Are Abusers Christians? Faith and Repentance are Inseparable — taken from Brian Schwertley
The following words about the inseparability of faith and repentance are taken from Brian Schwertley’s excellent article entitled , The Necessity of Sanctification: A Brief Refutation of the Carnal Christian Heresy, which can be read in its entirety at:
The Necessity of Sanctification: A Brief Refutation of the Carnal Christian Heresy [Internet Archive link to the PDF. Editors].
“The idea that holiness is optional for believers is disproved by the Bible’s teaching on repentance. Repentance is never presented in Scripture as optional or for Israel only but is a vital element of the gospel message. “[A]nd that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Christ emphasized repentance in His preaching (Mt. 4:17; Mk. 1:14, 15). He warned His disciples, saying, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:5). John the baptist (Jesus’ forerunner) emphasized the need for repentance (Mk. 1:4; Lu. 3:7-9). He told the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Mt. 3:7-10). Those who reject the necessity of holiness often will argue that repentance is a Jewish doctrine that does not apply to the church (which they erroneously assert is a parenthesis in God’s plan). Such teaching is refuted by the apostle Paul himself. Paul said, I “taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ac. 20:21). To the Greek Athenians Paul said, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Ac. 17:30).
Repentance means that a person has a change of mind concerning God, Christ, self and sin. A person who repents understands that Jehovah is the one and only true God. He is a God of righteousness and holiness that will not tolerate evil. A person who repents is no longer hostile or indifferent regarding Christ but now believes in Him according to the Scriptures. He regards Jesus as the pearl of great price (Mt. 13:46); as someone who must be cherished, served and worshiped no matter what the cost. A person who repents sees sin as exceedingly sinful. Sin is no longer viewed as a light thing but as wicked and defiling; an act of rebellion against God’s throne. Repentance is an inward change of mind that leads to a change of life. A person who sincerely repents leads a godly life; that is, he brings forth fruits worthy of repentance. Repentance does not save anyone. That is, it is non-meritorious and does not eliminate the guilt of sin (only Christ’s atoning death can do that). However, true faith and real repentance are the fruits of regeneration. A genuine Christian cannot exist without them. “[W]herever there is true faith, there is also real repentance. The two are but two aspects of the same turning-a turning away from sin in the direction of God.” (5) Just as no one is saved without the instrument of faith which lays hold of Christ, no one is saved without a change of mind concerning Christ and sin. Furthermore, just as one must look at a person’s life in order to see if he has genuine faith (1 Jn. 1:6; 2:3, 4; 3:10; Jas. 2:14-16); one must also look at the fruits of repentance to see if genuine repentance has occurred (Mt. 3:8; 7:16-20). Do you have a “godly sorrow [that] produces repentance to salvation” (2 Cor. 7:10)? Are you out of a love for Christ and hatred for your sin continually putting off your bad habits and endeavoring after new obedience?”
The abuser lacks real repentance, and therefore he lacks genuine faith. A person who persists in evil does not know Christ.