Although I agree with the Modern Day Modalist That God has revealed his plan of salvation to mankind, I disagree with their contention that this revelation includes the process they champion. I believe this is so in that the 3-step plan they’ve outlined totally excludes “Faith Alone” as the vehicle by which God’s salvation is extended to mankind.
Instead, for them, salvation is obtained by man’s works, (e.g.; repenting; allowing oneself to be water baptized in the name of Jesus; “tarrying” for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Ghost) and the tongues experience), rather than being the gift of God by faith. This is proven in that the English word “repent” used in the New Testament is translated from one of three Greek words:1
- Metanoia – A change of mind; as in an afterthought. To second-guess something.
- Metamelomai – To repent, or regret a particular thing, (as with Judas in Matthew 27:3).
- Metanoeo - To change one’s mind for the better with an abhorrence of one’s past sins.
It is the word “metanoeo” that is used in Acts 2:38. In this passage the Apostle Peter, after giving a remarkable exposition of the prophecies concerning the life and purpose of Christ, and in response to a question asked by those gathered to hear him, declared:
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
When Modalists speak of repentance (citing this passage) it is evident that the true meaning of the word used (metanoeo) is lost in their standardized English definition of the word. To them this word is totally works based, e.g.; “stop smoking, stop drinking, stop partying,” etc; as if these things will make one acceptable to God, and eligible for the next step in their 3 step plan of salvation.
While I would quickly agree that all of these things may be good and helpful in affecting the lives and godly service of believers, an over-emphasis on them (or any work for that matter), totally disregards what God Himself has revealed concerning the efficaciousness of man’s works in Isaiah 64:6:
“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags;
we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
The word “filthy” used in this passage is translated from the Hebrew “`alach” (aw-lakh’), indicating a “menstruous” rag. What this shows is that any and all righteous works that man may acheive are only the equivalent of the blood of detestable human waste to God. It is only by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ that man can hope to please God. (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Hebrews 11:6) There is absolutely NO work that man can perform that will lead to salvation. (Galatians 2:16-21; 3:10-12)
It should also be noted that none of the Greek words translated “repent” speak to any act of physical change, but rather psychological. This is evident in that scripture clearly shows it to be the psychological vehicle by which consideration of change is recognized. Consider the following passages:
- “…testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God AND faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21; emphasis mine)
In this passage it can been seen that the repentance spoken of indicates a “turning” from a sinful past “towards” God, which leads to faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, which is salvation.
- "For godly sorrow produces repentance TO salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10; emphasis mine)
Thus, it is clear here as in the previous passage, repentance, (or regret of one’s sinful existence), is the vehicle that brings one to faith Christ and salvation. Instead of being the 1st physical act of a 3-step plan of salvation as Modalists indicate, it is merely the vehicle by which consideration of faith can be achieved. And this faith is not of any work.