Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation? And, Holiness vs. Legalism

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Are we justified by faith alone, or is repentance of sins necessary for salvation — or is that mixing grace with works? Dr. Brown then outlines the differences between holiness and legalism, and hears from callers who have been burned by legalism.


Hour 1:


Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: You can not separate true repentance from true faith, or true salvation from a new life in God. Repentance and faith go hand and hand. Salvation means salvation from sin to holiness, by the grace and power of God.


Hour 2:


Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Legalism is externally imposed religion, laws without love, rules without relationship, and standards without a Savior. Legalism pushes us away from God. Holiness makes us like Him. Holiness is becoming like Jesus in thought, word, and deed.



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Other Resources:

The Power of Repentance

Does God Still Judge Today? And, Does God Still See His People’s Sins?

What Does It Mean to Be Separated and Holy?

The Sense of God’s Holiness


‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’ -Lev. 10.3 The nations are perishing and the Church is languishing for want of the knowledge of God. This generation of American souls is largely ignorant of the God […]


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Cleanse Our Eyes! A Call to Consecration in the Area of Entertainment


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Burning Idols


Idolatry in the West is often subtle, taking the form of addictions, money, power, etc… but in some parts of the world, the ancient forms of idolatry spoken of by the Old Testament prophets are still being practiced, and as people come to the Lord, they literally cast their idols and ritual instruments […]

VOR Looks at Holiness


Recently, one major Christan magazine editor mockingly spoke of the church’s “holiness heritage kick[ing] in” after someone comes to faith in Jesus because of the church being “deathly afraid of cheap grace.” In contrast […]

Liberty From Sin, Not Liberty To Sin


Jesus came to set us free! This is one of the fundamental truths of the gospel, repeated over and again in the New Testament. As expressed by Paul, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal 5:1a). In the words of Jesus himself, “. . […]

Blameless On That Day: Holiness and Love


Justified believers are urged to pursue holiness. We are promised that the pure in heart shall see God. (Matthew 5:8) We are warned that without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14) In the hope of seeing Him as He is we are exhorted to purify […]

How Saved Are We? by Dr. Brown: This unsettling book challenges us to ask ourselves what kind of born-again experience we have had if it calls for almost no personal sacrifice, produces virtually no separation from the world, and breeds practically no hatred of sin.


How to Be Led By The Spirit! [mp3 series]

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  1. Dr. Brown,
    I thought these would be of interest to you.


    “The St. Petersburg law on prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among under-aged, which gathered a host of both supporters and opponents, came into effect on March 30…”

    Russia spoke the word “pedophilia” and “homosexuality” in the same sentence – here, that would be a no-no.


    “A St. Petersburg court imposed on Friday a $170 fine on Nikolai Alexeyev, the founder of a sexual and gender minorities’ rights organization, who was detained by the city governor’s office on April 12. Alexeyev was charged with breaching the law banning the propaganda of homosexual relations among minors…”

    …and,as an added bonus…

    “Convicted pedophiles in Russia could soon be chemically castrated. Parliament is set to discuss the law, which supporters hope will stop the high-level of child molesters re-offending.”

    Just FYI

  2. Dr. Brown,
    Also – coincidence? This is the exact question I was up all night wrestling with (the one the show is dealing with today):

    1. past-tense “salvation” having BEEN DONE
    on-going need for a future-tense salvation, which HASN’T ARRIVED

    2. What is Grace (in comparison to Law-works)? I.E.: “What, PRECISELY, is the difference between the two?”

  3. Hey there Dr.Brown. I am the one that called today about the church I grew up in that was very strict. The pastor yelled and screamed at most services. I was scared that if I were struggle with a sin I was completely condemned and felt no love or mercy from God. One way I have come to understand His mercy is being a mother, I correct out of love. My children are precious to me no matter what I must do to correct them. They are still my children and I cherish the relationships that we have. I have come to cherish the relationship I have built with my heavenly Father.

  4. Diane, I am so glad that God continues to teach you, gently, by His grace! Yes, sin is serious, no doubt. Thanks be to God-we have a redeemer like us in trials, unlike us in complete victory, and through His blood, that victory is also ours!

    Brothers and sisters we are; we must uphold and help deliver one another from sin and temptation.

    Children, and the work of rearing them, is a gift from the Lord. May I share a deep experience which continues with me;

    When my wife and I were expecting our first child- I was full of worry and anxiety, and though a believer in Christ, my heart was not trusting in the Lord’s material and spiritual provision. How could I raise a child?

    One day, the voice of Him who Sees spoke to me- “I mean this child as a blessing for you.” This was both a rebuke and a gentle encouragement to have faith. That voice certainly did not come from within my being, but from “outside” of me. Those prophetic words from the Holy Spirit have been proven true over and over again as God’s work has been amplified and enabled through the raising of my daughter, and my other children who followed. Also, she has been a tremendous blessing in other people’s lives. Such a gift children are to us in many many different ways. Now I truly feel more a warrior with a quiver full of arrows. This is grace at work in my life.

  5. Matt B, Thank you for the testimony , children are a blessing, I was talking with my four year old about rules to stay in her own yard she didn’t understand why I wouldn’t let her go down the block to play with her friend I was trying to explain to her that she was to young to be down there on her own of course she was crying about it ,when suddenly she stop crying and said, out the blue, (Jesus talks without a voice) I said what? she said Jesus said that daddy was right and to listen to your parents….thought I would share, love and joy to all

  6. Thank you for sharing your story about your daughter Matt B. The misspelling of my name was no problem. It happens often enough. :o)I liked the other story also Ken. I am still learning to completely trust in the Lord. I am so blessed with all He has brought me through as I see my tests become testimonies for His glory.

  7. It’s hard to have a relationship with an invisible God. Sometimes I wish that Jesus was actually sitting right next to me so that I can see Him with my own eyes while I talk with Him. That way, I can experience a real conversation with Him like when He was here 2000 years ago. I can ask Him for healing, and He would heal me because He would be right in front of my eyes. I would talk with Him and trust Him to lead me because I would experience His great power and love for me (even as I am corrected). But that’s not the case. This is God’s plan, so He must have good reasons for revealing Himself in other ways to us. I have never seen a miracle, so it’s hard to believe in a higher power. However, I do know that I’ve escaped death and I thank God that I didn’t die. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that if God was more real to me, my faith in Him would be stronger and my walk with Him closer. I pray for grace and understanding. I know that I should draw near, but in the back of my mind, I always fear that I will only find disappointment. The wonderful thing is that even in the midst of all of this, I somehow know that He’s taking care of me as I refuse to let Him go. I need to change a lot of things and like so many, only God’s grace can help us. What’s wrong with me? I don’t even know where to start. So I pray and hope that something will help me get going in the right direction. Maybe it’s a lack of willpower. Isn’t reaching perfection an impossible undertaking? Only God can give me the power and grace to overcome the lust and pride in my heart because the strong desires that are in me take hold of me and always keep me coming back to God in tears as I cry out for another chance to do better this time. Father, please teach your people self-control and help us with your grace and power.

  8. R. Kneubuhl, Jesus addresses your concern in Luke 10:23-24 If your need a healing have you tried going to the elders in your church to lay hands on you and pray for your need? Ive seen many people get healed through prayer. Jesus is the only one I know who is perfect ..were made perfect through him in the site of G-d so rest in joy to you

  9. Thanks for the scripture and the advice Ken. I have spoken to my pastor once concerning healing, but I never really got a clear answer from him. The answer I got sounded something like healing is only possible if it’s God’s will. I didn’t really understand that answer because it is God’s will for the sick to be healed. Isn’t it? It’s amazing to hear that you’ve seen many people get healed through prayer. That shows God’s power at work, but I’ve never seen that. Nevertheless, why are there still many sick people in the world? It has been 2000 years since Jesus began His healing ministry. Shouldn’t the whole world be free of sickness by now? I know that I’m exaggerating, but I hope I got my point across. Maybe there’s an answer to this question that we are yet to discover. But I believe as you do that in Messiah, we can find rest. God bless.

  10. R. Kneubuhl, Jesus Christ 100% still heals today and never let anyone tell you different. His word is clear on that matter’s trust worthy and reliable.. he’s the same yesterday, today and forever….Peace , love and joy

  11. Holiness is the salvation. We have been sick with sin and when you are fully cured you become well i.e holy. Just as sin brings death, holiness brings life. Jesus died for us so as to bring us the Holy Spirit which enables to overcome our sin.Justification means setting straitening, making upright something which is falling. When you believe you receive power to use to mortify your sins so as to be blameless. Perfection is possible and is a reality because the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Refusing the power of God makes us think we cant overcome sin.., God is sovereign and no power can prevent us from achieving perfectness. Remember Jesus saying be perfect just as your father is perfect. The death of Jesus opened the door to holiness which is salvation. Holiness was not achievable in the first covenant because the law was outside man…but through Jeremiah God says I will make a new covenant in which I put my law in their hearts. This is the grace, which we do not deserve, and this grace is that he has empowered us to overcome our sins. But this grace is not amnesty which i hear being preached today…which erroneously say Jesus paid it all at the cross and you don’t need to do anything and even if you continue to sin you will still inherit his blessing. Be aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. remember that multitude in white clothes talked about in revelations…they had washed their clothes in the blood of the lamb. So holiness is the salvation. Holiness shows that you have healed. I leave you with Daniel 12:10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

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