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

Abhoring Error and Loving the Truth

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By Horatius Bonar

“Our Reformers, following Scripture, abhorred error. They regarded it as sin, as in itself evil, and as the root of almost every evil. They loved truth, upheld it, sought to spread it. They eschewed error as poison; they prized truth as medicine, containing in it the world’s true health. They knew that men might have it and yet not use it, that they might abuse it, that they might ‘hold it in unrighteousness;’ but they loved it still, and refused to believe that any untruth, however beautiful, however well argued or well adorned, however recommended by authority, or antiquity, or genius, could be available for the revivification of collapsed prostrate Europe, for expelling the poison of ages from the veins of humanity, for bracing the constitution of the race, even apart from the great purpose of saving the lost, of gathering in the chosen of the Father, the purchased of the Son.

Our Reformers, working on the model of the Bible, laboured to set truth before the nations. They did not despise ‘head knowledge.’ They were careful that head knowledge should be true knowledge; and, in so far as it was so, they urged its widest propagation; undeterred by the thought which acts as a drag or damper on some, ‘What is the use of head knowledge without heart knowledge?’ They had confidence in truth, because it was of God, and because it was the representative of Him who is the wisdom and the truth of God. Continue reading

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (Narrative) – Jonathan Edwards

This sermon can go without any added words and a must listen to unregenerate sinners. Oh that God might bring salvation unto His elect, and be glorified. Oh sinner come to Christ while He is near and willing.

Judgement Of Unbelievers

Romans 1:18-19  –   For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

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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).

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Testing the Spirits

 By Prof. Johan Malan

Christians should be able to test all doctrine in creeds, sermons, books, articles, as well as statements made during discussions, to determine if they are a true reflection of Scriptural truth: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Every religious message has a spiritual dimension to it – either the Spirit of truth who wants to guide us into all truth (John 16:13), or Satan’s spirit of error who is intent on deceiving as many people as possible, also within churches (1 John 4:6; 2 Pet. 2:1-2).
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What is conviction of sin?

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled

“An Old-Fashioned Conversation,” delivered March 16, 1873.

The Lord shuts us up to hopelessness and helplessness in order that he may come, as a God of grace, and display his abounding mercy. All our hope lies in him, and all other hopes are delusions. The great work in conversion is not to make people better, so that they may come to God on a good footing, it is to strip them completely and lay them low, so that God may come to them when they are on a bad footing, or rather on no footing at all, but down in the dust at his feet. The Son of man is come to seek and to cave that which is lost, but it wants* God himself to convince men that they are lost; and the Spirit’s work of soul-humbling is just this – to get man to feel so diseased that he will accept the physician; to get him to feel so poor that he will accept the charity of heaven; to get him to know that he is so stripped, that he will no longer be proud of his fig leaves, but will be willing to take the robe of righteousness which Christ has wrought out.

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