The false teaching of "Repentance of Sin" as a necessary step in salvation, is like a swimmer drowning with a cinderblock tied to his feet and his arms tied behind his back. He screams to the lifeguard for help, but the lifeguard tells the drowning swimmer that he cannot pull him to safety until he first unties the cinderblock from his own feet. The drowning swimmer tries and tries, but is incapable of untying the weight from his feet as his hands are tied behind his back. As a result, the swimmer drowns, as the lifeguard watches on unable to help because of his own limitations.
This is what the false teaching of repentance is saying about the work of Christ. It is teaching that He is not strong enough, and He is incapable of saving us without our assistance. It is teaching the work on the cross was insufficient to save us. Christ knows we are incapable of untying the weight of sin tied to our feet. Unlike the lifeguard, He would never tell us to do for ourselves that which we cannot. When it comes to salvation, He does not need our help, and in fact if we try to help we are just tying more weight around our feet. Romans 4:4. It is not too late; like the drowning swimmer, you are incapable of freeing yourself. No matter how much weight you have tied to your feet He is more than capable to pull you to safety.
So what is your part, what should you do?
Your part is to cry out for help. Your part is to understand that you are drowning, and understand you cannot save yourself. Your part is to believe that He is the only one capable of saving you, and the only part you play, is trusting that He can. Your part is to put your trust in the death burial and resurrection of Christ, understanding he died for you on the cross to pay the full penalty of your sin, believe he was buried, and then raised from the dead. 1Corinthians 15: 1-4.
If you are trusting in the work of Christ and yourself, i.e. something you must do, you are nullifying His Grace, and nullifying your salvation. Romans 11:6 reads, “If it is by Grace, then it is no longer by works, otherwise Grace is no longer Grace”, and Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us it is by Grace that we have been saved.
The example of the swimmer above is meant to show how repenting of your sin is, in essence, adding works to your salvation; i.e., there is something you must do. Again, Ephesians 2:8-9 reads, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.” Romans 4:5 reads, “however, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness”.
Teachers who teach the repentance of sin as a part of salvation do not fully understand our helpless situation. They do not see that our hands are tied behind our backs making it impossible for us to untie the weight of sin tied to our feet. They do not fully understand that the weight was untied by Christ at the cross. They do not understand the word repentance, and they cannot grasp salvation as simply placing their trust in Christ. They do not understand the merciful greatness and simplicity of Grace.
Repent as it is translated in the New Testament from the Greek word (Metanoia) means to think afterwards, to change your mind, to think differently. Repent in the New Testament has everything to do with an attitude of the mind and nothing to do with action. Repent has nothing to do with remorse or regret, and it has nothing to do with turning from your sins. You will never find the phrase, “repent of your sins”, in the New Testament. It is not in there, and it is not implied in the word repent.
Are we promoting sin, no? We understand the effects of sin. Sin separates us from God; sin’s penalty is eternal separation from him in a place called hell. Christ had to die a horrible death in order to pay the penalty of our sin. What we are teaching is that turning from sin is not, and cannot be a requirement of salvation. Before salvation, we are all sinners. We are sinners by nature, and sinners from birth. No matter how much we try not to sin and even if we never sinned again, were it not for Christ, we would still be sinners. Turning from sin has never saved anyone. Turning from sin is the result of salvation, not a requirement of. Even after salvation we sin. We are not sinless, but with His help, and only with His help will we be able to sin less.