Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Repentance and remorse

Roy Ingle wrote a post on repentance recently that I had been meaning to comment on. He writes,
a mere recognition of sin is not enough to qualify as biblical repentance
and he goes on to list several examples from the Bible: Pharaoh, Balaam, Achan, King Saul, Judas. (I am not certain I agree concerning Ahab.)

This is important because repentance is not just a sense of sorrow, as important as that may be. Repentance means to turn away; to cease sinning and start behaving righteously.

We don't just need worldly sorrow for our actions, we need to repent: we need to cease sinning and instead walk in obedience to God. For the stubborn man rebuked several times will suddenly be destroyed (Proverbs 29:1).

4 comments:

  1. Although Jesus counseled us to forgive a brother for repeated sins 70X7 times. I doubt he was calling us to set a standard that surpassed God's.

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  2. SLW, I am not saying that we can out forgive God. I do think that if one sins repeatedly and doesn't repent he becomes hardened to God's conviction. I think it is possible over time to eventually come to a point where one rejects God's grace.

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    Replies
    1. What if one sins repeatedly and does repent each time, that seems to be the force of Jesus 70X7 teaching? I do think sin torpedoes faith, and repeated enough callously (that is without remorse or the desire to do other) stands the possibility of so undermining faith as to ultimately dissolve it. I guess the issue for me is how does a human gauge the true repentance of the heart? Not doing the same thing again is one measure, I just don't see how it can be applied to every circumstance. For instance, a believer may come under conviction for smoking cigarettes, such as that for him or her it is sin. Quitting can be difficult, fraught with relapses and regrets. As long as that "former" smoker stays engaged in the effort to turn away from smoking, I don't see how his or her relapses could ever rise to the level of being the straw that broke the camel's back.

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  3. I agree. I didn't take Roy's comment to be used by others to judge, rather used by ourselves to remind us what God wants. We need to know God desires repentance, not a say "sorry" but I can live my life as I want attitude, or a regret but without turning back to God.

    I agree that habitual sin can be hard to break. I know men who were saved who were delivered immediately from one sin, such as misuse of alcohol, though struggled to quit smoking for some time.

    With regard to habitual sin, I think that focus on ourselves (our failings) can lead to despair with minimal change in behaviour. I think it better to confess briefly but focus on thanking God for his grace wherever it finds you; ie. thank God that he still draws you back to him despite your temptations and, when relevant, your failings.

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