The following is an excerpt from Curtis Hutson’s book: “Repentance: What Does The Bible Teach?”
“I recently asked a large congregation if there was anyone present who had not sinned in the last week to raise his hand, and not a single hand was lifted. I don’t know of anyone who lives a single day without sinning. Now to be sure, you may not commit murder, adultery, or you may not rob a bank, but you sin nonetheless. Romans 14:23 says, “For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” That simply means that if we do anything without a conviction of God’s approval, then it is sinful. And I suppose everyone is guilty of this every day of his life.
When I was a small boy, I recall hearing an old preacher pray, “Lord, forgive us of the sins of omission as well as the sins of commission.” There is such a thing as a sin of omission. The Bible says if we leave undone something we know is good, it is a sin. And who hasn’t sinned in this respect? A sin of omission is a sin that is the result of not doing something God’s Word teaches that we should do.
I John 1:10 says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” For any believer to claim that he has not sinned is to make God a liar.
Several years ago I read a book by a professor at a fundamental university. Under the chapter on salvation, he said, “Quit your sinning, and God will give you a new heart.” He presented repentance as turning from sin. I wrote this dear brother and expressed my concern, knowing that such teaching frustrates the unbeliever and makes him think that salvation is unattainable since he cannot live a sinless life. This professor wrote back that he had repented, that he had turned from his sins. When I wrote to ask if he had sinned after he was saved, he had to honestly answer the question and admit that he had. I explained that if he had sinned after he was saved, then he had not turned from his sins; he had only turned from part of them, that is, the ones he had not committed since he had been saved. He then agreed to change the statement in his book.
If repentance means turning from sin, and turning from sin means to stop sinning, then a person must live a sinless life in order to be saved. And if that is the case, then nobody could ever be saved, because there are no perfect people.
You don’t get better to get saved; you get saved to get better. You can’t get better until you do get saved. In reality, one can begin living better only after he is saved. When the individual trusts Christ as Saviour, he receives a new nature.
We read in Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” It is the presence of God in the believer that gives him both the desire and power to live a better life. And no man has the indwelling Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit until after he is saved.
I think there are many who would like to be saved but have been presented the faulty idea that repentance is turning from sin and therefore they are convinced that they cannot be saved. Oh, if we would only make salvation plain and explain to men that we are not saved by doing anything; rather we are saved by trusting in what Jesus has already done. He died two thousand years ago for our sins. He fully paid the sin debt.”