CAN YOU REPENT AND BELIEVE IN CHRIST?
By Curtis Pugh
By Curtis Pugh
Jesus chose to liken the work of God in initiating the salvation of sinners to a birth. He said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit,” (John 3:6-8). By being born in the flesh (our natural birth) we are flesh only. Our spirit (by which we know God) is dead. Paul said so in Ephesians 2:1: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Just as a natural baby is not causative in its birth, so it is with the new birth or the birth from above, as the marginal note in the King James Bible says.
This birth is from above because it is of the Spirit and brings a spiritually dead sinner into life in Christ. It is not something that a human being can bring about. It is a sovereign act of God. The Bible says of those born again, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” (John 1:13). There is nothing a sinner can do to bring the new birth to him: not even an act of his will in making a decision. That is one of the things about God and the new birth that men hate. “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth,” (Romans 9:18).
All the religious ideas and schemes of men – so-called “plans of salvation” - involve man's good works. Whether it is “making a decision for Christ,” or “being baptized,” or “accepting the Lord,” or whatever terms are used, it is always works. Do this and live the human mind reasons. But the Bible says salvation is all undeserved favor: you cannot do anything to deserve it or partly deserve it! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
You are completely at the mercy of God. If He does not come to you by His Spirit and regenerate you – make you spiritually alive – by this birth from above you are everlastingly lost. Take your place as a sinner before God: hopeless and helpless in yourself, hating yourself because of your sin. Follow the example of Job whom God caused to see himself as a sinner. He said: “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes,” (Job 42:6). If you can repent: that is, turn from your sins and self-effort to God and trust in the finished work of Christ you have been born again. Jesus said, “...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” (Luke 13:3).
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726