R.C. Sproul | – Which Comes First: Repentance or Faith?

In this brief clip from his teaching series The Whole Christ, Sinclair Ferguson addresses the relationship between repentance and faith.

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About The Author

Ligonier Ministries Ligonier Ministries is an international Christian discipleship organization founded by theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul in 1971 to equip Christians to articulate what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it. Proclaiming God’s holiness is central to Ligonier’s purpose. Ligonier produces Renewing Your Mind radio broadcasts, the Reformation Study Bible, Tabletalk magazine, books through the Reformation Trust Publishing division, and various teaching series. It also offers academic degrees through Reformation Bible College. In addition, Ligonier hosts national and regional conferences, offers an online learning community through Ligonier Connect, streams twenty-four-hour Christian internet radio through RefNet, and makes available thousands of unique discipleship resources online at Ligonier.org. Ligonier Ministries

Comment (20)

  1. You can not turn away from your sins (repent) without at the same time turning to Christ (faith). To sat that one comes before the other is as nonsensical as saying that a customer in a store buying something gives the checkout clerk the front of a dollar bill, then gives her the back of the bill.

  2. 2Tim 2
    [7] Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
    [8] Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
    [9] Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
    [10] Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
    [11] It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
    [12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
    [13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
    [14] Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
    [15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
    [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
    [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
    [19] Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
    [20] But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
    [21] If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
    [22] Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
    [23] But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
    [24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
    [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
    [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

    Most ppl oppose themselves as verse 25 says and need to repent of resisting the truth of Paul's epistles.

  3. Thank you, shared on my web site with the following preface: Sadly there are many professing Christians that actually complain against repentance. Two years ago an 18 year old kid from a church that I formally attended, that still lived at home with mommy and daddy, wrongfully stated in a video that I was a “false teacher,” because I preached repentance, and that I allegedly preached a “Lordship salvation.” Part of the problem is most of these people are intellectually challenged.
    Our spiritually neutered men will say that my words are too harsh. But the Apostle Paul warned the church throughout the Scriptures, to not be “ignorant” (agnoeō). In the Greek this ignorance can actually become a ‘sin through mistake.’ Part of this kid’s problem, is he believed that the Bible was originally written in the King James English.

    As I’ve stated before, repentance is not the cause of salvation, repentance is because of our salvation. It is granted vertically from the Lord, as it manifests itself horizontally. For there is no salvation without repentance.

    But glory to God, the Lord has given men like Dr. Sinclair a brilliant mind. Enjoy this video.

  4. God is calling out a bride for His Beloved Firstborn Son. He sends the Holy Spirit with the testimony of the Father about the Kingdom, Judgment and Righteousness: all concerning His Son. We turn to God's call (repentance) and believe(by faith) His message & enter into that faith union with His Son who is our Salvation. As in creation, the work of creation is through the SOn- so in salvation, the work of God in Salvation is only in His Son: He sent His FIrstborn Son to exercise the rights of the Firstborn and become the Kinsman Redeemer to restore the People & Possessions of the Father back to the Father; in the reign of His grace. As the Kinsman Redeemer- the Son comes as a King to go before us to deliver us from our enemies & those who hate us in mighty acts of Judgment: Redemption & release us from the imprisonment of the authority of this world order (to release from prison or let loose-forgiveness). He also comes as the Great High Priest to bring us to the Father bearing in Himself our unfaithfulness in turning away from the Face of the Father & relying on the Strength of the Almighty (Grace). He bears our sin (willfully turning from "The Way", missing the goal of the Kingdom, forfeiting our privileges as sons, the inheritance & blessing (Countenance) of the Father) bodily and is cast from the Father's Presence in our place: Expiation, and also bears us bringing us to the Face of the Father by His Lifeblood poured out on that Mercy Seat & through the Veil of His Resurrection Body: Propitiation (to bear-forgiveness). (you can trace these in the testimony of Moses- & much more) He does these works of salvation as we are joined to Him as a bride, we share in His Faithfulness (righteousness) and in His Body: the one prepared for Him- whose ear is pierced for the listening of the Father's Voice, and whose body is clean for the filling of the Holy Spirit without measure. In sharing His life as a bride in the covenant of redemption, we become as He- sons of the Father, the House of God: Bondservants of the Father. Following the call to repentance in the Minor Prophets- the times the call of repentance is offered- there is always some reference to when Moses asked to see the Face of God & His Glory: The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, [Exodus 34:6 ESV] & this Name we know dwells above that Mercy Seat where He reigns at the Throne of Grace. Turing in repentance is always turning to Him and believing the message about His Son, being joined to Life or for those joined in repentance- restored to walk in newness of life in Him, learning in Him to walk in Face to face reliance on the strength of the Almighty (grace). At least something like this?????

    My soul has been rejected from PEACE; I have forgotten HAPPINESS. So I say, "My strength has perished, And [so has] my hope from the LORD." Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. [Lamentations 3:17-19 NASB] (CAPS- Mine- because I don't know how to highlight here- just for emphasis.

    Who did the people of Judah forget who Jeremiah is bringing us to a pinnacle of the curse of the Law?

    "Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, 'Here I am.'" How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces PEACE And brings good news of HAPPINESS, Who announces salvation, [And] says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" [Isaiah 52:6-7 NASB] (Israel & Judah turned from the testimony of the Father about the Son in pride- See the fall of Hezekiah)

    Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind (See Deut 30:1-6) the idea of turning is here with the mind is added), Therefore I have hope. The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. [They] are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him." [Lamentations 3:20-24 NASB]

    This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a [hope] both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. [Hebrews 6:19-20 NASB]

    What is going on in Isaiah 53? The propitiation of the High Priest as a guilt offering as He removes His garments of beauty & splendor, Majesty & Glory and serves His Father in Love: the Righteous Bondservant to bring us to the Father in love: Blameless, Holy without spot never to turn away again- which is fulfilled for us in the consummation of the Marriage of the Lamb of God when we see the Face of the Father; forever & ever & ever in love & listen to His Voice & serve Him forever.

    To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant, [Luke 1:72 NASB]
    The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, [Luke 1:73 NASB]
    To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, [Luke 1:74 NASB]
    In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. [Luke 1:75 NASB]

  5. Horse manure,
    You can’t justify your belief with the Bible!
    Jesus is thrown away by god , because of proverbs17:15!!
    “””” he who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the innocent (((are both an abomination to god!!!)))

    faith is made up by the liar Paul!!!
    He forces you to repent!!!!
    Paul’s big lies ,
    Genesis 15:6/ Abraham believed god, he didn’t say believed ((( in))) god!!!

    Romans 10:8 the word is in your mouth and heart the word is faith!!! (((( Paul ripped off deut 30:14. the word in your mouth and heart is the (((((( law))))

    Deut 30:10-14

    Psalms 19:7-8 nobody is a sinner because the law brings life not death like the liar Paul says!!!!

    Porn addict/ drug addicts are not sinners!!!!((( they need help not religion!!)))

    psalms 81 god gives the people over to the desires of their heart doesn’t punish them for it!!!

    god only punished you if you ((((( refuse )))) to obey the law!!!!
    Deut 28

    you and I can’t show god so he does not exist!!!!

    (((((( all you christians or should I say you pauliantians have an empty belief!!!!))))))))

  6. Repentance comes first in scripture. Read Romans 10 and see that for yourself. I understand the Calvinist perspective on when faith is received, but the scripture is clear; "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed, and how are they to believe in whom they have not heard?" Rom. 10:15 a "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Rom. 10:17
    If you cannot interpret this passage (please read the whole chapter), then how can you truly understand the gospel? Faith comes only after hearing the gospel, confessing Jesus and then comes salvation. Calvinism has it backwards!

  7. This is what Calvin said about faith & Regeneration <<>> Furthermore, commenting on the ministry of John the baptizer, Calvin states: “By inviting them to repentance, he urged them to acknowledge that they were sinners, and in all respects condemned before God, that thus they might be induced earnestly to seek the mortification of the flesh [sinful nature], and a new birth in the Spirit.”12 Calvin insists that this announcement of the kingdom of God being near is a call “for faith,” since, “by the kingdom of God which he declared to be at hand, he meant forgiveness of sins, salvation, life [new life, eternal life], and every other blessing which we obtain in Christ.”13 In other words, FAITH IN CHRIST BRINGS ABOUT ALL THE BLESSING OF CHRIST, INCLUDING REGENERATION: hence faith precedes regeneration. Calvin argues (emphases added): http://evangelicalarminians.org/calvin-on-faith-preceding-regeneration/ I Have and read all the works of Arminius and most of Calvin's of course not his commentaries on the whole Bible. Calvin never wrote commentaries on Revelations.

    Those who think that repentance precedes faith instead of flowing from, or being produced by it, as the fruit by the tree, HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD ITS NATURE, AND ARE MOVED TO ADOPT THAT VIEW ON VERY INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS. https://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.v.iv.html Part 510

    Justification is a work of God the Father and the Holy Spirit in us and without us. Justification and faith do not have a sequence in time but in order Faith- Justification but are simultaneously in time. Sanctification is a work of The Holy Spirit in us but not without us. Justification and SANCTIFICATION cannot be separated. There is no sanctification without justification or justification without sanctification, this even when sanctification is just a begin of regeneration through all our life. Faith is by Grace and the free gift of God. The Bible teaches us the Justification of the UNGODLY. [Made/ declared Righteous] Not a believer is justified but the UNGODLY BY FAITH.

    James 2: 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works [read FRUITS] is dead? Faith First then Fruits of Faith. You can see here that even turning it around since it happened simultaneously is not really a heresy but a misunderstanding. It can be that a person feels that his/her sins are forgiven and being Justified in the site of God and later understand to have put their trust in Christ by faith. However Calvin did not put regeneration before faith. This is the important part: "but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." it is too bad people are willing to send others in the wrong direction either out of ignorance and unwilling to study or even purposely.

  8. No he's not saying to leave the old lifestyle repent simply means to change your mind if you have believed on Christ you have changed your mind that's repentance unto life that's a change mine and trusting Christ you people are going to end up in hell all of you

  9. 2 Peter
    Chapter 3
    1This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

    2That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

    3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

    4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

    5For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

    6Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

    7But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

    8But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

    11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

    12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

    13Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

    14Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

    15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

    16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

    17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

    18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.