Some Simple Difficulties of Salvation -- By: Roy L. Aldrich

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 111:442 (Apr 1954)
Article: Some Simple Difficulties of Salvation
Author: Roy L. Aldrich


Some Simple Difficulties of Salvation

Roy L. Aldrich

“What must I do to be saved?” was the urgent question of the Philippian jailor. The answer of Paul and Silas was “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30–31). The answer is clear, final, sufficient, and complete; but most people do not think so. The minds of unsaved people are blinded to the simplicity of the gospel (2 Cor 5:3–4). Saved people so often pervert the gospel by addition or subtraction.

The purpose of this article is to deal with some of the more common problems related to the plan of salvation. The conclusion has already been stated—that salvation is by faith and by faith alone. Strange as it may seem those who really accept this conclusion are by no means in a majority.

Faith and Repentance

The first problem deals with the relationship between faith and repentance. The Scriptures teach that repentance is necessary for salvation. Our Lord said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Peter preached the necessity of repentance on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). At Athens Paul declared that God “commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30). Then is there one condition of salvation, or two? Many teach that repentance and faith constitute two separate and distinct conditions of salvation. Usually they say that repentance is sorrow for sin and must precede faith.

The solution of this problem begins by recognizing that the English word repent is not entirely synonymous with the Greek word which is translated repent in the New Testament. The English word means sorrow or compunction for sin.

The Greek word metanoia means a change of mind. The following passage shows that New Testament repentance is to be distinguished from sorrow: “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Cor 7:9–10).

It is evident here that sorrow for sin is not repentance and repentance is not sorrow for sin. Sorrow may lead to repentance or to death, but it is to be confused with neither. Sorrow for sin do...

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