1. Jesus frequently encountered sinful people whom he “forgave,” with no mention of repentance.
2. For example, he said to a crippled man, “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2).
3. There is no mention of repentance.
A. It must be recognized that no single passage contains the complete “complement of information” that may be associated with any theme referenced in a particular text.
1. A failure to recognize this reality is a common fallacy willfully committed both by secular and sectarian writers involving a variety of issues.
2. For example, skeptics will select a text which mentions a judgment from God inflicted upon a disobedient rebel (e.g., Numbers 15:32), and then generalize that the Lord must be a harsh, hateful Being. (sticks on the Sabath)
B. In this procedure they neglect the scores of passages that reveal the love and mercy of the Creator, and his acts of benevolence, along with reasons for those divine judgments of which the skeptic is critical.
C. Similarly, the “faith-only” advocate will single out texts which mention only one component of the plan of salvation.
1. An example is faith (John 3:16; Romans 5:1),
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1)
2. From this, false deduction they conclude that salvation is by “faith alone,” and is a valid doctrine.
3. They are wholly ignoring supplementary passages, e.g., Acts 2:38, such is an egregious flaw.
A. There is a principle of Bible interpretation known as the “Analogy
1. This concept acknowledges the “general harmony of the fundamental doctrine which pervades the entire Scriptures.”
2. It assumes that the Bible is a self-interpreting book, and what is obscure in one passage may be illuminated by another.
3. No single statement or obscure passage of one book can be allowed to set aside a doctrine which is clearly established by many passages.
4. The obscure texts must be interpreted in the light of those which are plain and positive”
B. This is an undisputed principle of interpretation in scholarly works, though frequently ignored by novices or those pursuing a prized agenda.
1. In the matter of forgiveness, there are various texts in the Gospel which mention Jesus extending forgiveness without any attending mention of repentance.
2. For example, the incident regarding one of the thieves crucified next to Christ, contains the necessary implication of forgiveness (Luke 23:43),
And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43)
3. Yet there was no extraction from the robber of a confession that his thievery was sinful.
4. One must conclude that the Lord recognized his penitence; else there would have been no promise of Paradise later that day.
5. It must not be assumed, that the absence of any mention of repentance sanctioned the man’s thievery, or nullified the necessity of a penitent disposition.
6. It cannot be argued, therefore, that because “repentance” was not mentioned in connection with some cases where Christ pardoned, that repentance, is not required for the reception of forgiveness.
1. What shall we say of passages that mention “baptism,” but do not reference faith, e.g., Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21?
2. Does this nullify faith as a condition of salvation?
3. What about a text that mentions “repentance” but does not mention either faith or baptism (Acts 11:18; Romans 2:4)?
4. Are the latter two automatically eliminated from the plan of redemption?
5. Of course not.
6. One must take the “sum” of truth on a particular item (Psalm 119:160) — not “some” of the truth.
The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. (Psalms 119:160)
7. The “analogy of faith” principle is commonly acknowledged among competent Bible scholars (even if they sometimes fail to make the application in areas that conflict with some cherished theological position).
8. In texts that address the same general theme, one passage may supplement another.
9. A more abbreviated text may not nullify information in the passage with more information.
10. Remember this: Scripture may supplement itself; it never contradicts itself
Acts 8:22 Erring
Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. (Acts 8:22)
Acts 2:38 Non Christians
Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
"Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life." (Acts 11:18 b)
not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4 b)
By Gary Murphy
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