J. B. (not J. B. Bond) asks:
Thank you for your writings.
I do have a question as I try to understand repentance.
So, in Mark 1 when Jesus was calling the people of Israel to repent and believe the gospel (of the kingdom), why wouldn’t He also tell them they needed to believe in Him for eternal life like He told Nicodemus in John 3? Why wouldn’t He just cut to the thing they needed the most first?
Did the Hebrew people in Mark 1 have eternal life already so they only needed to repent of their sin to understand and believe Jesus as the prophesied Messiah?
For many years I have believed and taught that the message of faith for eternal life does not include someone needing to repent of sin, which I think is purely impossible for a person to have the strength to do without God delivering that person first. Also, repentance would then be a work which contradicts the scriptures such as John 3:16, Eph 2:8-10, Romans 4:5, Titus 3:5, etc.
A lot of my friends, including pastors, heartily disagree with me when I negate repentance as a means of eternal life.
The answer is so simple that most miss it. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are not evangelistic books. Hence, they do not include any of the evangelistic material found in John’s Gospel, which is evangelistic. Those who think that the Synoptic Gospels are evangelistic teach works salvation or Lordship Salvation.
The Lord did not always evangelize every time He spoke. He might have shared the faith-alone message some other time that day to the people who heard Him say the words now found in Mark 1:15-16. But if He did, Mark did not choose to include it.
We know that John leaves out most everything that is found in the Synoptics. And the Synoptic writers leave out nearly everything found in John’s Gospel. The reason is that they had different purposes. Matthew, Mark, and Luke were writing to believers to help them grow in the faith. John was writing to unbelievers to lead them to faith in Christ for everlasting life (John 20:31).