The word “believe” in this text is a synonym for “faith”, and the two terms are used interchangeably throughout Scripture, and more especially in the New Testament. “For by grace are ye saved through faith …” (Ephesians 2:8). “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48), etc., etc.. While faith and repentance are not synonymous, they are inclusive and inseparable; they are the free gifts of God’s grace, and the alpha and omega of regeneration. Repentance and faith are like two gifts in one package, and are delivered and received at the same time.
“He that believeth not shall be damned …” (Mark 16:16). “… Except ye repent, ye shall likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). The congruency of the two terms (faith and repentance) is glaringly apparent, and their correlation bespeaks invariable accompaniment. Repentance and faith are the sure fruits of hearing and believing the gospel (Mark 1:15), and all who obey the gospel are regenerated or quickened by the Spirit (I Peter 3:18). The Lord said in giving His church the gospel commission, “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations …” (Luke 24:47), and that great gospel herald, Paul, said: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Paul was miraculously called of God to preach to the Gentiles, and he was not disobedient to his heavenly calling, but showed to the Gentiles that they should repent, and turn to God (Acts 26:19-20). But Paul was not the first man to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, for that great honor had been eternally reserved for His impetuous and God-fearing Apostle, Peter. Peter said unto the apostles and elders: “… Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe” (Acts 15:6-7). An angel had instructed a Gentile by the name of Cornelius to “Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved” (Acts 11:13-14). These words restate the axiom that the gospel must be heard and believed in order to be saved.
All who make regeneration subject to time elements unduly complicate the matter, and make God’s redemptive decree subservient to supposed intervals between repentance, faith, and regeneration. Salvation is not dualistic or a trilateral event divided by time and experience, but is the undivided work of the timeless God of heaven, in Whom there can be no waiting period, for He is the eternal NOW. The unchangeable character of time is that of urgency, and urgency is alien to the nature of God. To contend there is an element of time, be it ever so infinitesimal, between repentance, faith, and regeneration is to bedim the glory of the sovereign Saviour of sinners. Salvation is of the Lord, and He will not share the glory of it with any created thing (Isaiah 48:11).
The entrance of Divine light into the soul is instantaneous, and light and darkness are simultaneously exclusive, since one cannot abide in the presence of the other, for one is contrary to the other and never more so than in the spiritual sense.
When God breathed into the nostril of soulless and lifeless Adam, he “… became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). The life of Adam did not come to him in installments, but instantly. There was not a time-lapse or gap between God’s inbreathing and Adam’s life, and while Adam’s life was an effect of God’s inbreathing, it was not subsequent to it. Cause and effect are laws of nature, but while God is the Author of the laws of nature, He is not bound by them; for absolute sovereignty cannot be bound. Paul was bound by chains, but he said, “… The word of God is not bound” (Acts 21:33; II Timothy 2:9), for it is the sword of the Spirit whereby and wherewith the innumerable host of God’s elect are regenerated. It is owing to this divine postulate, or axiom, that Paul said to the Corinthian saints “… For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (I Corinthians 4:15).
The blind man referred to in Mark’s gospel (Mark 10:46-52), whom the Lord healed did not receive his sight by progression of light, but Jesus said unto him, “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way”. This man received his natural vision, and that without the least involvement of time. His healing was supernatural and miraculous, and time was in no way a factor in his healing experience. Miracles are humanly incomprehensible; otherwise they would not be miracles. And so it is with regeneration. It also is miraculous and defies human understanding, but being a miracle, no time is involved by the Holy Spirit in effecting it.
“What communion hath light with darkness?” (II Corinthians 6:14). Paul did not ask this question because he did not know the answer, but he asked it to highlight the distinction between sin (darkness), and God-given truth (light). Spiritual light and darkness are antagonistic, and are eternally divided. There can be no degree of mixture between them, much less merger as the ecumenical churches suggest. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20).
We invite you and your family to join us for worship at Grace Missionary Baptist Church located at The Glowmarw Bridge Sunday School 11:00 am Worship 12:00 Elder Charles Minks Evenig Service 7:00 pm Brother Fred Minks Jr. Bible Study Wednesday 7:00 pm 1st Corinthians