Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What does it really mean to REPENT?

Gospel repentance is a grace of God's Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed.... repentance is a spiritual medicine made up of six special ingredients:

1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin

If any one is left out it loses its virtue.

Ingredient I: Sight of Sin

It is the great thing noted in the prodigal's repentance: `he came to himself' (Luke 15.17). He saw himself a sinner and nothing but a sinner. Before a man can come to Christ he must first come to himself. Solomon, in his description of repentance, considers this as the first ingredient: `if they shall bethink themselves' (1 Kings 8.47). A man must first recognize and consider what his sin is, and know the plague of his heart before he can be duly humbled for it. The first creature God made was light. So the first thing in a penitent is illumination: `Now ye are light in the Lord' (Eph. 5.8). The eye is made both for seeing and weeping. Sin must first be seen before it can be wept for.

... where there is no sight of sin, there can be no repentance.

He knows not his own heart, nor what a hell he carries about him. Under a veil a deformed face is hid. Persons are veiled over with ignorance and self-love; therefore they see not what deformed souls they have. The devil does with them as the falconer with the hawk. He blinds them and carries them hooded to hell: `the sword shall be upon his right eye' (Zech. 11.17). Men have insight enough into worldly matters, but the eye of their mind is smitten. They do not see any evil in sin; the sword is upon their right eye.

Ingredient 2: Sorrow for Sin
I will be sorry for my sin (Psalm 38.18)

The Hebrew word `to be sorrowful' signifies `to have the soul, as it were, crucified'. This must be in true repentance.

This sorrow for sin is not superficial: it is a holy agony. It is called in scripture a breaking of the heart: `The sacrifices of God are a broken and a contrite heart' (Ps. 51.17)

(1) To make Christ precious.
(2) To drive out sin
(3) To make way for solid comfort

Ingredient 3: Confession of Sin

Confession is self-accusing...we must accuse ourselves... The humble sinner does more than accuse himself; he, as it were, sits in judgment and passes sentence upon himself. He confesses that he has deserved to be bound over to the wrath of God. And hear what the apostle Paul says: `if we would judge ourselves we should not be judged' (1 Cor. 11.31).

Excerpted from:
The Nature of Repentance by Thomas Watson

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