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April 23, 2008

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Q/A Topic:
Greek vs Jewish Gospels?
(re: Buddy Smith's "Both Legs" regarding 'repentance', mailed to subscribers, not posted at the website)

READER COMMENTS:

    The Greek gospel:
    "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (1Co 2:2)

    The Jewish gospel:
    Then Peter said unto them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Act 2:38)

    Peter's charge:
    "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Act 2:36)

Allow me to switch Paul's wording around a bit:
    "testifying both to Jews, REPENTANCE toward God and also to Greeks, FAITH toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ac20:21)
Don't you see the difference? The cross saves the Gentiles completely, only faith is needed. But the Jews were held accountable for the cross by Peter in Acts 2, so they needed to repent of their unbelief in the living presence of Jesus. After all, they were of the household of God long before the gospel came to the Greeks!

Hope this helps, that poor man [vw: Buddy Smith] has a strange doctrine that mixes the gospel messages. Since the Gentiles were separated from the commonwealth of Israel when they first heard the gospel, there was nothing for them to repent of except being a sinner and doing what Gentiles do. But while they were still sinners Christ died for them. But the Jews were the Covenant people who rejected Jesus when they should have known who He was.

Both Jew and Gentile are now saved in Christ Jesus through His death and resurrection, but they held different positions in relation to God before the cross. Shouldn't the messages account for that difference? Can you show me one place in Paul's epistles written to Gentiles where he ties salvation to repentance?

VW ANSWER:
!!! Un-B'LIEVABLE !!!

I'm going to address only two things here... (there's several more we -could- address)

ITEM:
Can you show me one place in Paul's epistles written to Gentiles where he ties salvation to repentance?

VW:
1) Who was Paul addressing in Ac20:21? The elders of the church of Ephesus (vs17) Ephesians were...? Think...think...think! Think hard now! Gentiles? Right! Yea!!!! (applause!) And the fact that he is, in that passage, 'reviewing' what he HAD BEEN PROCLAIMING to them over the years, is it not obvious that we don't have recorded in Acts all those specific occasions where he was doing so? But if he is reviewing the fact that this is what he HAD BEEN PROCLAIMING, we can understand that he 'repeated' it from time to time. Yes?

2) When Paul was first saved he preached to "those in Damascus...and then to the Gentiles" (Ac26:20) WHAT? What did he preach? What was his message? Look it up. "Repentance"

3) To the church at Corinth (Uh...Gentiles!) he speaks of "repentance" (2Co7:9-10)

4) In exhorting Timothy as to his duties in preaching, what is the path to "Full true knowledge of the truth"? (2Tim2:25) Look it up.

5) To those on Areopagus who invited Paul to speak to them, what did Paul proclaim was necessary for "all men everywhere" to do? (Ac17:30) Look it up. And again, those were Athenians.... Jews? No. Gentiles.

You asked for "one". I've just given you five. Also, you have been a subscriber long enough, you surely recall the recent mailing in which we addressed this very topic, and also included the URL to a past Q/A comparing Peter's Gospel, and Paul's....that they were the same.

"Two Gospels in the Bible?" [link]

There is only -ONE- GOSPEL (Eph4:4-6) They both (Peter and Paul) preached the same Gospel! There is "no difference" in this between Jew or Greek. (Rom3:22,10:12, Ga3:28, Col3:11) (Please look these up)

And as we continue in the current (week-end) "Peter" series, you will find more mentions (than we have already) of how Peter and Paul were in agreement about several things. That's one of the reasons -both- Peters are being covered back-to-back in the series, as 'one' series.

Also never forget, for all of Babylon of Rome's hatred against Israel, calling them "Christ killers": It might have been the Sanhedrin that requested Jesus' death, but He was killed on a Roman cross. The Jews executed by 'stoning'. The cross was a -Roman- instrument of death. And last I knew, Rome was not "Jewish"...it is Gentile. Yes, Peter pointed to the Jews and said, "You killed Him". But he could have said the same thing to the Gentile Romans if they had been in the audience. (The occasion was the 'Jewish' annual feast of Pentecost, around the temple area where Gentiles were not allowed) -We- 'all' (you and I, as well as them back then) crucified Jesus! If the crucifixion was the culpability necessitating repentance, both Jew and Greek are equally guilty. -Both- need to repent. It was our -SIN- that crucified Jesus, for which we need to repent! (Lk18:13)

You said, "there was nothing for them to repent of except being a sinner". Well, that was the WHOLE POINT. We are all sinners. And for that, we need to repent.

Your 'mix' is a strange one: On one hand you acknowledge that sinners need to repent; but are contorting your words to argue that non-Jews don't need to repent. Which is it? 'Can't have it both ways.


ITEM:
Allow me to switch Paul's wording around a bit:

VW:
NO!!! NO!!! NO!!! Have you No Shame??? No FEAR of God's judgment???

Peter's words are specifically to you, who wants to do this.

    2Pet3:15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
    16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable TWIST, AS THEY DO ALSO THE REST OF THE SCRIPTURES, TO THEIR OWN DESTRUCTION.
    17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, BEWARE ALSO THAT YOU NOT BE LED AWAY WITH THE ERROR OF THE WICKED, and fall from your own steadfastness.
You wish to take Paul's -CLEAR- words (and Paul was no dummy; he was an educated pharisee; knew many languages 1Co14:18; thus was skilled in languages, and knew how to say what he meant without external 'help')... words he was claiming to the Ephesian Gentiles had been the 'complete' Gospel, nothing left out that was "helpful" to them. He summarizes the Gospel in a nutshell: 1) Repentance -and- 2) Faith. You wish to take those words, containing all necessary Truth unto Salvation, and -TWIST- them! ??

Peter proclaims to you that you do this to your OWN DESTRUCTION.

And if you wish to wrangle between Peter and Paul, Jesus put it this way. These are Jesus' own words:

    "...but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Lk13:3)
Did Jesus (the Savior, the "Author" of our salvation Heb2:10,5:9) not know what He was talking about???

If you -refuse- to repent, you cannot get to Heaven! Period! Your heart has not changed, nor desires to change....from Sin unto Righteousness. You want Jesus to come along beside you and to accept you "just as you are", perhaps? He does not agree to do that. Never has... Never will!

And if that is your heart, you are on the "BROAD...WAY that leads to DESTRUCTION" (Mt7:13) Not my assessment, but from the "abundance of your own heart" as your own mouth has proclaimed it (Mt12:34), seen through the focus of God's Word. (Heb4:12-13)

Anyone holding to this "other gospel" is "accursed" (Ga1:8-9)

    Pr 30:6 Do not add to His Words, that He not judge you and you be found a liar.

    Rev22:18 For I testify to everyone who hears the Words of the Prophecy of this Book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add upon him the plagues that are written in this Book;
    19 and if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this Prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this Book.

Allow you to "switch Paul's wording around a bit"? That's also what the perversions do. A day before your note somebody else forwarded to me a "quiz" they found someplace with 25 questions to be answered by looking up the references in the NIV. As I went through the quiz about a third of the way, in -every- case the question could not be answered because the NIV deletes words, phrases...even complete verses. Not to mention David Cloud's re-mailing the day or two before that about the "Message"...that utter piece of blasphemous rubbish that twists the Scriptures around into unrecognizability.

When words are "switched...a bit", the message is no longer that of the one who wrote it. It is no longer what Paul wrote. And since Paul was Christ's apostle, it is no longer God's Word. Those words, thusly "switched" are no longer Truth.

Yes....this answer is strong! Perhaps even harsh? It angers me terribly (see: Ps139:19-22) when people wish to take it upon themselves to present their own ideas as if it was God's Truth...by claiming to insert some extra bit of wisdom into the middle of God's Word, to 'clarify' doctrine according to their own whims. God is no "dummy"! God created language to begin with. And He split languages up into all its various diversities at Babel. He did not somehow "goof" when the Holy Spirit directed those "holy men" when they wrote. The Word says -exactly- what God meant, the first time, without succeeding men needing to change things, to "help" God out to help 'clarify' what God (perhaps?) 'meant' to say...but forgot(?). As the Gentile Church was growing, did God 'forget' that there had been an Old Testament? (I don't know what goes on in these people's minds! Wanting to 'change' God's Word is a totally foreign concept to my heart!) But this is why, if a person starts doing a search of Bible translations online, one can find multiplied -dozens- of works in English. Most of them seek to emphasize some personal aspect to their own liking... instead of: WHAT DID GOD -SAY-?

Again...we repeat this often, too:

    De30:11 For this commandment which I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you to understand, nor is it far off.
    12 It is not in the heavens, for you to think: Who shall ascend into the heavens for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?
    13 Nor is it beyond the sea, for you to think: Who shall go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?
    14 But the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
    15 Behold, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil;
    19 I call Heaven and earth to bear witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live;
NOW...
just in case it's a matter of improper understanding of English grammar sentence structure... although I seriously doubt it; because if a person has enough understanding to switch the words around in that way, they surely fully understood what it said to begin with, before they wanted to force the verse into conformity with their own beliefs.

Paul was "testifying"; to whom? Jews and Greeks; in the same order he says it elsewhere: "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Rom1:16) And what is the message that he testified to both Jews and Greeks? Notice, it is all in one phrase without dividing punctuation marks: "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" This is the message that is proclaimed to -both- Jews and Greeks.


In other words: 1) This is the audience (Jews & Greeks), and 
                2) this is the message (Repentance & Faith)
Amen!

* * *
    Ezk14:3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I be inquired of at all by them?
vw: There were a couple more exchanges with this person. The five examples of "repentance" I gave, he twisted them all around. Not going to include all of his rant; but after also alleging that Paul was not always precise with his grammar (which was why he wanted to 'correct' Ac20:21), here was his response to the 5th one where Paul proclaimed that God requires "all men everywhere to repent"

READER RETORT:
YEAH, RIGHT, ATHENIANS. IDOLATROUS ATHENIANS!!! PAUL WAS PREACHING AGAINST IDOLATRY HERE, WHICH WAS PRECISELY THE GROSS SIN OF ISRAEL FOR ALL THOSE YEARS THAT GOD WAS WITH THEM. IT IS WHY THE JEWS WERE REQUIRED TO REPENT FIRST AND THEN RECEIVE THE GIFT OF PARDON.

VW ANSWER:
So... please make up your mind: Is repentance because of Jesus' crucifixion? ...or idolatry?

Paul said, "all men everywhere" .... NOT "you here in this grove if idols"....in the context of having spoken of the dividing up of nations -throughout- the earth. (Ac17:26, etc)

Yes, Paul spoke of idolatry. That is what ALL PEOPLE are guilty of. It was Eve's guilt, to worship "self" instead of God. "you will be as God" (Gen3:5) It was Cain's sin, worshiping other than the Most High. It is today's sin, worshiping self, New Age, humanism, evolution, atheism... anything -but- God. That is the definition of idolatry. The first Commandment: "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Ex20:3) Every sinner is guilty of idolatry. Not of having 'trinkets' to bow down to, but of having other gods "in the heart" (that those trinkets represent). Thus...by your own definition....if it is "idolatry" that requires repentance....everyone needs to repent, because everyone is guilty of idolatry. Until a person comes to God in repentance, and receives Jesus for Salvation, -every- person has some 'god' other than the Most High....IDOLATRY (by definition)

Why do you fight against God soooo? What is your own idolatry by which -you- rebel against God?

I gave you five (5) which you rejected and explained away. Here's two more....

    1) Jesus commanded: "And He said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that REPENTANCE AND REMISSION OF SINS be preached in His name to ALL NATIONS, beginning out of Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things." (Lk24:46-48)
To "Jews"? No. To "all nations"

So....according to you, Jesus didn't know what He was saying and commanding!?

    2) After Peter's visit to Cornelius, the conclusion of the Jewish church elders regarding gentiles: "When they heard these things they kept silent; and they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the GENTILES REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE." (Ac11:18)
Who? -- Gentiles
What? -- Repentance unto Life

Stop fighting against God!

You have been given Truth. If you refuse it, there is nothing more I can say. You answer to God for your own heart. At least, my hands are clean of your blood. Your blood is upon your own head. (Mt10:14, Ezk33:6-9, Ac20:26)

Even so, Amen!

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But Paul didn't teach Repentance

Many give the argument, which the above person replied (again, a few more times) and gave, that a search of Paul's epistles for the word "repent*" yields only a couple of mentions. And this argument is not limited to the above person. Many give it.

Well...

    11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain with words, since you have become dull of hearing.
    12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the rudimentary principles of the Words of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
    13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is without experience in the Word of Righteousness, for he is an infant.
    14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their understanding exercised to discern both good and evil.
    1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the RUDIMENTS concerning Christ, let us MOVE ALONG TO MATURITY, NOT LAYING AGAIN THE FOUNDATION OF REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS AND OF FAITH TOWARD GOD, (Heb5:11-6:1)
Paul's epistles are building upon the -FOUNDATION- that's already been laid. They are written to those who have already Repented and Believed. Once a person has repented and believed, one doesn't need to further exhort the person to do so. The Pauline epistles are to build up the Church...."moving along to maturity". But if there is no 'foundation' (of repentance and faith), maturity is not possible. But when the person is a True Believer, that original repentance of coming to God asking, "God be merciful to me a sinner" is no longer necessary. The person is now "sealed" by the Holy Spirit of promise (Eph1:13)

Paul's epistles are written to the Church....Believers. Believers no longer need to Repent towards Salvation. They are saved. They have been born from above. (Jn3:3) Now what they need is growth and maturity. That's what Paul's epistles are about.

It's like an illustration I think we've given before. If you are looking at the manual for how to assemble that set of shelves you just bought at K-Mart or Wal-Mart, you are not going to find instructions for connecting your 'box' to the TV to make it digital-compatible. Shelves are shelves, and DTV is DTV. The manual for the DTV box isn't going to tell you how to assemble your new shelves.

In like manner, Salvation is Salvtion, and Christian Growth is Christian Growth. Repentance and Faith is about Salvation. But Paul's epistles are about Growth. Yes... Salvation is by Faith. Inherent in Faith might be some lack of deep understanding of what happened...thus there are reviews of some of the "behind-the-scenes" activities towards Salvation: like the Holy Spirit's sealing, God's foreknowledge, election, how God through Jesus' blood provided the Salvation the Believer now possesses, and such things. But those explanations build upon what is assumed the reader already has....Salvation.

Which, technically, is why the typical baptist 'invitations' after -EVERY- service is a flawed concept. -IF- it is assumed that all the attendees (like at Sunday pm and mid-week prayer meetings) are Saved church -members-, there should be no 'need' for anybody to go forward. And so, this is also a source of confusion for those who have gone forward -many- times.

Like that other argument that many give, that "repent*" is not found in the Gospel of John. Well OF COURSE it isn't! The Gospel of John is -about- "Jesus", the Son of God. Remember? Paul reviewed: repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. What is it towards Jesus? Faith. Thus the famous verse: "..that everyone BELIEVING into Him" will have Eternal Life. (Jn3:16) If John is about Jesus, John is going to talk about Faith. Just like the DTV manual is about the DTV box, not the shelves.

Let's approach this from yet another angle. Electronics has a couple of basic laws upon which pretty much everything else is based, called "Ohm's Law". It is a relationship between Resistance, Current, Voltage and Power. There is another set of related Laws regarding Impedence of coils and transformers. And another regarding Parallel and Series circuits. These are foundational and elementary. So foundational that when I was in grammar school these things were taught in general "science" classes.

Now... when a person goes to purchase some device... a TV, computer, or some other item based on electronics, and a person opens the manual to learn how to operate it and learn its features, the manual does not speak of Ohm's Law. Ohm's Law is soooo 'elementary' (and foundational) that when discussing the complexities of the features, Ohm's Law is not necessary to be discussed.

Ohm's Law is like Repentance/Faith unto Salvation. The owner's manual describing all the features and instructions is like Paul's epistles. The Believer now "owns" Salvation. Now, Paul's epistles describe to us exactly 'how' Jesus provided our salvation and how we are to live. Repentance and Faith is like receiving the 'keys' to that new car from the salesman, and Paul's epistles are like opening the door, sitting in the car, learning where all the controls are, and going through the manual to learn ALL ABOUT what one HAS JUST TAKEN POSSESSION OF. Repentance is like 'extending' the hand -to- receive the keys. Faith is like 'grabbing' the keys once given. Paul's epistles are like the salesman's little pointers as to the new car's features.

Back to the other example: the new DTV converter box needs a place to set it. That new set of shelves is where the 'box' is going to sit, those instructions have been followed and the shelves are ready; and now that the shelves are sitting there, we don't need to re-visit those instructions. The instructions for the shelves are different than the instructions to operate the box. But the box, on the other hand: it's likely a good idea to keep the manual for it handy, because the -box- is what we are now going to be using regularly, as it sits on those shelves "once for all" assembled according to the instructions.

One reason we need to address repentance so much is because "not all those of Israel are Israel" (Rom9:6b) There's a lot of [c]hristians who don't know the Lord, because they have never "repented unto Life". (Ac11:18) And the reason there is so much confusion is because those thus confused have not repented unto Life...thus they are not saved. If they were truly saved, they would understand. But their lack of understanding indicates that they have never passed that (narrow) way. (Mt7:13-14) If they had passed that way, and had the Holy Spirit in their hearts (Rom8:9), they would know it.

And if Repentance is the "foundation" for entrance into Life, is it any wonder that the enemy instills continual confusion in people about it. If satan can keep people from repentance, they never get in. Repentance is the basic elementary point of entrance to Life. That's why there are so many proclaiming that it is not necessary. They are emissaries of the enemies of Christ!

And it is also why they muddy the waters and turn "repentance" into "penance" (of works). The two are not the same thing. Penance is 'works', to self-pay for one's sins (committed). Repentance is the 'place' at the foot of the cross, asking God's mercy due to one's -state- in sin, as a sinner. Repentance is not because of what we have -DONE-, but because of who we -ARE- ....SINNERS. There is no amount of repenting that can save us! (Did I just contradict myself? No!) Jesus Christ, His shed blood, and resurrection is what saves us. Repentance is like knocking on the door, asking God "Is there any way I can be admitted? I'm a sinner and don't deserve it. Will You please save me!" That is what Repentance is. And the Faith part of the equation is the part that God sees in our hearts, that we -believe- that Jesus' shed blood is efficacious to save us.

Like Jesus asked the two blind men, "Do you believe that I am able to do this? And they said to Him, Yes, Lord. Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith let it be to you." (Mt9:28-29) That was their faith. But in the previous verse they had been crying out, "Son of David have mercy on us!" (vs27) The pleading that, when related to Salvation, is also part of Repentance; the understanding that they were helpless, and could not cure/save themselves, that it needed to BE DONE FOR them, and asking for it to be done.

So...for you who know the Truth, I trust you will not get tired of the continual mentions of it. For every one of you (on this list) who truly knows the Lord, there's likely a handful (or two) more who do not. And while it is the purpose of this ministry to help strengthen Believers, it is also the purpose to make sure the Path to Heaven is clearly marked for those who have not yet entered...so they can find it and enter.

Acts is a history of how the early church (and Paul) spread the Gospel of Salvation. The epistles are -to- the Churches unto growth. Yes, they explain in more depth what God did through Jesus' blood, and how the Holy Spirit seals. But to Believers there is no reason to keep hammering, "You need to repent, you need to repent, you need to believe", because Believers have -already- done that. They are saved. They are in the Kingdom. They have the promise of Eternal Life. So the teaching is how to stand up against Satan (Eph6), how to put away the flesh (Col3), the promised hope and anticipation of the Resurrection and Rapture (1Th4,2Th2, etc) These things are not for the unsaved, -they- need to repent and believe and receive the New Life. Believers need to grow in that Life they've received.

And the various books of the Bible are written accordingly.

Hopefully this is now clear.

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