as having His righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). Until a person sees that they’ve got the death penalty hanging over their head, they will never seek the Advocate (1 John 2:1). You cannot preach the gospel without preaching about repentance, just as John the Baptist said, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2). The Holy Spirit convicted the consciences of those who were witnesses of and responsible for Jesus’ being crucified. The Apostle Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). When Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry, He said, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). You cannot leave out repentance and faith when presenting Christ. In fact, conversion cannot occur apart from the Holy Spirit and the presence of both faith and repentance. That He is “mighty to save” (Zeph 3:17), is mighty good news.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

"I like what Jack did here, reminding us the formulae, or the very basic of ..."

Seeing The Gospel In Biblical Accounts
""For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, ..."

Seeing The Gospel In Biblical Accounts
"You need to read Ben Witherington III’s critiques of Ehrman’s work.Both studied under Bruce Metzger ..."

What Is A New Creation In ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • pud

    “but until we tell people the bad news about sin, judgment, and God’s wrath upon the unrepentant, they’ll never see the importance of God’s mercy. His mercy is only relevant until His wrath is revealed.”

    AH! The old stand-by argument for your ridiculous mindless belief….FEAR! Do as the book says or else!! ….because he loves you. LOL

    “That makes Christ’s atonement all the more precious. It is only through Christ that we can be seen as having His righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). Until a person sees that they’ve got the death penalty hanging over their head, they will never seek the Advocate”

    RIGHT! A human sacrifice! What a great plan! The invisible undetectable “god” sends himself as a sacrifice to himself as a loophole for all the mistakes he himself made! ARG!!! How can you be this stoopid?

    BELIEVE NONSENSE OR ELSE!!! What a completely stupid and infantile mind you have jack.

    There is NO evidence that any “jesus” ever existed! EVERYTHING in your stupid barbaric stone age book is WRONG and demonstrably so! What kind of lunatic builds his entire life around some ancient book? ONLY CRAZY PEOPLE!

    “This is the true horror of religion, that people by the billions can believe what only lunatics could believe on their own”

    • Angie Guy

      Pud, I don’t believe anyone will be attracted to a God who hangs a death penalty over the head, “believe me or you will die.” That’s not the way for anyone to come to Christ. And let me ask you, if you knew there was a God who loved you more than anyone in the world and was always seeking your good…that was the most kind, benevolent, self sacrificing, loving Person in the entire universe….would you want to love a God like that? If He were real?

      • pud

        You should brush up on your English grammar.

        Every single “believer” is so because of the threat hanging over them. Every doctrine preaches that you are a filthy rag deserving death and that they have the magic cure! Believe nonsense, worship and beg this invisible undetectable agent and all will be well….don’t and the pit of hell awaits. SICK! STUPID! and FALSE NONSENSE!

        Your made up imaginary “person”? Is your deity a person?

        There is no “christ” to “come to” and I wouldn’t want to have a cult leader to follow even if there was such a deluded preacher.

        Your invisible undetectable “god” thing isn’t real so your question is moot….it’s all make believe and pretend just like the 9999 “gods” that came before yours were.

        • Angie Guy

          Nice way to deflect my question. I asked you if He were the way I described, could you believe in a God like that?

        • Angie Guy

          My God is loving, kind and self sacrificing. I have spent most of my adult life getting to know Him and I find Him to be the most beautiful Person (God) I could ever ask for. I am not a believer because I feel threatened. I am a believer because I see a loving God who died for me.

          • pud

            You’re a “believer” because you’re stupid and lack critical thinking skills.

            Wasn’t it your “god” who killed every living thing in a flood except the family that had to practice incest to re-populate the world? Babies, puppies, kittens, the unborn in the womb…all murdered in an act of global genocide…that loving “god”? Oh and the one who sent himself as a ritual blood human sacrifice of himself to himself? That psychotic “god”

            You see, one ounce of critical thinking exposes just how insane you must be to buy into this absurd proposition.

          • Angie Guy

            Yes, He flooded the world. Do you know why? And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Ge.6:5. We cannot imagine a world like that where there was only evil continually. Noah was the only righteous person who lived on the earth, and that is a pretty scary thing. People had a choice just like we do today. Do we follow darkness or walk in the light? God doesn’t force us. He flooded the world so He could save it eventually. You and I wouldn’t exist now because the ancient world would have destroyed themselves. There are reasons for everything.

          • pud

            LOL…There was no global flood…it is a myth that only lunatics “believe” was real. Noah lived out his life in your stupid story drunk and naked. Good choice “god”! LOL

            “He” killed the unborn, the kittens, the little children because they were all wicked eh? Couldn’t have come down and had a nice godly talk with everyone eh?

            You are not only stupid, you are insane.


          • Angie Guy

            Pud, I hope that you will change your mind about God. If you would take time to read the Bible from the perspective of knowing Him, I believe your understanding would change. He loves you with an everlasting love. You seem angry.

          • pud

            Will never happen. I value my critical thinking skills and would no sooner sacrifice my brain to your lunatic cult than I would any other. I’ve read your warped, wicked evil blood filled mindless Bronze Age book…it is revolting, disgusting, primitive savage barbaric fables.

            I repeat…you’re stupid and indoctrinated and haven’t a clue what you’re talking about

            I’m not angry at all…I simply loathe cults and the lies and deception you all promote.

          • Angie Guy

            I hope you will change your mind. Never say never! God is trying to reach your heart and as long as there is breath, there is hope. One day He will return to this earth and I hope you will be among those who love Him. The Bible is a book of hope and a testament of the love of God. If you have eyes to see, you can see. What do you have to lose? You’ll be steeped in a life of anger and bitterness otherwise. I’ll pray for you, Pud!

          • pud

            Stop. You’re insane, you haven’t a clue or a critically thinking brain cell. You have either been indoctrinated or are so credulous that you’ll believe anything no matter how ridiculous.

            The “buybull” is a book of atrocities, genocide, slavery, suffering and threats. There is nothing “loving” about rivers of blood or locusts with the heads of humans…You are absolutely stupid to buy into this absurd nonsense

            Save your mindless prayers.

          • Angie Guy

            Pud, you are seeing things from such a dark perspective. The Bible is full of stories of heroism, love, miracles, self sacrifice, bravery, courage. It also has the reality of war, murder, rebellion and suffering. All of these things are a part of human history. You must see the evidence of good and evil on this planet. I am not indoctrinated, but have seen first hand the love and mercy of God in my own life and in the lives of many. There is evidence of His love if you will open your eyes. We have an enemy that is at work also. I will pray for you, Pud! God hears and answers.

          • pud

            You are deranged, delusional and stupid, Gullible and credulous beyond words.

            There is no evidence whatsoever for a single thing you subscribe to. NOTHING.

            Billions and Trillions of “prayers” are said begging your invisible friend for personal favors….yet millions die every day in agony while your invisible undetectable friend watches.

            Sorry but I won’t reply further…I only allow so many brain cells to willfully stupid people

          • Angie Guy

            Since you won’t reply further, I will leave you with my final thoughts. I see you as a person in need of love and peace. I will continue to pray for you. I am not sure if Pud is your real name, but it was the name of one of my relatives who fought in WW2. So I will have an easy time remembering you and keeping you in prayer. I hope to see you on the streets of gold and will pray for you to see God as He really is. He loves YOU!!

          • HappinessPursuit

            Well put.

          • Angie Guy

            Thank you! God bless.

      • pud

        Describing attributes does not prove existence. Try again.

  • Guestie

    If you want to hear the Christian gospel of repentance and faith, you just go to a church that focuses on those things. There are plenty of them around.

    • pud

      Too bad isn’t it? Hopefully some day they will all be youth centers or pubs!

  • stevendimattei

    The article starts off with some good critical questions: what does it really mean to follow Jesus––an article that I am currently drafting. Losing one’s life, or letting go of the self, self-denial, etc. are only a small part of what Jesus, per the gospels, demand. He also demands the complete abandonment of the socio-economic worldview, and forget striving for success as we define it. Again he demands that we seek to be the last, the least, the defeated, humbled, dejected, etc. Of course there are reasons why these teachings existed in 1st century Judaism, but my point, or my thesis for my article, is that if you are living––empirically, economically, politically, psychologically––in our 21st century worldview then by default you cannot be a follower of this 1st century Jew and his teachings, or what he demands as you like to put it. Anyone claiming to be a follower of Jesus is a hypocrite. Alas, the evidence also suggests that modern Christians reshape Jesus, and God, as they see fit––in support of their own worldview, ambitions, and ideologies. “Not everyone who says to me ‘I am a Christian’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21).

    Christians need to start grappling with the message, rather than feigning belief.

    • pud

      “He” never existed! duh. Don’t you think you should start there before you make up reams of idiotic nonsense?

      If you want to live in the stone age be my guest! The rational people of this world recognize that we live in the best time in all of Human History!

      The “message” is absurd and ridiculous….all of it! Following a character in a fable is something only a lunatic could or would do. It’s all make believe including whatever gibberish you write.

      Demonstrate that ANY “god” ever existed…The irony in your nonsense is the presupposition that one does, did and that it’s your version. You cannot show anything you babble as true….not a single thing.

      Look up the definition of “empirical” before you use it again

      • stevendimattei

        Your comment reveals more about your assumptions and misunderstandings than about anything I’ve written. You babble on like a Fundamentalist ensconced in your own limited thinking, parroting predefined assumptions. Who said anything about God? I’m not making an argument for nor against. You’ve, in your limited capacity for thought, have brought him into the conversation.

        Second, I am a biblical scholar (PhD), have read and written on the topic. Your claim, or any claims, that Jesus didn’t exist are unsubstantiated. Certainly many biblical scholars, myself included, realize that the Jesuses of the gospels are not historical portraits, that each gospel writer crafted their own portrait of Jesus to suit whatever historical, social needs or concerns they were addressing. Finally, you in your ingenious academic acumen missed my whole point, which you also seem to reproduce, however in your primitive use of language. Namely, yes, whether Jesus sayings in the gospels are his or are mere literary creations of the gospel writers, they are impossible for us to follow in the 21st century.

        And “the message” is not absurd at all. Again, this reveals your lack of understanding. On a personal note, I am not a Christian, nor a Jesus follower; I am a biblical scholar; my task is to understand in what historical, social circumstances were such teaching created. With that knowledge in hand, which I amply possess, Jesus’ message in the gospels make clear sense. Again, to clarify for your feeble thought processes, that’s not an endorsement to follow Jesus teachings––I’ve argued against that––rather it’s an acknowledgement.

        I shall end by reminding you that atheism is not synonymous with critical thinking. You yourself clearly exemplify that point.

        • pud

          I usually stop when I read “I’m a PHD in buybullology”….it’s a clear signal that you’re unemployable in any real world profession and have to make your living babbling academic jargon to credulous people who lack critical thinking skills.

          Crafting conflicting “portraits” of invisible undetectable deities to suit ones purpose is called propaganda….exactly what you’re wasting your time on.

          If you possessed a shred of decency you wouldn’t be feeding these people anything and would instead use your high brow intellect to convince them to check into de-programming clinics for the serially delusional and indoctrinated. Rather than nourish their pathology with “expert” commentary on make believe characters you could ridicule the ridiculous and enroll yourself in a plumbing class and do something useful with your life

          PS…I don’t subscribe to any “isms”

        • HappinessPursuit

          Amen! Thanks for being a voice of reason. And humor!

    • Jack Wellman

      Welk said indeed sir. Thank you.

      • pud

        Lawrence Welk?