Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation.
Chapter 15, Paragraph 3.
“This saving Repentance is an evangelical Grace, whereby a person being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by Faith in Christ, humble himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self abhorrency; praying for pardon, and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavor by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well pleasing in all things.”
2 Corinthians 7:11
What does godly repentance look like? Is it merely feeling sorry? Is it perpetual guilt? While the word “repent” is despised by the world, the multi-faceted act of repentance is a healing, restorative grace given by God. Let’s explore what repentance entails:
- Repentance is a grace of God. We do not have to muster up repentance. That said, if you know you have sinned, then you know your duty is to confess and repent of that sin. Do not continue in your sin because you feel you haven’t been granted repentance!
- Repentance is realization. You are made aware of your sin. The first step of repentance is to realize and acknowledge that you have sinned.
- Repentance requires reflection. Humbleness, godly sorrow, detestation, and self-abhorrence are part of repentance. Our sin has its origin in the inner man (Matthew 12:34), and so our repentance starts within as well. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
- Repentance relies on the grace and mercy of God. The penitent woman does not simply try harder next time to avoid sin. Rather, she seeks forgiveness from God and asks for strength from the Holy Spirit to resist temptation.
- Repentance resumes running. The one who repents does not stay wallowing in remorse, but rejoices in the cleansing sacrifice of the Savior. She gets back on track running the race set before her, her eyes set on Jesus, the Author and perfecter of her faith.
We see, then, that repentance is not only a feeling. It is not a dour attitude, not is it living with constant guilt. Assent of sin, sorrow for it, prayer for pardon and mercy, supplication for strength, and resolve to walk in a manner worthy of our calling are all encompassed in repentance. Do not avoid repentance, then, but make great use of it.
Questions to Consider
- How has the world’s view of repentance affected your understanding of it?