Repentance is Not "Turning From Your Sin" in Relation to Salvation
Debate Rounds (3)
Before we get into the main arguments, I'd like to set out my interpretation of the debate.
First, in order to refute the position proposed by Pro, I do not need to prove that repentance is only "Turning from your sin." Instead, I will take the position that this is a key aspect of repentance in relation to salvation, but not necessarily the only aspect.
The second point we need to understand is the meaning of the words, "in relation to salvation." What we are not debating is the definition of repentance as a prerequisite or means to salvation. Rather we are simply looking at how repentance ought to be understood as it relates to salvation.
Thirdly, we must gain an appropriate understanding of the word, "salvation." Salvation can be understood as, "Deliverance or rescue from danger, evil, difficulty, sin, or destruction. When a person believes in Christ's work on the cross, salvation occurs in three basic steps. Justification (salvation from the penalty of sins) at the moment of belief, sanctification (salvation from the power of sins) throughout one's life, and glorification (salvation from the presence of sin) in the future."1
Finally, we need to lay a standard that we can apply to determine which understanding of repentance ought to be accepted. The standard that I would like to offer, since Pro has not yet explicitly offered any standard, is that of authorial intent. When seeking to determine how repentance ought to be understood with relation to salvation, we shouldn't rely on what the word originally meant in Greek. Instead, by examining the context of statements in Scripture regarding repentance, we ought to determine what view of repentance is held by Scripture.
I wait for Pro to make his arguments.
Although I believe the truth of the later two definitions of salvation (from the power and presence of sin), I am arguing that repentance in relation to the first definition of salvation (from the penalty of sin) does not involve a turning-from, giving-up of, or cessation of one's sins.
You say, "When seeking to determine how repentance ought to be understood with relation to salvation, we shouldn't rely on what the word originally meant in Greek. Instead, by examining the context of statements in Scripture regarding repentance, we ought to determine what view of repentance is held by Scripture."
I agree with this standard, but it is important to recognize the meaning of the Greek in relation to how it is used in scripture. Agape and phileo are two Greek words which denote love, the former being God's unconditional love toward man and the latter being brotherly love amongst men. While Greek definitions tell us these should be two distinct words, scripture uses these interchangeably as evidenced by the following verses: Titus 3:4; Luke 11:43; John 5:20; 2 Timothy 3:4; John 11:5; John 20:2; 1 Corinthians 16:22; 2 Timothy 1:20; Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Titus 2:4; Ephesians 5:28; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 John 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22. And there are many other examples of words being used interchangeably to describe the same thing. So by cross referencing scripture, we get the ultimate understanding, but understanding the Greek is an important element, especially where a word is uniquely biblical such as "hell" or "damnation," and where there is a unanimity in the Greek words behind the English (i.e. "repentance"). I agree we should not "rely" on the Greek word's original meaning, but it is a factor which should be considered and not left out.
Let me state my position clearly: I believe repentance is necessary for salvation, but that it does not involve turning from one's sins. We must repent (become guilty before God in recognition of our transgressions) and then, and only then, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior who shed His blood as our propitiation to pay the penalty for our sins. Consider Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17; and Luke 5:32. Surely there are none righteous (Romans 3:10). Jesus was telling the people that He has come to call those who recognize that they are sinners. Consider also Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; Acts 20:2 and 2 Peter 3:9. We see that repentance comes before salvation.
I believe that "turning from your sins" is apart of sanctification and is provoked in us to do so by the Holy Spirit, but this has nothing to do with salvation (from the penalty of sin).
You say, "First, he has taken one part of salvation, and concluded that since repentance (defined as turning away from sin) has no part in this area of salvation, then repentance in relation to salvation must not mean turning away from sin. But this is absolutely ludicrous. This would be like me arguing that citrus has no relation to fruit, but then define fruit as all non-citrus fruits. It simply makes no sense." This is erroneous, your analogy lacks any substantial meaning in this debate. You still have not adequately addressed my point that "turning from your sins" has anything to do with salvation.
You say, "Based on the resolution, then, which does not specify that salvation applies to justification only, Con ought to win this round because Pro has claimed, 'turning from your sins' is apart of sanctification' and thus has conceded the resolution since salvation is not only justification, but also sanctification and glorification." When did I agree to this "resolution?" The definition of "salvation" which I have been referring to throughout this debate does specify that salvation applies to justification only (salvation from the penalty of sin). Of course I have no problem with "turning from your sins" in relation to sanctification, but this is why we call it "sanctification" and not "salvation." Your three-part definition of salvation is arbitrary.
You say, " All other arguments made by Pro are inconsequential. This one argument refutes Pro's position." How are my other arguments inconsequential? I believe the prospective coherent reader will understand that my arguments are relevant and very consequential. You have refuted nothing except within the framework of your perceived "resolution" of the definition of salvation.
Vote con if you like arguing semantics rather than arguing actual points made by the opponent.
Let's look at the points brought up by Pro. First, Pro argued, "The definition of salvation does not necessitate the inclusion of salvation from the power and presence of sin. You are imposing these two definitions onto the one I am attempting to argue about."
I have two responses to this.
First: the only definition of salvation presented in this debate does indeed necessitate the inclusion of salvation from the power and presence of sin. Sanctification and glorification are just as much a part of salvation as is justification. You are not saved if you are simply justified without sanctification. This is why the author of Hebrews instructs us to pursue "the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). Sanctification is indeed a part of salvation.
Second: Pro has identified the fundamental problem with Pro's position. Pro is attempting to narrow the definition of salvation to include justification alone. Yet as we've seen already, this is not the sole aspect of salvation. Thus, Pro is failing to forward the argument expressed that repentance is not "turning from your sins" in relation to salvation.
The second point that Pro made was an attack against the analogy I presented of a person arguing that citrus has no relation to fruit, and then defining fruit as all non-citrus fruits. Yet this is exactly what Pro has done. Pro has taken the definition of salvation, and narrowed it to mean the one aspect of salvation to which repentance as "turning from your sins" has no relation. Then Pro argues that repentance so understood has no relation to this aspect of salvation. It is an entirely unreasonable assumption.
Thirdly, Pro stated that I had not adequately addressed his point that "turning from your sins" has anything to do with salvation. But that's exactly the problem. Again, I would vastly have preferred to debate on whether repentance, understood as "turning from your sins," is related to salvation. But when it comes to salvation, both Pro and I entirely agree that "turning from your sins" is a crucial element of salvation, namely the aspects of sanctification and glorification. In essence, we both negate the original argument that repentance is not "turning from your sins" in relation to salvation.
Next, Pro states, "The definition of 'salvation' which I have been referring to throughout this debate does specify that salvation applies to justification only (salvation from the penalty of sin). Of course I have no problem with 'turning from your sins' in relation to sanctification, but this is why we call it 'sanctification' and not 'salvation.' Your three-part definition of salvation is arbitrary."
I have three responses.
First: Pro speaks of a "definition of 'salvation'" to which Pro has apparently referred throughout this debate. But Pro has referred to no definition of salvation. The only definition of salvation presented in this debate was presented by Con.
Second: My opponent said that there is a reason why we call "sanctification" "sanctification" rather than "salvation." The only response I believe necessary is that there is also a reason why salvation from the penalty of sin is called "justification" rather than "salvation."
Third: While Pro argues that my three-part definition of salvation is arbitrary, it is most certainly not. It is a commonly accepted definition by most biblical scholars. Salvation is a complex topic that includes (at least) justification, sanctification, and glorification (though some would also include regeneration). On the other hand, Pro's definition is most certainly arbitrary, taking salvation as a whole, and defining it as a single aspect of the whole.
Finally, we see indeed that all other arguments made by Pro are inconsequential. I absolutely agree when he says that "turning from your sins" is not necessary for justification, but unfortunately, this is not the statement that we are debating. Rather, we are debating whether "turning from your sins" is a crucial aspect of salvation. On this, both Pro and I agree. "Turning from your sins" is indeed a crucial aspect of salvation.
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