The Right and Wrong Kind of Repentance

Are-your-repenting-the-wrong-wayFor Lord’s Day, December 6, 2015

Dear Saints,

Our weekly bulletin quotes from the Puritan William Secker’s, The Consistent Christian, have for a while now been contrasting godly repentance that preserves life (as in Peter’s case) with worldly repentance that ruins life (as in Judas’ case) having in view this verse: 

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of:
but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

The following article by Covenant Eyes is helpful in further exploring this distinction between godly and worldly sorrow; it especially shows us how to let our sins bring us closer to Christ rather than thrust us further away from Him: “Are You Repenting the Wrong Way?“.  Its author, Jon Snyder, writes:

Not only is this wrong repentance extremely emotionally unhealthy, but it actually produces more death and more sin.

Considering last week’s sermon on Leviticus 19:17, “It is Loving to Rebuke”, I encourage you to read Snyder’s article along with meditating on past and future bulletin quotes by William Secker about the difference between godly and worldly repentance and their respective ends.  And while you do, be concerned more with the cause of sin than its consequences — the venom of sin than its vengeances (as Secker put it).  That is, we need to grieve over our grieving the Holy Spirit while presuming upon Christ’s blood-bought grace — that attitude will bring us near to God.  But simply not wanting to be disciplined sends us running away from Christ, Who is the way, the truth, and the life.

Real repentance that gives and improves life is not defensive, but submissive.  It is not mad, but meek.  It does not pierce its eyes, but dilates its pupils.  It does not make a fist, but shakes a hand.  It does not talk back, but listens.  It does not deny, but considers.  It does not defy, but obeys.  It is not a wrinkled brow, but teary eyes.  It does not stiffen its neck and harden its heart, but leans forward and opens its ears.  Or as the Proverbs describe real repentants, they do not foolishly hate rebuking brothers, but wisely thank them.

May we all truly have repentance that leads unto life, as described by Westminster Shorter Catechism 87: 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 endeavour after, new obedience.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant