It has become so common these days to hear that since it is unbelief that brings the wrath of God upon man and sends him to hell, that unbelief is the only sin that needs to be repented of'. It is taught that repentance has nothing to do with sins, but only one sin- unbelief.
I have even heard many state that the first sin committed by Adam was unbelief. They argue that the reason Adam sinned was because he did not believe God’s word when he said “thou shalt surely die”- thus the problem even then, was unbelief.
This certainly seems to be a logical conclusion. The problem is that it begins with a false premise. It is NOT the sin of unbelief that brought the wrath of God upon man. According to God’s word, it was Adam’s disobedience.
Romans 5:19 “For as by one man's DISOBEDIENCE many were made sinners…”(emphasis mine)
Remember- Adam was NOT deceived, but willingly chose to disobey. He did NOT dis-believe God, or his promises, as Eve did when she was deceived by the serpent. Adam CHOSE to disobey the one and only law given by God.
1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: FOR SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW.” (emphasis mine)
It was this disobedience that was sin. Had God not told them and established that this was the one thing they were not allowed to do, it would not have been sin and would not have been imputed to them.
Romans 5:13 “… but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Through Adam’s sin of disobedience, “…death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12)
Our condemnation to death as sinners was secured by Adam’s sin, not through unbelief.
Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners.
For us to believe that God’s wrath came upon us because of unbelief, we would also have to rewrite or simply ignore many other scriptures.
Ephesians 5:3 “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for BECAUSE OF THESE THINGS (not unbelief) cometh the wrath of God upon the children of DISOBEDIENCE.” (emphasis mine)
Colossians 3:6 “For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of DISOBEDIENCE:” (emphasis mine)
Romans 3:23 For all have SINNED,(missed the mark) and come short of the glory of God; (emphasis mine)
If repentance has nothing to do with sins, then how is it that God’s word declares that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? By the law is the knowledge of sin- not of unbelief.
Certainly, if we do not believe in Christ, we will continue in our condemnation and face God’s wrath, but unbelief is not the only sin we are to repent of. It is the whole of our sin.
Revelation 21:8 “ But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
We are condemned because of the sin that dwells within us. We have a sin nature (NOT an unbelief nature) that causes us to sin against God.
To turn from unbelief to belief is simply to believe, or to have faith in. That is the definition of faith, NOT repentance.
To repent means to change our mind about our sins and idolatry and see it as God does (filthy and wicked). It is to have a genuine sorrow for our sin, as well as a desire to turn from it and to be reconciled to God.
Paul preached “…repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Why? Because we repent of our sin against God- our transgression of his laws, rebellion, willful disobedience, and idolatry, …etc.
Then we place our faith in Christ - the propitiation for our sin against God. It is what Christ did that satisfies the debt we owe to God for our sin, not for our unbelief.
Proponents of this false doctrine will also claim that because John 16:8 (“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin…”) The use of the word sin- singular, means one sin- the sin of unbelief; but what does sin really mean?
Sin- The KJV translates Strong's G266 in the following manner: sin (172x), sinful (1x), offense (1x).
equivalent to 264 to be without a share in, to miss the mark, to err, be mistaken, to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong, to wander from the law of God, violate God's law, sin, that which is done wrong, sin, an offence, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act, collectively, the complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many.
To sin is to miss the mark- to fall short of God’s glory because of our wrong doing or violation of God’s law.
How do we even think that we can reach out and receive the precious gift of salvation God offers if we are running the other direction in our continued sin and rebellion? It is our sinfulness that must be repented of, not only our unbelief.
It is sin that hardens our hearts and prevents belief. The word of faith cannot penetrate or take root in the heart that is hardened in sin. That is why it is so necessary to preach repentance from sin, to plow up the soil of the hard heart.
Hebrews 3:13 “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Repentance does not save us but helps to prepare a broken and contrite heart which is then able to believe in the Savior He has provided.
Psalms 34:18 “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a CONTRITE heart.
Psalms 119:155 “Salvation is FAR from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.”(emphasis mine)
To deceive people into believing that they can continue in their sin and rebellion against God and merely “accept” Jesus is to deceive them right out of salvation.
i invite your sincere questions and comments, and will do my best to answer according to God's word. While i do not claim to be without error; I will try to be as true to His word as I know.
is a Fundamental, Bible Believing Christian with a passion for His word and a desire to earnestly contend for the faith.