Thursday, April 3, 2014

Features of True Repentance


SO THEY WENT OUT AND PROCLAIMED THAT PEOPLE SHOULD REPENT (MK 6:12)
Paul's first message was, "That they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance (Acts 26: 20). It is a great duty upon all sinners to repent and turn to God: " Repent therefore, and be converted that your sins be blotted out. (Acts 3:19). "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mathew 3:2)..... there is no being saved without repentance.
 In Adam, we all drowned into the dead sea of sin and repentance is the only straw left for us to hang on to swim to the shore..... The first sermon that Christ preached and indeed, the first word of his sermon  was "repent"  (Mathew 4:17)...... the farewell message that Christ conveyed before He ascended was that repentance should be preached in his name. (Luke 24:47)...... The apostles took the cue from him, their master: "They went out and preached that men should repent" (Mark 6: 12).
Repentance signifies the gospel of grace...... the covenant of works had no place for repentance. There it was, sin and die....... Christ has purchased in His blood those who repent should be forgiven........ the law pronounced a curse upon all those who did not come to this obedience. "Cursed is everyone that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Galatians 3:10).

FEATURES OF COUNTERFEIT REPENTANCE
Mental trouble: A man who has lived in his sins for long may come to a point where he faces the legal consequences of his lifestyle...... He may feel terrified and have his conscience disturbed.....at this point he may feel bitter about his many sins, yet this is not repentance. Ahab and Judas had similar feelings,..... it is one thing to be terrified sinners and another thing to be a repentant sinner...... repentance depends upon the change of heart,..... there may be anguish, pain and trouble, yet if there is no change of heart, there is no repentance.
Resolution to reform: A person may make resolutions, vows when he is on a sick bed,...... yet if God recovers him he would be as bad as ever...... man's extremity may push him to make resolutions against sins not because sin is sinful but because sin is painful..... Once the pain is removed, the resolution vanishes...... A man may also for fear of death or punishment  of hell resolve to leave sin..... such reactions is as a result of self-love..... for sin will prevail against it,...... it is raised in a storm and it will die when calm is restored.
Leaving many sins: Sin is so dear to the sinners that a man will easily part with his own child than with lust or drunkenness....... A sin may be left not because of the power of grace but because of prudence. A man may see that though this sin may be for his present pleasure, it may not be for his long term interest...... It may deny him profit in trade, impair his health or render him useless inn society therefore he desires to cut off that sin.

FEATURES OF TRUE REPENTANCE
Repentance is a grace of God's spirit where a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed.
1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin
1. Sight of sin
The first thing noted in the prodigal son's repentance was, "He came to himself" (Luke 15:17). This means he saw himself a sinner and nothing but a sinner. Sin must first be seen before it can be wept for........ a man has great insight concerning worldly subjects but the eye of their heart is blind....... they do not see any evil in sin..... such people are in fact ignorant of themselves...... they do not know the condition of their hearts and the deformed souls they carry...... they are deceived all the time that they have good hearts unless or until they come to themselves.
2. Sorrow for sin
Sorrowing implies embittering of the soul or the soul being crucified. (Psalms 38:18), (Zechariah 12:10). This sorrow for sin is not superficial, it is a holy agony. It is called in Scripture, "A breaking of the heart," (Psalms 51:17).......a rending of the heart (Joe 2:13),....... Smiting on the thigh (Jeremiah 31:19)...... beating on the breast....... plucking off the hair (Ezra 9:3). Christ would be precious and desirable if you have a troubled soul. A surgeon is so much welcome to a patient who  is bleeding from his wounds.
The tears that draws from a repentant heart shall certainly cure the of leprosy for sin.....Godly sorrow is sorrow of the heart. The sorrow of hypocrites lie in their faces: "They disfigure their faces" (Mathew 6:16) Godly sorrow goes as the heart bleeds for sin: They were pricked in their heart (acts 2:37)...... as the heart  plays the significant role in sinning so it must in sorrowing for sins.
Godly sorrow is for heart sins....... the true repentant weeps for the stirring of pride, lust, anger etc. He grieves from the root of bitterness.... even if it doesn't  blossom into action...... A wicked man may be troubled for scandalous sins: A Christian laments about heart sins.
Godly sorrow is ingenious...... It is sorrowful for the offence rather to the punishment. The fact that God's law has been broken and his love abused, melts a penitent soul into tears...... A thief may be sorry when he is captured, not because he broke God's law but because he is going to be punished........ Hypocrites only grieve for the bitter consequences of their sins. Their eyes never pour out tears unless when God's judgment is approaching........ Pharaoh was more troubled for the frogs and river of blood than for his sins.......................................................................................................................................
Godly sorrow whoever is specifically for trespassing against God, so that even if there was no police to arrest, no court to sentence, no prison to jail or no hell to punish, " My sin is ever before me" (Psalms 51:3)....... Although he is out of reach of the pangs of hell, and shall never be damned, yet he still mourns for sinning against that free grace that pardoned him.
Godly sorrow is trustful.... if there are not some signs of faith in the soul, this is not the sorrow of humiliation but of despair.....Godly sorrow is punctuated by restitution....... Those who have wronged others through unjust dealings ought to recompense them: "If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation I restore him fourfold" (Luke 19:8).
Godly sorrow is habitual....... is not a few tears shed in excitement..... the disease is chronic and frequently returns upon man.
3. Confession of sin
Sorrow for sin vents itself at the eyes by weeping and at the tongue by confession. (Nehemiah 9:2) (Hosea 5:15). Confession is self-accusing,....... we accuse one another before God in our daily lives..... repenting men accuse themselves....... The humble sinner sits in judgment, as it were, accusing himself and passing a sentence against himself........ He confesses that he deserves to be bound  and thrown into hell.
Confession must be flowing freely. .......The prodigal son charged himself with sin before his father charged, "I have sinned against heaven and before the earth" Luke 15:18.
Confession must be with compunction/impact; True confession leaves heart wounding impressions on a man........ It is one thing to confess sin and another thing to feel sin.
4. Shame for sin
Blushing is the colour of virtue.... when the heart has been darkened by sin, grace brightens the face with blushing: "That they may be ashamed of their iniquities (Ezekiel 43:10)" I am ashamed and blushed to lift up my face" (Ezra 9:6)...... The repenting prodigal son was so ashamed of his foolishness of sin that he found himself not to be worthy to be called a son anymore (Luke 15:21)...... repentance causes a hole causes much shame to the sinners....... Sin is a sign of unthankfulness to which even God himself stands amazed; "Hear O heavens and give ear O earth; I have nourished and brought up children and they have repealed against me" (Isaiah 1:2)
Sin has stripped us of our white linen of holiness and made us naked and deformed in God's sight.... causes us great shame. Sin turns men into beasts (Psalms 49:12)...... Sinners are compared to foxes (2nd Peter 2:22)....wolves (Mat 7:15).....asses (Job 11:12).....pigs (11 Pet 2:22)...... he who was once more or less than the angels has now become like the beats...... the natural man acts beastly: "they do not act wisely but are carried away by the violence of their lust and passion.
5. Hatred of sin
There should be nauseating and loathing and detestation of sin in everyone who claims to follow Christ ........... Even though the devil may cook sin with delicacies and dress it up with pleasure and profit, a true repentant will abhor and be disgusted by it...... the dislike of sin is not only in the judgment but also in the will and affections....... he who hates sin hates all sin, gainful sins, complex sin, scandalous sins, secret sins etc......A holy heart detests sin for its intrinsic pollution...... sin leaves a stain upon the soul.
6. Turning from sin
"Repent and turn yourselves from your idols: and turn away your faces from all your abominations" (Ezekiel 14:6) Dying to sin is the life to repentance....... the everyday a sinner turns from sin, he must begin a life of continual turning,...... the eye must break away from impure glances,..... the ear must break away from gossip,...... the tongue must break away from lies,..... the hand from bribes,..... the feet from the paths of prostitutes and the soul from the love of wickedness..... This turning from sin implies a remarkable change....... it demonstrates that Christ has changed sinners from darkness to light. (Ephesians 5:8).
Turning from all the heart and from all sin, the turning from sin must be from a spiritual ground,..... it must be a turning unto God (Acts 26:20)..... and it must be a turning that has no return...... 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" (Psalms 86:16)..... Our turning will make God turn; "Turn ye unto me says the Lord, and I will turn unto your" (Zachariah 1:3)..... If God turns to us, all things shall turn to good mercies and affection we shall test the end of the road


This is a sermon preached on 26th January 2014, by Sakwa Buliba, A Deacon at Trinity Baptist Church, Nairobi and the Secretary of International Governance Institute

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