Union Or Fellowship?

Q. I just finished reading your teaching on OSAS and had SO many questions answered. Thank you!

Toward the end of your message you wrote: “Those that stress belief, explain the permanent nature of our bond with God, and are directed toward eternity are Union verses. Those that involve grace and faith are Gift verses. Those that require work and are directed at the quality of our lives on Earth are Fellowship verses, and those that require work and involve eternal rewards are Prize verses.

I was thinking. It has bothered me that the need for repentance is not mentioned in verses like John 3:16, 1 John 5:12-13, Romans 10:9-10. Would all the verses in Scripture telling us to repent and be saved be verses dealing with Fellowship rather than Union since repentance involves a work? This is something I just can’t seem to get clear in my mind.

I’ve understood that repentance is a natural consequence of asking the Holy Spirit into our hearts. But wouldn’t it still be considered a work because we CAN choose to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit. If we DO ignore them and make no changes in our lives but yet still believe in Jesus Christ and in the work He did for us on the cross, that he IS God, that He WAS resurrected, if we really believe these things which are necessary for salvation but still refuse to give up our worldly lives, are we still saved? WOULD repentance be along the lines of Fellowship and not Union?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for your continued service to our Lord Jesus Christ. I look forward to your response.

A. The word translated repent means to change one’s mind. In the context of salvation it means to change our mind about the need for a Savior and realize that without Jesus we’re hopelessly lost. When John the Baptist told people to repent and be saved, he wasn’t telling them to stop sinning so they could merit salvation. He was telling them to change their minds about the need for a Savior.

After we’re saved the Holy Spirit prompts us to change our mind about our behavior. So you’re correct. First comes salvation and then a change in behavior. That’s why salvation passages mention only belief, which brings us union with God.

Passages that admonish us to change our behavior are always written to people who’ve already been saved and refer to maintaining our fellowship with God. It helps to remember that all believers continue to sin and to varying degrees refuse to give up their worldly lives. It’s our belief that Jesus died for our sins and rose again that gets us saved and keeps us that way.

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