13 April, 2013
The Doctrine of Repentance - Part 13 - Last Post
Finally the last post of the serie
As I mentioned at the beginning of this serie on the nature of true repentance. I wanted to find something on repentance but I needed it to be as close as possible to what I have personally learned from the Holy Spirit directly. I have read several version of true repentance, while they are all saying the same thing, but some are harder to understand and some leave room for guessing games. So, once again I have decided to g with someone you know by now if you are used to my Blog. Thomas Watson wrote this piece in 1668. As I read it today, I realize it is the same process the Spirit took me through, to enable me to understand why I had to go through the process of repentance, how it was done, who does what and what was the overall result. There is nothing like true repentance entering your heart to find out who you truly are in Him.
By Thomas Watson, 1668
The Nature of true repentance
Use 2. It reproves those who are but half-turned. And who are these? Such as turn in their judgment, but not in their practice. They cannot but acknowledge that sin is a dreadful evil, and will weep for sin—yet they are so bewitched with it that they have no power to leave it! Their corruptions are stronger than their convictions. These are half-turned, "almost Christians" (Acts 26:28). They are like Ephraim, "as worthless as a half-baked cake!" (Hos. 7:8).
They are but half-turned, who turn only from gross sin—but have no intrinsic work of grace. They do not prize Christ—or love holiness. It is with mere moral people as with Jonah; he got a gourd to shield the heat of the sun, and thought that he was safe—but a worm presently arose and devoured the gourd. So men, when they are turned from gross sin, think that their morality will be a gourd to defend them from the wrath of God—but at death there arises the worm of conscience, which smites this gourd, and then their hearts fail, and they are in a dreadful condition!
They are but half-turned, who turn from many sins—but are unturned from some special sin. There is a harlot in the bosom which they will not let go! This is as if a man should be cured of several diseases—but has a cancer in his breast, which kills him. It reproves those whose turning is as good as no turning, who expel one devil and welcome another. They turn from swearing—to slandering, from extravagance—to covetousness. Such turning will turn men to hell!
Use 3. Let us show ourselves penitents, in turning from sin to God. There are some people I have little hope to prevail with. Let the trumpet of the Word sound ever so shrill, let threatenings be thundered out against them, let some flashes of hell-fire be thrown in their faces—yet they will keep their beloved sin. These people seem to be like the swine in the Gospel, carried down by the devil violently into the sea. They will rather be damned—than turn from their sin! "these people keep going along their self-destructive path, refusing to turn back, even though I have warned them!" (Jer. 8:5).
But if there is any sincerity in us, if conscience is not cast into a deep sleep, let us listen to the voice of the charmer, and turn to God as our supreme good. How often does God call upon us to turn to him? He swears, "As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness! Why should you die?" (Ezek. 33:11). God would rather have our repenting tears—than our blood.
Turning to God is for our benefit. Our repentance is of no benefit to God—but to ourselves. If a man drinks of a fountain—he benefits himself, not the fountain. If he beholds the light of the sun—he himself is refreshed by it, not the sun. If we turn from our sins to God, God is not advantaged by it. It is only we ourselves who reap the benefit. In this case self-love should prevail with us: "If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer." (Proverbs 9:12).
If we turn to God—he will turn to us. He will turn his anger from us—and his face to us. It was David's prayer, "O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me" (Psalm 86:16). Our turning will make God turn: "Turn unto me, says the Lord—and I will turn unto you" (Zech. 1:3). He who was our enemy—will turn to be our friend. If God turns to us—the angels are turned to us. We shall have their tutelage and guardianship (Psalm 91:11). If God turns to us—all things shall turn to our good, both mercies and afflictions. We shall taste honey at the end of the afflicting rod.
Thus we have seen the several ingredients of repentance:
1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin