Repentance Is Not An Option

Repentance must always come before forgiveness and peace. Perhaps we need to be re minded of this in these days. We are in danger of making salvation too easy a matter and of being altogether too tolerant with ourselves. We forget, some of us, that sin is such a terrible thing, and we are too careless about getting rid of our sins. We misunderstand God’s forgiveness if we think of it merely as an easy forgetting that we have done the wrong thing. Jesus did not come to save us merely front sin’s penalties; he came to save us from the sins themselves, by leading us to forsake them for ever. Unless we repent of our sins we never can have forgiveness. … Repentance is not merely a little twinge of remorse over some wrong thing. It is not simply a gush of tears at the recollection of some wickedness. It is not mere shame at being found out in some meanness or uncleanness or dishonesty. It is the revolution of the whole life. Sins wept over must be forsaken for ever. Repentance is a change of heart, a turning of the face just the other way. … A good many people get only half the gospel. They talk a great deal about believing, but very little about repenting. It needs to be remembered that a faith which does not lead to genuine repentance is not a faith that saves. He who bewails a sin and confesses it, secretly in tending to return to it again, has no good ground to hope that he is forgiven.

—J.R. Miller
Come Ye Apart

Via: Tim Phillips

What Is True Repentance

Q. What is repentance unto life?

A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of and endeavor after new obedience.

—The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 87

Two observations:

One, the motive for repentance is not only sorrow for sin but also a sense of the mercy of God in Christ. We have zero motivation to repent unless we see the mercy of God awaiting us. Not the slap of God but the embrace of God. Repentance is not just turning from sin; it is also turning to God with a bright hope in his mercy.

Two, the outcome of repentance is not a restored status quo, getting back to “normal,” getting back to where we were before we sinned. The outcome is new obedience, unprecedented obedience, perhaps unheard-of obedience. Newness of life.

True repentance is hope-inspired and newness-creating.

—Ray Ortlund

Via: Ray Ortlund

Continual Repentance

Thanks to Tim Challies for pointing to another great poem from The Valley of Vision.

O God of Grace,

Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute, and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with jewels of holiness. But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for thou dost always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, ‘Father, forgive me’; and thou art always bringing forth the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.

The Valley of Vision

Via: Tim Challies