REPENTANCE: Legal vs. True

Repentance

Grant Swart

If our forgiveness was dependent on what we as sinners could do (or refrain from doing), in order to repent, who would be so bold as to claim that they could achieve it sufficiently as to gain recognition by a perfectly Holy God? Is repentance something we can and should do in order to be saved, or is repentance a gift granted to those who are saved by God?

All too often one hears the instruction issuing forth from religious zealots: “You must repent, you must turn from your sin, you must turn to God, or…!”. In my country, as I suppose it is in many others, many will-worshipping churches have coined a new favourite phrase: “Turn or burn!”, and in some Afrikaans congregations the translated phrase, “Draai of braai”, is bandied about with even more self-righteous enthusiasm. As if it were simply up to the listener to do the turning, and God will have no choice but to accept those who turn!

Those who do not have Christ, hear these warnings and are left terrified by their own inability to do what the preacher expects of them. They have heard the stern instructions, but have no understanding of it, no idea of where to start, or how to go about this seemingly impossible task. How can they turn to God when they do not know Him, do not know where He is, or who He is? How could they possibly repent without God’s help and without the guidance of His Holy Spirit? Continue reading

Advertisements

Repentance : Legal vs True

by James C. Heard

Repentance is an old-fashioned word, not much used by the modernists and liberals of our day. True repentance and true belief are inseparable. True repentance and true faith are the products of a quick­ened heart – a work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Spiritual life must precede spiritual acts.

Legal repentance is that regret and reluctance that arises in a person after having done something that they should not have done. This repentance arises from a fear of punishment denounced against sin, but it is not accompanied with the hatred of sin and self. This person may be sorry for that which has been com­mitted, but will not be grieved that they have offended a HOLY GOD. Legal repentance fears Hell and dreads punishment, for criminals are always sorry that they face punishment (however, sorrow itself is not true repentance).

Continue reading