A call to repentance

Free grace movements diminish the need for repentance for salvation. Is repentance of our sins a necessary step to becoming a follower of Christ?

According to Dr. Wayne Grudem, turning away from our sins is at the very heart of the gospel message.

“There’s so much in the New Testament that talks about the need for repentance and the need for a change of life that’s evidence of our faith.”

“It doesn’t save us, but if there’s no change in your life then it’s a legitimate question to raise. James, Paul, John and other authors raise it, whether you really have trusted in Christ at all.”

Turning away from our sins sets our faith in motion and produces life change. Dr. Grudem says that while we are given eternal life through our faith in Jesus Christ, true faith is accompanied by repentance.

“It’s our faith alone that saves us, but that doesn’t mean that faith occurs all by itself.”

Faith leads to repentance, which leads to lasting life change. Dr. Grudem refers to a statement of faith from the Lutheran church for further understanding.

“When you look at The formula of Concord from 1576, that’s a great summary of Lutheran doctrine that expressed consensus among differing Lutheran groups in Europe. They said, ‘Faith alone is the means, an instrument, whereby we lay hold on Christ the Savior.’

“They also said just a little bit later, ‘True faith is never alone…’ As is, there’s a response, a change of life, love and a change of heart in terms of hope, etc.,  ‘After a man is justified by faith, then that true and living faith works by love. Good works always follow justifying faith, and are most certainly found with it, provided it be a true and living faith.’

“They’re saying that we’re justified by faith alone, but there’s always going to be a change of life; good works that follow if it’s true faith.”

Dr. Wayne Grudem is research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, received his A.B. from Harvard, M.Div. and honorary D.D. from Westminster Seminary-Philadelphia, and Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Cambridge.

"Free Grace" Theology