There are some who call themselves “free grace” Christians, who believe that repentance is not necessary to be saved. They believe if we call people to repent we are preaching works-righteousness. They are not against repentance, just against it being part of the gospel call.
I believe John MacArthur’s book, The Gospel According to Jesus, has already settled this issue. But I still know of some who hold to “free grace” theology. And I say, they are stealing that phrase. They do not preach free grace, but rather cheap grace.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of free grace. Jesus paid it all! So for those who trust in Him, salvation is absolutely free. But the kicker: Jesus even paid to purchase faith for His elect people (Romans 5.5-6: Jesus died while we were weak, so that the Holy Spirit could be poured into our hearts). In other words, Jesus paid it all! It was costly for Christ, but His death makes all of salvation completely free for believers. And because we know He paid it all, we can have God-ordained confidence to call all people to repent, and God’s elect WILL repent in faith. No doubt. 100%. Because Jesus paid for all of it!
The modern “free grace” movement cheapens the grace of God by saying Jesus paid for less than He actually paid for. They think the grace of God in salvation is not as expensive, so to speak (i..e. “No way God would require acts of repentance in His people, that’s too much!”).
Another thing that is actually happening is they think we are saying salvation is dependent on repentance. No! Salvation is dependent on the absolute sovereign mercy of God and the absolute complete work of Christ and the absolute mysterious work of the Spirit!
If what the “free grace” people are saying is that salvation is dependent on faith, then no one will be saved. Can you really depend on any human being to believe (John 6.44)?
The only way salvation comes is if it truly comes for FREE, through the sovereign, miraculous, gracious work of God Himself. And if God really does 100% of the work of salvation, then no need to sell God short by calling His people to anything but faith-filled repentance. Don’t cheapen the grace of God. Make it sound as valuable as the Bible does.