In a recent conversation, a christian parroted a common false belief that, in order to be saved, one must first repent of his “sinful desires.” The reason for his blindness is not understanding the difference between sins [plural] NOT leading unto death, and the sin [singular] that leads unto death (1 John 5:16).
Just like the incorrect conflation in English translations (like the KJV) that takes two different things—the living One who speaks as Elohim (Hebrew: DABAR, Greek: LOGOS), and actual words being uttered (Hebrew: IMRAH, Greek: RHEMA)—and calls them both the “WORD,” those translations usually also do the same thing with at least a half dozen different words in the original languages that all get conflated down to “sin” or “sins” in English.
The goofy notion that salvation begins with “repenting of sinful desires” is ignorance of what repentance is, and what sinful desires are. But, other than that, Sherlock . . .
“To repent” means “to change one’s mind.” Period. End of meaning. When things are added to it, like changing the way one lives, or one’s desires being changed, or feelings of deep sorrow and regret for certain behaviors, it becomes christianese—things that sound spiritual, but have no basis in truth.
Those who have received spiritual life by the indwelling Holy Spirit are then faced with an internal battle that remains until they exchange their corruptible flesh for incorruptible. The flesh and the spirit will be at war until the believer dies and receives his glorified body. So, there is no way to repent (change one’s mind) of sinful “desires,” for they are the law of the flesh, and one who is alive on the earth has human (carnal) flesh.
Those who have not been given the Holy Spirit have no spirit nature to contend with, because they were born with a dead spirit due to Adam’s sin. To be saved is to be given the Holy Spirit, who resurrects the dead spirit of man to newness of life (Romans 8:11).
One can no more repent of his sinful desires than he can repent of breathing oxygen. One can strive to crucify those fleshly desires, and sacrifice his flesh, but his flesh will still be a part of him until he dies (Romans 7:23). The more one successfully denies his flesh, the more control he yields to the Holy Spirit, but to “repent” of the flesh is an illogical act, just like the whole construct of christian salvation in which an unbeliever makes a decision, or prays a prayer, and his human will makes him an adopted child of the Most High God, which is absurd.
The false belief system tells unbelievers to “ask forgiveness for their sins,” which is just christianese gobbledegook. There is nowhere in scripture (actual scripture—not English translations of it) that tells anyone they are to ask forgiveness for their sins to receive salvation. When your translation of scripture states that, for salvation, one must repent of his “sins,” it is a false translation. And, “asking forgiveness” to receive salvation exists nowhere in scripture.
There is ONE SIN, and ONE SIN ALONE that condemns: unbelief (Hebrews 3:19). In the Greek, the cause of unbelief is “hamartia,” which is the SINGULAR sinful condition into which all humans are born. Those who are believers in the Father’s eyes have the Witness in them (1 John 5:10). Those who are unbelievers do not. To repent of unbelief is to believe, and that is the necessary first step toward receiving the Holy Spirit, which is the perfection, or completion, of one’s human belief.
It has nothing to do with sins of the flesh, for those who do not have the Holy Spirit are already condemned for their unbelief (John 3:18)—there are no sins of the flesh that can make them “more condemned.”
The choice to crucify the flesh by abstaining from its sins is the basis of reward for those who have been made righteous by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Those who have been made children of Yah (righteous) are rewarded for their choice to deny their flesh and its sins. Those who have been made righteous, but then choose NOT to deny their fleshly desires will not receive reward. But, that has nothing to do with their eternal destiny (salvation)—only their level of reward (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
Eternal life is a gift they have received, but reward is something that must be earned. This is the difference between justification and sanctification—between righteousness and holiness.
The thief on the cross is the model for salvation. He repented of his unbelief, which was to believe in Messiah Yahoshua. He confessed Him before others when he openly identified who He is (adonai, or Lord). He then received a direct confirmation that he had been given eternal life (saved).
That’s the entirety of receiving salvation. Believe, confess Messiah before others (endure in belief), and then receive the covenant. It is what the Passover journey shows. It is what the way of the tabernacle shows. Most of christianity teaches a false salvation that is based on repenting of sins that don’t even apply to the unbeliever, and then declaring oneself to be saved.
It misses what repentance is necessary, and then places the power and authority of righteousness upon man’s decision. That’s why those we see in Matthew 7:21-23 are so shocked that they were never actually saved. They believed the false teachings of christianity, the counterfeit of the true faith. They believed they could decide or pray themselves saved, which cannot be done.
For more information: The Way of the Thief