Free Grace? Beware!

 My favorite Bible software is ‘theWord’, a free software program with many free books, commentaries, dictionaries and maps/charts for Bible study. A sister website (wordmodules.com) lists hundreds more. Links to both of these sites can be found at the bottom of the page.  I check the wordmodules site regularly to see what books have been added and recently I downloaded a couple that sounded interesting. One on Baptism and one on Devine election.  Both were easy reads and made a lot of sense.  As usual, I wanted to see who was behind the books so I headed over to their website.

The author was a fellow named Robert N. Wilkin, who is the director of the Grace Evangelical Society and this is from the landing page of their website:

Free Grace theology is the view that

  1. everlasting life is a free gift that cannot be lost, received by faith alone in Christ alone, apart from works of any kind;
  2. assurance of our eternal destiny is based solely on believing Jesus’ promise to the believer, and not on looking to our works, experiences, or behavior;
  3. believers are accountable for our actions before God, and will be judged at the Bema to determine our eternal rewards, but not our eternal destinies.

From What Is Free Grace Theology? by Bob Wilkin

Now, this seems fairly reasonable.  And as I browsed through the site I figured that these folks’ theology was pretty much in line with mine. Then I ran across this section in an article titled “Repentance and Salvation.” 

I spent a year and a half studying and writing a dissertation on this very subject of repentance and salvation. My conclusions are as follows.

First, nowhere do the Scriptures condition obtaining eternal salvation on our turning from our sins.

Second, “repentance” is actually a mistranslation of the Greek term metanoia. A better translation would be “a change of mind.”

Another article indicated that repentance is not necessary for salvation. Now, this definitely caused me to sit up and pay attention. First, he is totally wrong about salvation and repentance. If repentance is not needed, then why was it spoken of so many times in the scriptures?

John: (Matt 3:2 [KJV])
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Jesus: (Matt 4:17 [KJV])
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

(Matt 9:13 [KJV])
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

(Mark 1:15 [KJV])
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

(Luke 13:3 [KJV])
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

(Luke 13:5 [KJV])
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

(Acts 2:38 [KJV])
Peter: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

And secondly, while there is a kernel of truth in the definition of ‘metanoia’ it is just a ‘kernel‘.  The full definition from Thayer is: 1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent; 2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins. [emphasis mine]

While faith is certainly a free gift of God’s Amazing Grace, it is a two-sided coin.  Faith (believing the Gospel) is the flip side of Repentance. There must be a ‘change of mind’ or turning ‘from’ sin in order to turn ‘to’ Christ. And this is repentance. And my personal belief is that there will be linked to that, some type of remorse for a person’s past actions.

The Bible actually uses two words for repentance; Metanoia and Metamelomai. The first meaning to change one’s mind or turn away from and the second is to have remorse.  This is where we need to be careful when sharing the Gospel. In Matt. 3:8, Paul uses the word metamelomai twice, once to say he isn’t sorry he sent the letter and then again to say he is sorry it made them sad. Metamelomai is never used in the Bible in conjunction with salvation.

In conclusion; no one can accept/believe in Christ as Savior and then go on their merry way, sinning as before as the Free Grace movement might have us believe. There must be repentance and faith BUT, and this is a big BUT; they must understand what you mean when you say repent.

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