Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Saturday, March 5, 2016

False repentance

Many think they repent when it is not the offence — but the penalty which troubles them; not the treason — but the blood-axe. Some think they repent when they shed a few tears, as Saul did for his unkindness to David, "And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. And he said to David . . . you have rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded you evil" (1 Sam. 24:16, 17). But for all this, he follows David again.
Just so, men can lift up their voice and weep for sins — yet follow their sins again. Others forsake their sin — but still retain their love for it in their hearts, like the snake that casts the coat, but keeps the sting!
"Blessed are those who mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). We must go through the valley of tears, to Paradise. Mourning would be a sad subject to treat on — were it not that it has blessedness going before, and comfort coming after.
There is a mourning that is far from making one blessed. Many can weep over a dead child, who cannot mourn over a crucified Savior. Worldly sorrows hasten our funerals. The sorrow of the world works death (2 Corinthians 7:10).
There is a despairing kind of mourning; such was Judas' mourning: he saw his sin, he was sorry, he justified Christ, he made restitution. Judas, who is in Hell, did more than many nowadays! Well, wherein was Judas' sorrow blameworthy? It was a mourning joined with despair; he thought his wound broader than the plaster; his was not "repentance unto life" (Acts 11:18) — but rather unto death.
There is a hypocritical mourning: the heart is very deceitful, it can betray as well as by a tear, as by a kiss! Saul looks like a mourner, and as he was sometimes among the prophets (1 Sam. 10:12), so he seemed to be among the penitents, "And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord" (1 Sam. 15:24). Saul did play the hypocrite in his mourning; for he did not take shame to himself — but he did rather take honor to himself. "Honor me before the elders of the people." How easy it is for a man to put a cheat upon his soul, and by hypocrisy to weep himself into Hell.
There is a forced mourning when tears are forced out by God's judgments. Such was Cain's mourning: "My punishment is greater than I can bear!" (Genesis 4:13). His punishment troubled him more than his sin. To mourn only for the fear of Hell, is like a thief who weeps for the penalty, rather than the offence. A sinner mourns because judgment follows at the heel of sin; but David cries out, "My sin is ever before me" (Psalm 51:3). The prodigal says, "I have sinned against Heaven, and before you." He does not say, "I am almost starved among the husks!" "but I have offended my Father!"
It is an excellent saying of Augustine, "He truly bewails the sins he has committed — who never again commits the sins he has bewailed."
A child of God will confess sin in particular; an unsound Christian will confess sin by wholesale. He will acknowledge that he is a sinner in general; whereas David does, as it were, point with his finger to the sore (Psalm 51:4): "I have done this evil"; he does not say, I have done evil — but this evil.
Thomas Watson
To die is to be but once done — and after death there is nothing to be done. If you die in your impenitency, there is no repenting in the grave. If you leave your work at death half done, there is no finishing it in the grave (Eccles. 9:10) "There is no work, nor device, nor wisdom in the grave where you go."
God has given you two eyes, if you lose one, you have another; but you have but one soul, and if you are robbed of that, you are undone forever!
The grave buries all a sinner's joy. They have a short feast — but a long reckoning. The time being short, the sinning time cannot be long.
Sinners, the time is shortly coming when the drawbridge of mercy will be quite pulled up. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" (Ecc. 8:11). God forbears punishing, therefore men forbear repenting. God is not only gracious — but He waits to be gracious (Isaiah 30:18). But though men will not set bounds to their sin — yet God sets bounds to His patience. God says, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man." The angel cried, "the hour of His judgment has come!" (Rev. 14:7).
If Felix trembled when Paul preached of judgment (Acts 24:25), how will sinners tremble when they shall see Christ come to judgment!

If God lets men prosper awhile in their sin, His vial of wrath is all this while filling — His sword is all this time whetting. And though God may forbear men a while — yet long forbearance is no forgivenessThe longer God is in taking His blow, the heavier it will be at last. As long as there is eternity, God has time enough to reckon with His enemies!

3 comments:

Darrel said...

Esau was another who feigned at repentance. Heb. 12:16 calls him a 'profane person' meaning a godless man, like so many of today's church members who are more concerned with the consequences of their actions (they won't even call it 'sin') and try to beg-off on their "years of faithful service" as their 'out' for skirting by any penalty. These are just as profane and godless as Esau. For Esau repentance was the restoration of his birthright that he had sold for "one morsel of food" and had nothing to do with the fact that he had sinned against the God he claimed to love and serve. He had done harm to himself was all that he could see. It never entered his mind/heart that he had hurt God (in the sense that he had sinned against Him), he never fell humbly before God to seek mercy and forgiveness, only the restoration of his now worthless birthright. All of the posturing before men in some controlled display of fraudulent repentance is a mockery of God, His mercy, His forbearance, and His righteous judgment. Gone is a broken heart, a contrite spirit, and the laying down of sins before the only Holy God. Since no one (maybe a few) preaches against sin there is no need of repentance to be spoken of either and certainly not the view of repentance given in the Word (it is a gift, just like grace and faith). May the Lord help us to be broken because of our sins.

Susan said...

So true about false repentance. I have listened this week to a few Jacob Prasch sermons, and although there are some points I do not fully agree with him on, one point he made that was hard hitting was how convincing Judas was in his act that all the disciples, even Peter and John, were completely fooled by him, but Jesus was never fooled. Thank the Lord that He died in our place on the cross, my own cross is too heavy for me to bear, He has lovingly born it for me and substituted His righteous life for my filthy one. Thank the Lord for His mercy and grace.

lyn said...

How sad but true Darrel, yes, may the Lord help us to be broken. Flippant attitudes run rampant in the visible 'church'.


Amen Susan, I was just discussing this with a dear sister. Thank God Christ has paid it ALL, completely, fully.
I read an obituary of a man who passed away in my town. He was a 'life long' member of the Lutheran church, he was 'baptized and confirmed', and he was a 'leader' of the congregation. In other words, look at all his 'good works'! We can add NOTHING to the finished work of Christ, and if anyone does, then Christ is no longer their Savior, for they become a 'co-redemptor'. We know such a thing is unbiblical and we praise God for discernment. May we add nothing to the finished work of Christ and His glorious Gospel!