For By the LAW is the Knowledge of Sin
By David J. Stewart | July 2017 | Updated April 2018
Romans 3:20, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Carefully consider our text passage of Scripture from Romans 3:20, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The Holy Bible says that BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF SINS. That means the purpose of God's LAW is to show men their SINNERSHIP. Please don't miss what the Bible is saying here. The apostle Paul is teaching that a man CANNOT be justified in God's sight by the deeds of the law. And then he expounds further, explaining that the intent of the law is to show men their sinnership. It is the Ten Commandments of God which give men the KNOWLEDGE that they are woeful sinners, for we have ALL broken God's commandments. If you understand this great truth, then it becomes abundantly clear why turning away from a sinful lifestyle to be saved is utter nonsense and heresy!!!
Please consider Romans 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Again, we see that the PURPOSE of God's law is to manifest to men their sinnership. By attempting to keep the law, we are all shown to be guilty sinners, and all boasting of any self-righteousness is immediately dispensed. Who is under the law? Why, the unsaved person of course! The born-again believer is under the grace of the Gospel. So the law ONLY speaks to the unregenerate person, showing him or her that they are a guilty sinner in the sight of a holy God. And the reason for this is to POINT THEM TO CHRIST. Galatians 3:24-26, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
You'll never hear a simpler explanation that what I am giving you. God has made two great divisions in His Word—the Old Covenant (LAW) and the New Covenant (GRACE). The covenant of grace is THE GOSPEL. The LAW gives a man the knowledge that he is a guilty sinner in God's sight and; therefore, needs a Savior. The “law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ,” our great Redeemer, to be saved. When anyone teaches that a person must turn away from sins to be saved, they are misusing the law. Instead of the law being used to give the “KNOWLEDGE OF SIN,” it is being misused as a REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION. Do you see how awful and satanic this is? Many preachers today are using God's law as they would a hammer to do the job of a screwdriver! Many Baptist churches are using the law as they would a drill to do the job of a flashlight. I am being facetious of course. Romans 3:20 plainly teaches that God's LAW exists to give “THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN.” I'd dare say that at least HALF of today's independent Baptist churches have been deceived by the Devil, being drawn into the lie of FALSE REPENTANCE.
So What Does the Bible Teach About Repentance?
TRUE REPENTANCE is simply a change of mind unto the Gospel itself.
When a man sees himself as a guilty sinner in the eyes of a holy God, and judges himself as a needy sinner before God, that is repentance. We are saved by placing our TRUST in the Gospel. The Gospel means Good News. It is the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified, buried and risen. God saves any person who receives Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for their sins, believing that He was buried, and bodily resurrected three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-4).
Clearly, what I just taught you from the Holy Bible has nothing to do with turning away from sinful living. You cannot show me even one place in the inspired King James Bible where it says to “turn from sin” or “repent of sin” to be saved. It doesn't exist. Yet, why do most Baptist churches today, as evidenced by their corrupt tracts and statements of faith, require turning away from sinful behavior to receive the free gift of God? Obviously they are doctrinally flawed, and not saved, because they are NOT teaching the Gospel of free grace. Where did this corruption come from? The biggest source of the satanic Alexandrian theology are the hundreds of modern corrupt Bible PERversions!!!
WARNING!!!: BOB JONES UNIVERSITY SELLS THE 'ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION' (ESV)
How Bob Jones University Betrays The Holy Bible! (they have turned scholarship into a God)
Confusing Discipleship With Sonship
Churches That are Against Lordship Salvation, But Still Errantly Teach False Repentance
As strange as it seems, there are independent Baptist churches today that preach against the heresy of Lordship Salvation, while at the same time teaching that a person cannot be saved without turning away from a sinful lifestyle (which is false repentance). There are pastors who preach against the heresy of having to make Jesus the Lord (Master) of one's life to be saved, yet those very same pastors have been duped into the heresy of false repentance. Folks, in this article I want to lay to rest the matter of repentance. It is quite simple if we look to the Holy Scriptures as our only authority. Stop listening to all the popular radio and TV preachers and “SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES” (John 5:39).
So we are addressing two different and distinct heresies, which both fall under the umbrella of . You need to be aware of these. Just because a church preaches against Lordship Salvation DOESN'T mean that they are okay on repentance.
You need to avoid BOTH of the following heresies:
LORDSHIP SALVATION—Errantly says you must receive Jesus as your “Lord,” not just Savior. As Lord (Master) you must commit your life to serve Him and obey Him the best that you can. This means you cannot continue living in willful sin and friendship with the world. This heresy adds discipleship to the Gospel to be saved.
WRONG REPENTANCE—Errantly says a person must turn away from a sinful lifestyle to be saved. This heresy falsely claims that a person cannot come forward at invitation time to receive the Savior, unless they leave their sins in the pew.
These are not the Gospel of free grace. Turning away from sinful behavior is not a requirement to receive the gift of God. It is ridiculous to tell people that they must turn away from sinful activities to be saved, because NO ONE can turn away from their sins. If a person must desire to leave their sins to be saved, then it opens a huge can of worms. How much sin is permissible? At what point is a person determined not to be saved, or never to have been saved at all? I mean, if turning away from sins is evidence of salvation, how could we ever know (since we all still sin) when we've crossed the line with God? There is no clear answer if you are examining your lifestyle and heart for the answer; however, the answer is 100% clear as a blue-sky sunny day if you examine the Holy Scriptures—NO AMOUNT of sin is acceptable with God. The Lord's perfect standard is absolute righteousness!!!
This is the whole reason why God needed to send His only begotten Son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus was the PERFECT, sinless, spotless, Lamb of God. John 1:29, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The Holy Bible teaches that Jesus never sinned, not even once. The Lord never spoke one sinful word during His earthly life and ministry. Jesus wasn't just a good man, He was a perfect man in all aspects! 1st Peter 2:21-22, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” Christ became our sacrifice on the cross, paying a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a massive debt of sin that we could not pay!!!
REDEEMED FROM THE LAW (an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Harry Ironside, 1876-1951)
The Great Neglected Bible Doctrine of Imputation
In my opinion, the most important theological doctrine that a person who struggles with the doctrine of salvation can learn, is “IMPUTATION.” The doctrine of imputation has been deliberately neglected in this corrupt generation, because this precious doctrine blatantly exposes the heresies of Lordship Salvation and wrong repentance. This is another reason why I am eternally at odds with the modern Bible perversions, because they remove the doctrine of IMPUTATION.
The picture to the right is truly worth 1,000 words. It shows how God can view a person as being sinful and yet justified at the same time. I love the following precious passage of Scripture from Romans 5:20, “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” The unsaved person is still under the curse of God's LAW; but the born-again believer is now under God's redeeming GRACE! Whew, the very thought of that truth cheers my heart and puts a big smile on my face! When a believer sins (and we all still do every day), God's GRACE abounds that much more! There is NO condemnation for the Christian believer!!! John 3:18a, “He that believeth on him is not condemned...”
In Evangelist Ray Comfort's popular work, “The Evidence Bible,” which is based upon the corrupt Amplified Bible, Ray completely ignores Romans 4:5-6 concerning imputation; nor does he mention the word “imputation” in the concordance in back of his reference Bible. Kindly, Ray Comfort has been deceived by Satan concerning the Scriptures, repentance and the Gospel.
The idiots behind the modern versions sincerely think they are helping people, by translating the phrase “unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works” instead to “God accepts them as good without looking at what they have done.” There is a VERY BIG difference between imputing righteous to a guilty sinner verses accepting them as good!!! The latter leaves off the “WHY” of redemption. The reason WHY God can credit a man with righteousness without works is because Christ became our sacrifice on the cross!!! Literally, God places our sins upon Christ, and Christ's righteousness upon us. This all happens by faith. 2nd Corinthians 5:21, “For he [God the Father] hath made him [God the Son] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” What a beautiful Savior!
It's hard to believe that any pastor could be so confused doctrinally, as to preach against Lordship Salvation while simultaneously teaching wrong repentance. Go figure! Ladies and gentleman, it is happening all around the world. It is just as wrong to require a person to cease from sinful activities to be saved, as it is to require them to have to follow Jesus as His disciple to be saved; and furthermore, it is very wrong to even require a person to have to BE WILLING to “turn from sins” to be saved...
“What place has repentance in salvation? Should we tell people to repent of their sins to be saved? The Gospel of John is the Holy Spirit's Gospel Tract, written that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing they might have life through His name (20:31). And it does not mention the word 'repentance.' But that is only because repentance is a necessary part of saving faith. Strictly speaking, the repentance means a 'change of mind.' It is by no means the same thing as sorrow (II Corinthians 7:10). Since it is not possible to an unbeliever to become a believer without changing his mind, it is therefore unnecessary to say anything about it. The only thing for a man to do in order to be saved is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ: and to believe on Him is the same thing as receiving Him (John 1:11-13).” —Pettingill, William; “Bible Questions Answered,” (p. 215-216).
Amen Brother, that is some good stuff!!!
“There is power in this Gospel message. Most people just don't know how to present it... The clarity of the Gospel is what makes it easy for them to believe.” —Pastor Yankee Arnold, a quote from the excellent MP3 sermon titled, “WHY GRACE CAN SAVE THE WORST MAN!”
Here is a very helpful MP3 sermon by one of my favorite preachers, Brother Lester Roloff (1914-1982). The sermon is titled, “DR. LAW AND DR. GRACE”...
The Two Greatest Doctors Who've Ever Lived: Dr. Law And Dr. Grace | Part Two (Brother Roloff)
Here are some wonderful quotes exposing the error of Lordship Salvation and Wrong Repentance...
“Eternal life is free. Discipleship is immeasurably hard. The former is attained by faith alone, the latter by a faith that works... the former brings with it the righteousness of God so that a man is 'justified freely by his grace' (Romans 3:24). The latter develops a personal righteousness, based on good deeds, so that a man was also 'justified by works' (James 2:24). The former constituted the believer God's workmanship, the latter fulfilled the wonderful purpose for which he had been created. The former cost man nothing, the latter could cost him everything, including life itself.” —Hodges, Zane C.; “The Hungry Inherit,” Moody Press, Inc., 1972 (p. 114-115).
“There is a vast difference between coming to Jesus for salvation and coming after Jesus for service. Coming to Christ makes one a believer, while coming after Christ makes one a disciple. All believers are not disciples. To become a believer one accepts the invitation of the Gospel, to be a disciple one obeys the challenge to a life of dedicated service and separation. Salvation comes through the sacrifice of Christ; discipleship comes only by sacrifice of self and surrender to His call for devoted service. Salvation is free, but discipleship involves paying the price of a separated walk. Salvation can't be lost because it depends upon God's faithfulness, but discipleship can be lost because it depends upon our faithfulness.” —Dehaan, M. R. Hebrews; “Zondervan Publishing House,” 1959 (p. 117).
“For the unregenerate man, repentance is the change of mind whereby he turns from unbelief to faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.” —Post, Roger; “The Meanings of the Words Translated 'Repent' and 'Repentance' in the New Testament,” Master's Thesis, Wheaton College, June 1972 (p. 80).
“There are those who, in their zeal to get people to turn from their sinful ways and receive the Lord, almost put repentance on a par with believing... Repentance, as it relates to Christ, means to change our minds about Him, who He is and what He's done to provide forgiveness and deliverance from our sins. When we place faith in Jesus as having taken our place personally on the cross and borne the penalty due our sins, then we're automatically repenting, because we couldn't accept Him in this way without having had to change our minds in some way concerning Him.” —Lindsey, Hal; “The Liberation of Planet Earth,” Zondervan Publishing House, 1974 (p. 136, 137).
“Discipleship is frequently equated with salvation and often erroneously made a condition for becoming a Christian.” —Pentecost, J. Dwight; “Design for Discipleship,” Zondervan Publishing House, 1971 (p. 11).
“Certainly discipleship is a most important aspect of our relation to Christ, but it belongs to the sphere of Christian life rather than entrance upon that life... One does not become a disciple in order to become a Christian, but because he has become a Christian by faith in the Savior, it is fitting that he embark upon a life of discipleship.” —Harrison, Everett F.; “Must Christ Be Lord to Be Savior? No,” Eternity, September 1959 (p. 14).
“It is an inexcusable error to confront sinners with problems that concern the Christian life and call upon them to make promises regarding them. An unsaved person is never called upon to surrender himself to God. The saving act is in no instance represented as our 'giving ourselves to God'; it is, on the contrary, taking His Son as our Savior.” —Ryrie, Charles; “Balancing the Christian Life,” Moody Press, Inc., 1969 (p. 170).
Here is a wonderful quote by Evangelist Hal Lindsey refuting the heresy of Wrong Repentance...
“Repentance, as it relates to Christ, means to change our minds about Him, who He is and what He's done to provide forgiveness, and deliverance from our sins. When we place faith in Jesus as having taken our place personally on the cross and borne the penalty due our sins, then we're automatically repenting, because we couldn't accept Him in this way without having had to change our minds in some way concerning Him.” —Hal Lindsey; “The Liberation of Planet Earth” (p. 133).
Here is a great quote from Dr. Hank Lindstrom...
Penance is payment for sin. Penitence is sorrow for sin. Works and something of self is turning from sin. But repentance (metanoia) means a change of mind. Man's great need is to understand God's way of salvation and accept His sacrifice. Repentance in salvation means a change of mind from any idea of religion that man might have and accepting God's way of salvation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” —Dr. Hank Lindstrom (1940-2008).
Those are beautiful quotes, clearly explaining the truth about repentance and salvation. I fear more than HALF of all Baptists are going straight to Hell when they enter into eternity, because they've placed their faith in wrong repentance (turning from sins) and Lordship Salvation (discipleship). The LAW gives the KNOWLEDGE OF SIN, and that is its only role in God's plan of salvation.
“The Old Testament is an account of a Nation. The New Testament is an account of a MAN, The Nation was founded and nurtured of God to bring the Man into the world.” —Henry H. Halley (1874-1965)
Pastor Harry Ironside Has Repentance Correct!
Pastor Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951) DIDN'T teach Lordship Salvation, he simply taught that Biblical repentance was necessary for salvation. Listen to what Pastor Harry Ironside correctly says about repentance in chapter 16 of his book, EXCEPT YE REPENT . . .
“In all that I have written I have failed completely to express what was surging up in my soul if I have given anyone the impression that I think of repentance as something meritorious which must be produced in man by self-effort ere he is fit to come to God for salvation.”SOURCE: Dr. Harry Ironside, a quote from chapter 16, THE PREACHING THAT PRODUCES REPENTANCE, from his timeless classic book, EXCEPT YE REPENT.
I agree 100%! The entire concept of Lordship Salvation is based in human effort. Most of our evangelical churches today have bought into the lie that it's not enough to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be saved. The Gospel is that Jesus Christ DIED, was BURIED and RESURRECTED from the dead three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). If you receive Christ's sacrifice on the cross as full payment for your sins, then you are saved. But don't I have to repent? Yes, of course! Biblical repentance is “a change of mind” that causes a person to believe the Gospel. Repentance is NOT a desire to stop sinning. Repentance is realizing that you are a SINNER and need the Savior, and so you believe the Gospel and are saved. Repentance is changing your mind about whatever was previously hindering you from completely resting in Christ for salvation.
Clearly, Ironside taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel. Consider further the following quote by Pastor Ironside...
If you'd like to read further, please read ANOTHER GOSPEL?
Look back to our beginning verse in Matthew 27:3. It says that Judas repented and then went back to the chief priests and the elders to return the money. They refused and dealt harshly with him. Judas panicked and emotions overwhelmed him. Judas killed himself. There's criminals in this world who can kill someone in cold blood and not feel one bit of guilt or remorse. Evidently, Judas wasn't a cold-hearted criminal since he did feel guilt, but he failed to seek forgiveness in Christ. Apart from the name of Jesus there can be no salvation (Acts 4:10-12).
grace truly grace if it cannot be rejected?”
—Dr. Ralph Yankee Arnold, “Calvinism And Grace Are Not Compatible.”
Jesus, knowing that Judas was a known thief (John 12:6), chose Judas to be an Apostle in accordance with God's sovereign will. Never underestimate the will of God in your life. Sometimes things may seem all wrong, forever in shambles and hopeless, but God truly does work in mysterious ways. In hindsight we see the purpose of Judas being made an Apostle in God's plan, but at the time the other Apostles probably wondered why Jesus chose such a shady man to join their group. I mean, would you put a known thief in charge of your group's money bag? Jesus made Judas their treasurer, knowing that Judas loved money, was unsaved and according to John 6:70 had a devil in him. God works in mysterious ways!
Judas didn't believe on Christ and had never learned the sweetness of God's love and forgiveness. Peter knew of these things. Sadly, Judas is in Hell today, but Peter is in Heaven. When asked by the Lord Whom He was, Peter exclaimed, “THOU ART THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD”!!! Amen and amen!!! Matthew 16:16, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Judas never expressed such faith in the Lord, because he had none.
May I quote the words of Harry A. Ironside...
“Repentance is the very opposite of meritorious experience. It is the confession that one is utterly without merit, and if he is ever saved at all it can only be through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, 'who gave himself a ransom for all.' Here is firm footing for the soul who realizes that all self-effort is but sinking sand. Christ alone is the Rock of our salvation.”
SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside; Except Ye Repent, pg. 36)
Clearly, Ironside taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel. Dr. Ironside correctly recognized repentance as the confession that “one is utterly without merit” and that if one is “ever saved at all it can only be through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Salvation is without works of self-righteousness. Romans 4:5 plainly teaches that a man's faith is COUNTED for righteousness, i.e., the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to one's heavenly record by faith.
“Repentance is the recognition of my sinnership — the owning before God that I am as vile as He has declared me to be in His holy Word.”
SOURCE: Except Ye Repent, by Dr. Harry Ironside, chapter 3.
Here is one of the best quotes that I've found on repentance, by Dr. Harry A. Ironside:
“Which comes first, repentance or faith? In Scripture we read, 'Repent ye, and believe the gospel.' Yet we find true believers exhorted to 'repent, and do the first works.' So intimately are the two related that you cannot have one without the other. The man who believes God repents; the repentant soul puts his trust in the Lord when the Gospel is revealed to him. Theologians may wrangle over this, but the fact is, no man repents until the Holy Spirit produces repentance in his soul through the truth. No man believes the Gospel and rests in it for his own salvation until he has judged himself as a needy sinner before God. And this is repentance.” (Except Ye Repent, p. 16)
Also, Dr. Hal Lindsey has repentance Biblically correct, who states:
“Repentance, as it relates to Christ, means to change our minds about Him, who He is and what He's done to provide forgiveness, and deliverance from our sins. When we place faith in Jesus as having taken our place personally on the cross and borne the penalty due our sins, then we're automatically repenting, because we couldn't accept Him in this way without having to change or minds in some way concerning Him.” (From the Liberation of the Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsey. (p. 133).
Religion Verses Jesus (.PDF book; an excellent defense of the Gospel by Preston Greene)
“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God,
Ye Must Be Born Again! | How to Be Saved
You Need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!