II. The Unbeliever and Sin
A. Condemned without Christ
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). What does a person have to do to end up in Hell? Nothing! He is already condemned. Hell was not created for man (Matt. 25:41) but the man who does not receive Jesus’ payment for his sin will spend eternity there paying for his own sin. There is nothing that an unsaved man can do to please God until he trusts in Him (Rom. 14:23; Heb. 11:6). Man’s righteousness is nothing but “filthy rags” in God’s sight (Isa. 64:6). The reality of Hell should be a motivator for us to do our best to share the Good News of Salvation with as many as we can. People do not go to Hell because they sin, but because they do not receive the payment that has been made for their sins.
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”
(I John 5:12). There are only two major distinctions of mankind in God’s sight. They
are not the religious or nonreligious, Baptist or Catholic, nice or not-
II. The Unbeliever and Sin,
B. Redeemed by Christ
God’s Word is very clear about sin and the unbeliever. He cannot overlook sin but He redeems sinners, based upon the blood of Christ (I Peter 1:18, 19). He tells the unsaved man that His marvelous grace is available to him (Titus 2:11). Man is saved by grace through faith or belief in Jesus (Eph. 2:8, 9)
Ephesians 2:8, 9 are two more of the many clear salvation verses in the Bible, “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.” This verse is clear in its statement that salvation is a gift (Rom. 6:23) and it is not of what we do. It is receiving what God has already done.
1. Not Saved by Turning from Sin
Most of us have heard well-
The unsaved man is nowhere told in the Bible to give up sin, to do good works, or
even to be willing to do something to be saved. We are unable to do anything of ourselves
to merit eternal life. God loves us and will save us just the way we are. Cleaning
up our lives or promising something to God has nothing to do with our salvation.
If we do some good works and trust in these works as part of our merit before God,
we did not trust in Jesus and, therefore are still lost (Romans 5:6,8; Romans 4:5;
Ephesians 2:8,9). Even though an unbeliever may make beneficial changes in his life,
it will not save him (Titus 3:5; Romans 3:28, 14:23; Hebrews 11:6; Galatians 2:16).
The only hope is to trust in Jesus as our Savior (John 14:6; John 3:16-
Probably two good reasons that God does not tell us to turn from sin in order to be saved are; 1. We cannot accomplish this impossible feat. Even the believer needs the indwelling Holy Spirit for victory in this area. 2. It would not save us if we could turn from sin. We are all born with a sinful nature and have continued to sin up until the point of potentially turning from sin. The payment for that sin has been made (I John 2:2) but needs to “be put to our account” or we will pay for it for eternity.
The term, “repent of sin” (1) should be addressed here. The misunderstanding of this phrase has been the occasion for the unsaved to be confused about the Gospel and to reject what is often presented as the way of salvation. It has also hindered many believers from proclaiming a clear Gospel message to a lost world blinded by Satan (II Cor. 4:3, 4).
The word “repentance” in the Bible simply means “a change of mind.” This “change of mind” could be about anything and the results may differ in various applications. The results of the action do not change the meaning of the word. The New Testament does not even use the term “repent of sin” when speaking to the unbeliever.
An unsaved person can repent of sin or change his mind about his sin all day long and never be saved. He can even engage in supreme efforts to stop some of his sins and never have eternal life. He may have a better life but will still die lost unless he believes in Jesus (John 3:18).
The purpose statement of the Gospel of John is found in 20:31: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Since the book states its purpose so clearly and does not even mention the words, “repent” or “repentance,” but does mention variations of “belief” or “believe” 101 times, I conclude that John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, did not think repentance to be a necessary part of our eternal salvation message. I can show you many verses which declare that faith in Jesus in the requirement to be saved, but I have yet to find a verse that conclusively states that we have to repent in order to have eternal life.
Some grace teachers, realizing that our sorrow for sin or change in lifestyle will not saves us, teach that repentance is included in faith: that if we believe in Jesus that we have already repented or “changed our mind” and thus, were saved by faith alone, in Jesus alone. This interpretation does not seem to conflict with the grace message. I have previously taught similar to this, but at this point in my studies I do not think that this interpretation is consistent with some Scripture.
Of course, what many people mean when they tell an unsaved person to “repent of their
sin” to be saved is that they need to turn from some or all of their sin, or at
least be sorry for their sin and makes some promises about it before they can be
acceptable to God for salvation. This is not the Gospel message that the Bible teaches.
It is frequently taught but certainly is not the Good News that we are to tell the
world (See Galatians 1:6-
I find it contradictory, paradoxical, deceitful, and diabolical when I hear well-
This is not meant to be contentious or a splitting of theological hairs. I plead
for clarity in the salvation message for two main reasons: 1. It is so very clear
in God’s word and is truth. 2. I was blinded for years by a Christ-
2. Not Saved By Doing Good Works
One of counterfeits that Satan uses is to confuse the unbeliever into thinking he
has to do good works to get to heaven. Many times preachers will misuse Bible verses
that are meant to show a believer how to live and try to and use them to show an
unsaved person how to get to heaven (II Cor. 4:3-
It seems ironic that sometimes Satan seems to encourage good works for the unbeliever
when it helps his cause by deceiving people (II Corinthians 11:3, 13-
None of these verses that tell a person how to have eternal life include any requirements
for him to turn from sin, ask Jesus into his heart, give his heart to Jesus, go to
church, do good works, walk down an aisle, commit his life to Jesus, give up something
or promise something, or to be dipped in water, etc. This salvation depends entirely
upon what Jesus has already done, not on what man tries to do. Man can and will fail
but his salvation is already settled. He is not kept by his faith, but by the power
of God (I Pet. 1:3-
The Bible teaches much about good works. It also teaches God’s balanced view concerning
man’s works. Eph. 2:8, 9 clearly presents that salvation is not of our works, “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.” The next verse tells us how we are
to apply good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good
works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Here we see that
there is a divine purpose for the believer’s life. We are created in Christ Jesus
unto (lit. toward, in view to, for the purpose of) good works, which God has before
ordained (Lit. pre-
We are saved for a purpose. Part of that purpose is living forever with God in Heaven, but the purpose also includes being obedient and faithful to Him for the short time that we have the opportunity to serve Him on this earth. As we live a life of good works, we can bring honor to God who did so much for us (Matt. 5:16). This will give us a better opportunity to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), and to glorify Christ by leading others to Him (John 15:8).
An interesting fact worth noting is that the terms “repent of sin” or repentance
of sin” are nowhere to be found in Scripture. I have stated this to people who would
not even believe it to be true because they had heard the phrases so often. This
statement can easily be verified with any computer Bible concordance software. This
fact should make us very wary of using these extra-
Back Index Home Forward
|Spanish-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|French-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Russian-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Chinese-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Divorce and Remarriage|
|David and Bathsheba|
|Sin - Index|
|Repentance Word Study|
|Confession of Sin|
|Lukewarm Rev 3|
|4 Soils End Notes|
|Revelation Church Chart|
|Telling the Gift of God|
|1 Corinthians 12|
|1 Corinthians 13:8|
|Handbook of Personal Evangelism|
|Chinese PE Book|
|Spanish PE Book|
|Church Marquee Signs|
|Dead To Sin|
|Bible Knowledge Quiz|
|Lessons from Noah's Ark|
|Noah and the Government|
|Parody of Footprints|