THE LORD IS NOT SLOW ABOUT HIS PROMISE
AS SOME COUNT SLOWNESS: ou bradunei (3SPAInd) kurios
tes epaggalias hos tines braduteta hegountai (3PPMI): (Isa
46:13; Hab 2:3; Lk 18:7,8; Heb 10:37)
Peter moves from
the timelessness of God to the tenderness of God.
Peter does not dispute the
mocker's claim that the Second Coming had been delayed. He uses the
delay as an opportunity to explain that another reason the
Lord’s return seems to be so long in coming is that God wants as many
people to be saved as possible.
(1019) (braduno) means to tarry, loiter, delay, be tardy or delayed beyond the
expected or proper time. Note what God is "slow" in
regard to in [Ps 86:15 Is 30:18].
The KJV says
God is not "slack" a state characterized by slowness,
sluggishness, or lack of energy - none of those apply to God.
God’s so-called “tardiness” as viewed by some people (as some count
slowness) is only a delay with respect to their time schedules, not
Not is the Greek word "ou" which is the absolute form of
negation, so what Peter is saying is that "slowness" or "slackness" is absolutely not part of God's actions. His delay is due neither to
indifference or inability to perform. God waits but is never slow, never
late for it is always within His power to fulfill His promise as He sees
fit. As discussed in the
preceding verse, God's "timepiece" is eternity so He sees things
differently than man in regard to what is "slow".
God’s delay in fulfilling His promise is not, like men’s delays, owing
to inability or fickleness in keeping His word, but is
related to His attribute of
longsuffering toward sinners.
Illustration - God is
longsuffering. Men are not. We prefer to rush to judgment. Irving
Stone's classic history of the American West, "Men to Match My
Mountains," contains a passage on early justice. During the Gold Rush,
San Francisco had a rash of crime. It got to the point where the police
were more corrupt than the criminals. So in 1851 a group of concerned
citizens formed a "Vigilance Committee." The word "vigilante" is derived
from it. It was not just a lynch mob. They elected Sam Brannan as
president, drew up a constitution and set up parliamentary rules. Only
responsible citizens were allowed to join and they only acted in
emergencies when the law was ineffective. The first official act of the
group was to arrest John Jenkins, who had stolen a safe and dropped it
into a boat. Tried in Brannan's office before a committee jury, Jenkins
was declared guilty. An 1851 law said that grand larceny was punishable
by death. But most of the committee seemed reluctant to hang someone for
only stealing a safe. A this point William Howard threw his cap
disgustedly on the table and cried: "Gentlemen, as I understand it, we
came here to hang somebody!" So that's exactly what they did. If God
acted like this, where would you be right now?
(epaggelia from epaggello = to
announce that one is about to do or furnish something from epi =
upon, intensifies meaning + aggelos = messenger or aggello
= to tell or declare) is
a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something
specified. It is also a legally binding declaration that gives the
person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance
or forbearance of a specified act.
Epaggelia - 52x in 50v - Luke
24:49; Acts 1:4; 2:33, 39; 7:17; 13:23, 32; 23:21; 26:6; Rom 4:13, 14,
16, 20; 9:4, 8, 9; 15:8; 2 Cor 1:20; 7:1; Gal 3:14, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22,
29; 4:23, 28; Eph 1:13; 2:12; 3:6; 6:2; 1Ti 4:8; 2Ti 1:1; Heb 4:1; 6:12,
15, 17; 7:6; 8:6; 9:15; 10:36; 11:9, 13, 17, 33, 39; 2Pet 3:4, 9; 1Jn
Epaggelia is used primarily of the
promises of God. God has promised to end the history of ungodly men with judgment but the
other truth about God is that He has always been longsuffering toward
woeful, wicked sinners desiring their repentance. If there seems to be
delay, it is not because God is unfaithful to His promise.
indicates that delaying was being ascribed to the Lord by "some"
(tines = "certain ones"), who in context could
refer to the mockers or could include believers who had been "infected"
by the skeptical propaganda of the scoffers. Clearly Peter desires that
any of his readers who might be confused by the Lord's delay, should not
succumb to the spirit of doubting.
[word study]) means to consider and give careful thought, not
making a quick decision. It was a
mathematical term conveying the idea of thinking about
something and coming to a conclusion. In other words, one leads their mind
through a reasoning process and arrives at a conclusion. Some had
carefully considered the facts but "their math was bad" and they
had come to an incorrect conclusion
regarding the Lord's delay.
Peter undoubtedly recalls His
Lord's parting words that...
It is not for you to know times or
seasons which the Father has put in His own authority (Acts 1:7).
Jesus Himself had also said
But of that day and hour no one
knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only (Matt.
BUT IS PATIENT TOWARD YOU: alla makrothumei (3SPAI) eis humas:
(2Pe 3:15; Ex 34:6; Ps 86:15; Is 30:18; Ro 9:22; 1Ti 1:16; 1Pe 3:20)
C H Spurgeon
While I have prayed, "Come quickly,"
I have often felt inclined to contradict myself and cry, "Yet tarry for
a while, good Lord. Let mercy's day be lengthened. Let the heathen yet
receive the Savior." We may desire the coming of the Lord, but we ought
also to be in sympathy with the tarrying of the Most High, to which his
loving heart inclines him.
(235) (alla) introduces contrast (see discussion on
terms of contrast in the observation phase of Inductive Bible
Study) and when used after a
negative statement ("not slow") marks a direct, even emphatic
antithesis and can be translated "but, but rather, but on the
short, in this verse but introduces the contrasting reality that
God's deliberate delaying action has a wonderfully benevolent purpose.
the readers that they (and we) themselves have experienced this fact of
His loving patience.
(makrothumeo from makrós = long + thumós = wrath, anger) (See
also word study of noun
makrothumia) (See God's attribute
longsuffering) means to have "a long fuse", to be
longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish, to exhibit self-restraint
in the face of provocation, not to retaliate, to bear the offenses and
injuries of others, to be mild and slow in avenging.
- 10x in 9v - Matt 18:26, 29; Luke 18:7; 1 Cor 13:4; 1 Thess 5:14; Heb
6:15; Jas 5:7f; 2 Pet 3:9. NAS = delay long(1), have patience(2),
patient(6), patiently waited(1).
Being slow to anger
does not mean that God does not care but that He has His "emotions under
present tense of
makrothumeo characterizes God as
continually exercising restraint in the face of provocation so that He
does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish, but that He continues to
show mercy toward the guilty.
Paul describes the related noun
makrothumia as one of the aspects of the fruit of the Holy
Spirit in a believer's life (Gal 5:22-note).
Chrysostom an early
church father said makrothumeo
“is a word which is used of the man
who is wronged and who has it easily in his power to avenge himself but
will never do it.” (cf. Nu 14:18)
God waits for men to be
saved and exhibits an immense capacity for patience before He breaks forth
in judgment (Joel 2:13; Lk 15:20).
God endures endless blasphemies
against His name, along with rebellion, murders, and the ongoing
breaking of His law, waiting patiently while He is calling and redeeming
His own. It is not impotence or slackness that delays final judgment but
it is His attribute of
patience. This attribute of God is reflected in His ability to be
inconvenienced or taken advantage of by a person over and over again and
yet not manifest anger! Amazing love and grace from an amazing God.
God's "longsuffering" was behind His delaying the Genesis
Flood for 120 years,
of God kept waiting in the days of Noah during the construction of the
ark in which a few, that is eight persons, were brought safely through
the water" (1Peter 3:20-note)
God was not blind to the violence and wickedness of man (Gen
which justifiably would have warranted His immediate judgment and yet He
held back His wrath, instead sending the evildoers Noah a “preacher of
righteousness.” (2Peter 2:5-note).
In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, God patiently waited while Abraham
interceded for the cities and He would have spared them had He found ten
righteous people in Sodom (Gen 18:23-33).
longsuffering that manifested itself in the days before the world's
cataclysmic destruction by water and the local destruction of Sodom and
Gomorrah by fire and brimstone, is still manifest today as God holds off
the coming destruction of the universe by an all consuming
It is worth noting that
God revealed this same long-suffering in the years before the Flood
(1Pe 3:20-note cf
He saw the violence and wickedness of man and could have judged the
world immediately; yet He held back.
The day of the Lord
is a familiar Old Testament image for the ultimate day of God’s
judgment, His final day in court when He settles the injustices of the
world. From the
above Scriptural references (and others) one can piece together the
following portrait of the Day of the Lord.
R E Showers
The Day of the Lord refers to
God’s special interventions into the course of world events to judge His
enemies, accomplish His purpose for history, and thereby demonstrate who
He is—the sovereign God of the universe. (R
Maranatha, Our Lord Come
Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995, 38)
Even a cursory study indicates that this day
is not a reference to a single 24 day but to an extended period
of time as will be explained below.
When does this
You will read
descriptions in some commentaries that state the Day of the Lord begins with the
of the church (so-called "pre-trib rapture") (1Th
4:13, 14, 15,1 6, 17, 18-see
the event which most evangelicals feel immediately precedes the last
seven years of
Seventy Weeks of Daniel,
and is popularly known as the "Tribulation", although nowhere in
Scripture is this seventieth week of 7 years actually specifically
designated "the tribulation" (let me know if you find a passage that
contradicts this conclusion - remember that "the Great Tribulation" only
refers to the last three and one-half years of this seven year period).
According to Paul
the "Day of the LORD" begins after the man of lawlessness
(antichrist) (read 2Th 2:2,2:3, 2:4) takes his seat and desecrates the
rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Jesus referred to this dramatic
event as the "Abomination of Desolation" (cf
Daniel 9:27 see
Daniel's Seventieth Week)
which marks the beginning of the last 3.5 years of Daniel's
Seventieth Week (Daniel 9:27-note), a period
Jesus called the
Great Tribulation (Mt
which is synonymous with the "Time of Jacob's Distress" (Jer
For more in depth study of this last 7 year period see the links
Verse by Verse commentary -
Daniel 9:24-27: Introductory Comments
Daniel 9:24-27: Part 1: Notes on verses 24-25
Daniel 9:24-27: Part 2: Notes on verses 26-27
Summary Chart of Daniel's Seventieth Week
See also lectures on Da 9:24-27:
See related discussion on the Day
of the Lord
See Offsite discussion on the
of the Lord
So if the Day
of the Lord does not begin with the rapture of the church, when does it
begin? A more likely beginning for the Day of the Lord is at the midpoint of the 7 Year period
of Daniel (compare Da 9:27-note and
The events that take place during this 7 year period ("Tribulation")
are described in great detail in Revelation (especially chapters
click for over 25 lectures on
Peter describes the Day of the Lord
as a fiery conflagration of the heavens and earth, an event the would follow the 1000 year reign of Christ
which would correlate with the unique time/space description by John in
that the "earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them".
Then comes the Great White Throne judgment, followed by "a new heaven
heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed
away" (Rev 21:1-note).
comments on Revelation 20:11 noting that...
Jesus had predicted that God’s word
would outlast the first heavens and earth: “Heaven and earth will pass
away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Mt 24:35). The first
heavens and first earth were preserved by God’s word for a time, but now
the time has come for their judgment by fire and the perdition of
ungodly men (2Pe 3:7). This marks the end of the period of The Day of
(In his commentary on Revelation
21:1 Garland adds) The conjunction, now (kai), connects what follows
with the previous chapter. The creation of the new heaven and new earth
is in response to the destruction of the previous heaven and earth which
fled away and gave up the dead (Re 20:11)...The restorative work prior
to the Millennial Kingdom was a regeneration (Mt 19:28), not an entirely
new created order as here. This is demonstrated by the fact that after
the Millennial Kingdom (Re 20:4, 5, 6), the earth and sea still
contained all the unsaved dead of history. Although the millennial earth
was renovated in order to recover from the judgments of the Tribulation
and to restore Eden-like conditions, sin and death remained and the
earth, in one sense, remained unclean. In the conflagration of
the first heaven and earth, sin and death are completely purged from the
created order (Re 20:14).
It was revealed to the OT prophets that the first heavens and earth
would perish (Ps. 102:25, 26; Isa. 51:6) and be replaced by a new
heavens and earth (Isa. 65:17, 18, 19, 20) There is nothing in this
passage of Isaiah which states that the new heavens and earth must
precede the Millennium. It merely states that as the new creation will
endure before God, so shall the faithful of Israel continue. (A
Testimony of Jesus Christ - Revelation 21:1)
FOR ANY TO PERISH: me boulomenos (PPPMSN) tiapolesthai (AMN):
(Isa 55:1; Ezek 18:23. 32; 33:11, Mt 11:28; Lk 13:3; Rev 22:17)
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD longs
to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion
on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who
long for Him.
[word study]) expresses more strongly
than thelo the deliberate exercise of one's will. (present
has an interesting thought on the will of God (but be a Berean as
this categorization is somewhat strained in my opinion)...
Three aspects of the will of God may
be observed in Scripture:
(1) the sovereign will of God (Isa
46:9, 10, 11; Da 4:17,35; Heb 2:4; Rev 17:17);
(2) the moral will of God, i.e. His
moral law (Mk 3:35; Eph 6:6; He 13:21); and
(3) the desires of God coming from
His heart of love (Ezek 33:11; Mt 23:37; 2Pet 3:9).
The sovereign will of God is certain
of complete fulfillment, but the moral law is disobeyed by men, and the
desires of God are fulfilled only to the extent that they are included
in His sovereign will. God does not desire that any should perish, but
it is clear that many will not be saved (Rev 21:8).
Boulomai expresses also
the inward predisposition and bent from which active volition proceeds;
hence it is never used of evil people.
Boulomai denotes the unconscious
willing or an inner decision or thinking while thelo indicates conscious
willing and denotes a more active resolution urging on to action.
scoffers did not understand God’s
eternality nor did they understand His
God's "wish" for mankind is the
motive for His longsuffering.
Note that not
not refer to the ultimate determining will of God but
rather to His standing wish or desire for
mankind. In other words (but
it still might seem confusing) boulomai has reference to God's disposition or His nature
rather than to a specific act or plan. It is not God’s
considered will that any should perish. On one side we have the
clear teaching of the
sovereignty of God
and on the other hand, the indisputable truth concerning the free will of man. God will not violate man’s
free will. While it is
His considered will (standing wish or desire) that no one should be lost, yet in making man in His
image He necessarily had to make him a free moral agent, with a will
which is able to say “yes” and “no” to Him. While God is always willing
to save man, man is not always willing to be saved. Don't be
confused by this section -- God's "wishing" here does not express a
decree (determining will), as if God has willed everyone to be saved. Universal salvation
is not taught in the Bible. Instead those words describe God’s standing wish or
desire which is that He longs that all would be saved (1Ti 2:4)
but knows that many reject Him, again leaving open the possibility of
human freedom of choice.
from apo = away from +
olethros = state of utter ruin) means destruction but not
annihilation and has to do with that which is ruined and is no longer
usable for its intended purpose.
Apollumi is not the loss of being, but
of well-being and in the present context indicates eternal separation from God
Himself. To perish
spiritually is to be forever lost.
Apollumi - 90x in 84v - Matt 2:13;
5:29f; 8:25; 9:17; 10:6, 28, 39, 42; 12:14; 15:24; 16:25; 18:14; 21:41;
22:7; 26:52; 27:20; Mark 1:24; 2:22; 3:6; 4:38; 8:35; 9:22, 41; 11:18;
12:9; Luke 4:34; 5:37; 6:9; 8:24; 9:24f; 11:51; 13:3, 5, 33; 15:4, 6,
8f, 17, 24, 32; 17:27, 29, 33; 19:10, 47; 20:16; 21:18; John 3:16; 6:12,
27, 39; 10:10, 28; 11:50; 12:25; 17:12; 18:9; Acts 5:37; 27:34; Rom
2:12; 14:15; 1 Cor 1:18f; 8:11; 10:9f; 15:18; 2 Cor 2:15; 4:3, 9; 2
Thess 2:10; Heb 1:11; Jas 1:11; 4:12; 1 Pet 1:7; 2 Pet 3:6, 9; 2 John
1:8; Jude 1:5, 11; Rev 18:14. NAS = bring(1), destroy(17),
destroyed(9), dying(1), end(1), killed(1), lose(10), loses(7), lost(14),
much(1), passed away(1), perish(14), perishable(1), perished(4),
perishes(1), perishing(6), put to death(1), ruined(3).
Note the little word "any"
(Greek word tis = someone, certain one & in the plural
here = "certain ones") which is the so-called "individualizing
plural" which speaks of God's desire for men individually (to not
perish), and is not a generalization about certain groups or classes of
people. Clearly God is personally intimately concerned for every
individual person, whether they accept or refuse His gracious offer of
salvation by grace and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ's propitiatory
that which satisfied the wrath of Holy God) death in their place. Peter
knew as we today also know all too painfully, that many individuals will
perish into a Christ-less eternity, but Peter's point is that this
egregious end is not God's personal desire for them. The cause of their
perishing lies not in God but in each individual's stubborn and
rebellious rejection of redemption offered by faith in Christ.
heart on this issue is clearly revealed by the prophet Ezekiel who
quoted Jehovah as follows:
'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure
in the death of the wicked,
that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from
your evil ways!"
(Ezekiel 33:11 see also Ezekiel 18:23)
33:32) God says
I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord
Paul unveils the Father's heart as the One
all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (Note:
Association between coming to a true knowledge of truth and salvation).
And so contrary to popular opinion of many who are misinformed
concerning the character of God, His heart in both the Old and New
Testaments is that not one man would perish but that all would come to
repentance. And so He holds back His had of righteous judgment.
John Calvin comments on Not willing that any should
perish writing that
So wonderful is His love towards mankind, that He would have them all to
be saved, and is of His own self prepared to bestow salvation on the
He Was Not Willing
“He was not willing that any should perish”;
Jesus enthroned in the glory above,
Saw our poor fallen world, pitied our sorrows,
Poured out His life for us, wonderful love!
Perishing, perishing! Thronging our pathway,
Hearts break with burdens too heavy to bear:
Jesus would save, but there’s no one to tell them,
No one to lift them from sin and despair.
“He was not willing that any should perish”;
Clothed in our flesh with its sorrow and pain,
Came He to seek the lost, comfort the mourner,
Heal the heart broken by sorrow and shame.
Perishing, perishing! Harvest is passing,
Reapers are few and the night draweth near:
Jesus is calling thee, haste to the reaping,
Thou shalt have souls, precious souls for thy hire.
Plenty for pleasure, but little for Jesus;
Time for the world with its troubles and toys,
No time for Jesus’ work, feeding the hungry,
Lifting lost souls to eternity’s joys.
Perishing, perishing! Hark, how they call us;
Bring us your Savior, oh, tell us of Him!
We are so weary, so heavily laden,
And with long weeping our eyes have grown dim.
“He was not willing that any should perish”;
Am I His follower, and can I live
Longer at ease with a soul going downward,
Lost for the lack of the help I might give!
Perishing, perishing! Thou wast not willing;
Master, forgive, and inspire us anew;
Banish our worldliness, help us to ever
Live with eternity’s values in view.
BUT FOR ALL TO COME TO REPENTANCE: alla pantas eis metanoian
choesai (AAN) eis metanoian choesai (AAN): (See Torrey's Topic "Repentance") (Ro
2:4; 1Ti 2:4; Rev 2:21)
One of the best discussions of repentance:
Repentance by J C Ryle
"The Bible, which ranges over a
period of 4,000 years, records but one instance of a deathbed
conversion—one that none may despair, and but one that none may
presume.... There be few at all saved. . . . and fewest saved this way."
"All the while thou delayest, God is
more provoked, the wicked one more encouraged, thy heart more hardened,
thy debts more increased, thy soul more endangered, and all the
difficulties of conversion daily more and more multiplied upon thee,
having a day more to repent of, and a day less to repent in." (George
(3956) (pas, plural
= pantas) means all
with no exceptions.
How good to have an answer
for those who ridicule the idea of a coming Judgment Day. “God’s just
waiting for you to be saved!” Delay is another evidence of God’s love.
The fact that this is
God's desire for all (pantas) individuals, underscores mankind's
fundamental need for such a moral reformation.
I am including the
following comment from
William Barclay so that you might
wary (see another
critique) when using his popular commentaries (which I do quote elsewhere
on this website) which, although often providing
unique insights into the Greco-Roman culture, history and word meanings,
are subtly laced with the arsenic of half-truth which calls for caveat emptor ("let
the buyer beware" so to speak).
Now with this forewarning read Barclay's comment on 2Peter 3:9...
Ever and again there shines in Scripture the glint of the larger hope.
We are not forbidden to believe that somehow and some time the God Who
loves the world will bring the whole world to Himself.
Do you understand
what Barclay is implying? Read it one more time like a good Berean (Acts
Clearly Barclay affirms the possibility of universalism (all men will be
saved) and yet look back at evidence to the contrary even in the context
of this book (2Peter 2:7-note).
Furthermore, the plain thrust of Peter's teaching in this section is
that after the second coming, ushering in the judgment of conflagration,
there will be no further opportunity for repentance. You must also note
what is clearly NOT being taught in passages like this --
absolutely no indication
of a "secret decree" by God
which predestinates certain ones
unto eternal damnation.
(having deceptive attraction, having a false look of truth) argument is
not substantiated in the current text nor anywhere else in Holy Writ!
Keep in mind that the best commentary is to
Scripture with Scripture
(far better than these "Verse by Verse" notes!)
(5562) (choreo) means to “make room for something” and so
to give place to or receive it.
In context choreo means
room for (receive) repentance in
one's heart by putting away stubborn pride and welcoming the Word of
God which "births" forth a brand new life (1Pe 1:23, 24, 25-note).
Repentance is the gift of God
as shown by the following passages
then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance
that leads to life"
= Acts 11:18, 16:14;
"God may grant them
leading to the knowledge of the truth"
= (2Ti 2:25-note)
of God leads you to
Yes repentance is
a gift but In the divine mystery
of the transaction that results in the new birth, the unbeliever has
personal responsibility to make room for God's gift. Salvation is of God but He
will not force us to be born again as if we were "puppets". Peter describes
according to His great mercy He caused us to be born
again to a living hope, thru the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead. (1Pe 1:3-note).
God may cause us but He will not coerce us
(against our will) to be saved. All who are not saved have made a free
will choice to not
"make room for" His precious gift of repentance.
from meta = after + noéo = to understand)
literally means "afterthought" or "to think after" and
implies a change of mind.
Great quotes on repentance primarily from Puritan
From the NT uses, it is clear that
metanoia means however much more than merely a change of
one's mind but also includes a complete change of heart, attitude,
interest, and direction. Metanoia is a conversion in every sense of the word.
Jesus' teaching would support this conclusion for our Lord declared...
tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one
sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (metanoia).
Metanoia is used 22 times in the NT
- see verses below (Matt 3:8, 11; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3, 8; 5:32; 15:7;
24:47; Acts 5:31; 11:18; 13:24; 19:4; 20:21; 26:20; Ro 2:4; 2 Cor 7:9,
10; 2Ti 2:25; Heb 6:1, 6; 12:17; 2Pe 3:9
offers this descriptive definition of repentance...
Repentance is a thorough
change of man's natural heart, upon the subject of sin. We are all born
in sin. We naturally love sin. We take to sin, as soon as we can act and
think—just as the bird takes to flying, and the fish takes to swimming.
There never was a child that required schooling or education in order to
learn deceitfulness, selfishness, passion, self-will, gluttony, pride,
and foolishness. These things are not picked up from bad companions, or
gradually learned by a long course of tedious instruction. They spring
up of themselves, even when boys and girls are brought up alone. The
seeds of them are evidently the natural product of the heart. The
aptitude of all children to these evil things is an unanswerable proof
of the corruption and fall of man. Now when this heart of ours is
changed by the Holy Spirit, when this natural love of sin is cast out,
then takes place that change which the Word of God calls "repentance."
The man in whom the change is wrought is said to "repent." (Repentance)
One of the best
illustrations of genuine repentance is found in Paul's
description of the saints at Thessalonica...
For they themselves (other believers
in Macedonia and Achaia) report about us (Paul, Silvanus and Timothy)
what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God
from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from
heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us
from the wrath to come. (1Thessalonians 1:9; 1:10-See notes
C H Spurgeon in a
sermon entitled The Plumbline (Amos 7:7, 8) wrote that...
Side by side with that faith, God puts true repentance. When a man
attempts to convert his fellow-man, he gives him a sham repentance, or
perhaps he tells him that there is no need of any repentance at all.
Certain preachers have been telling us, lately, that it is a very easy
matter to obtain salvation, and that there is no need of repentance; or
if repentance is needed, it is merely a change of mind. That is not the
doctrine that our fathers used to preach, nor the doctrine that we have
believed. That faith, which is not accompanied by repentance, will have
to be repented of; so, whenever God builds, he builds repentance fair
and square with faith. These two things go together; the man just as
much regrets and grieves over the past as he sees that past obliterated
by the precious blood of Jesus. He just as much hates all his sin as he
believes that his sin has been all put away. (Amos
7:7-8 The Plumbline)
Here are the 22 NT
uses of metanoia...
Matthew 3:8 "Therefore bring
forth fruit in keeping with repentance...11 "As for me, I baptize
you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is
mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize
you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Mark 1:4 John the Baptist
appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for
the forgiveness of sins.
Luke 3:3 And he came into all
the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for
the forgiveness of sins... 8 "Therefore bring forth fruits in keeping
with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have
Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that God is able from these
stones to raise up children to Abraham.
Luke 5:32 "I have not come to
call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
wrote "Learn this lesson—not to trust Christ because you repent,
but trust Christ to make you repent; not to come to Christ because you
have a broken heart, but to come to him that he may give you a broken
heart; not to come to him because you are fit to come, but to come to
him because you are unfit to come. Your fitness is your unfitness. Your
qualification is your lack of qualification.
Luke 15:7 "I tell you that in
the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who
repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no
Luke 24:47 and that
repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Acts 5:31 "He is the one whom
God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant
repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 11:18 And when they heard
this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has
granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."
Acts 13:24 after John had
proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the
people of Israel.
Acts 19:4 And Paul said, "John
baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to
believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus."
Acts 20:21 solemnly testifying
to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our
Lord Jesus Christ.
C H Spurgeon wrote that "Repentance
and faith must go together to complete each other. I compare them
to a door and its post. Repentance is the door which shuts out
sin, but faith is the post on which its hinges are fixed. A door
without a doorpost to hang on is not a door at all, while a doorpost
without the door hanging on it is of no value whatever. What God hath
joined together let no man put asunder, and these two he has made
inseparable—repentance and faith)
J C Ryle wrote...There can be
no true repentance without faith. You may cast away your old habits, as
the serpent casts off his skin—but if you are not resting all upon the
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and looking to be
saved by simple faith in Him, you may be wise in your own eyes—but you
are just ignorant of the root and fountain, the Alpha and the Omega, the
beginning and the end, the first and the last, in all true gospel
religion. You may tell us you have repented—but if you have not at the
same time laid hold on Christ, you have hitherto received the grace of
God in vain.
Acts 26:20 but kept declaring
both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then
throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they
should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to
Romans 2:4 (note)
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance
and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to
2Corinthians 7:9 I now
rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made
sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful
according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in
anything through us. 10 For the sorrow that is according to the
will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation;
but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Comment: The danger
with worldly sorrow is that it gives one a false sense of brokenness and
repentance and consequently it leads to death! Remorse is sorrow over
being caught and the pain of consequences that follow. Repentance is not
being concerned for ourselves but having a contrite heart.
C H Spurgeon spares no words
commenting that..."You are afraid of damnation, but you are not afraid
of sinning. You are afraid of being cast into the pit, but not afraid to
harden your hearts against God's commands. It is not the soul's state
that troubles you, but hell. If hell were extinguished, your
repentance would be extinguished. Be not deceived. Examine
yourselves whether you are in the faith. Ask yourself if you have that
which is "repentance unto life," for you may humble yourselves
for a time, and yet never repent before God.)
2 Timothy 2:25 (note)
with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God
may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
Hebrews 6:1 (note)
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press
on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead
works and of faith toward God,
Hebrews 6:6 (note)
and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to
repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and
put Him to open shame.
Hebrews 12:17 (note)
For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the
blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though
he sought for it with tears.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is
patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to
It should be
stated at the outset that there are some in evangelical circles who
teach that all repentance involves is a change of mind.
The problem with this definition is that has nothing to do with one’s
attitude toward sin and does not necessarily result in any change in
lifestyle. Keeping this definition in mind now read the first NT use of metanoia
by John the Baptist who is addressing the religious leaders who sought to flee from the wrath to come...
imperative = do it and do it now! Even conveys a sense of
urgency) fruit (karpos
- fruit is what people produce that other people see that indicates
their true spiritual condition. Fruit does not save but shows that one
is saved!) in
= the idea is that of having equal weight or worth,
and therefore of being appropriate) with repentance. (Matthew
Then notice how our Lord Jesus
began His ministry in Galilee...
From that time Jesus began to preach
and say, "Repent
imperative = make
this your habitual practice, it is to be your lifestyle!), for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17)
And after John had been taken into
custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and
saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent
imperative = make
this your habitual practice, it is to be your lifestyle!) and
imperative = make
this your habitual practice, it is to be your lifestyle!) in the
gospel." (Mark 1:14, 15)
Were John the
Baptist and our Lord calling for simply a change in thinking or is he calling
for a change in thinking that was evidenced by a change in behavior?
What do the passages teach? John was issuing a call to repentance that
was evidenced by an inner change and an outward act that gave proof that
the change was genuine (possession and not just profession). As a
corollary, note that the New Testament knows nothing of a gospel that
lacks a call to repentance. John and Jesus were both calling
Israel to have a radical change in thinking about genuine
righteousness and how it was worked out in one's everyday life. The
Scribes and Pharisees taught the Jews a distorted, perverted, external
type of righteousness, a self-righteousness based on an adherence to
manmade rules and regulations (613 of them to be exact!), the keeping of
which would emphatically not guarantee one's entrance into the
Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus presented the Sermon on the Mount to correct
this deadly distortion of the Law and the Prophets (the entire Old
Testament) by the religious leaders. (See
Overview of Matthew 1-7)
and commentary on Matthew 5-7 beginning in
In summary, the Jews needed to have a change (repentance) in regard to
righteousness for as Jesus emphatically declared...
unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. (see notes on
J. R. Miller
wrote that genuine repentance
amounts to nothing whatever if it
produces only a few tears, a spasm of regret, a little fright. We must
leave the sins we repent of and walk in the new, clean ways of holiness.
It is a change of mind about sin and
self and the Savior.—Vance Havner
"Repent" is the translation of a
Greek verb metanoeo, meaning to have another mind, to change the mind,
and is used in the NT to indicate a change of mind in respect to sin,
God, and self. This change of mind may, especially in the case of
Christians who have fallen into sin, be preceded by sorrow (2Cor
7:8, 9, 10, 11); but sorrow for sin, though it may cause repentance, is not
repentance. The son in Mt 21:28, 29 illustrates true repentance.
Repentance is not an act separate from faith, but saving faith includes
and implies that change of mind which is called repentance
In the OT repentance is one of
the English words used to translate the Hebrew nacham, to be eased or
comforted. It is used of both God and man. Notwithstanding the literal
meaning of nacham, it is evident, from a study of all the passages, that
the sacred writers use it in the sense of metanoia in the NT, meaning a
change of mind. See Mt 3:2; Acts 17:30. As in the NT, such change of
mind is often accompanied by contrition and self-judgment.
J Edwin Orr
Does “repent and believe the gospel”
imply that the sinner must do two things to be saved, and not one only?
The exhortation is really only one requirement. The instruction, “Leave
London and go to Los Angeles,” sounds like a two-fold request, but it
really is only one; it is impossible to go to Los Angeles without
in his note on the verb form (metanoeo) writes that
A word compounded of the
preposition meta, after, with; and the verb noeo, to
perceive, and to think, as the result of perceiving or observing. In
this compound the preposition combines the two meanings of time and
change, which may be denoted by after and different; so that the whole
compound means to think differently after. Metanoia
(repentance) is therefore, primarily, an after-thought,
different from the former thought; then, a change of mind which issues
in regret and in change of conduct. These latter ideas,
however, have been imported into the word by scriptural usage, and do
not lie in it etymologically nor by primary usage. Repentance, then, has
been rightly defined as “Such a virtuous alteration of the mind and
purpose as begets a like virtuous change in the life and practice.”
Sorrow is not, as is popularly conceived, the primary nor the
prominent notion of the word. Paul distinguishes between sorrow and
repentance (metanoia), and puts the one as the outcome of the other.
“Godly sorrow worketh repentance” (2Cor 7:10). (Vincent, M. R. Word
Studies in the New Testament. Vol. 1, Page 3-23) (Bolding added)
Repent is the translation
of metanoeo which in classical Greek meant “to change one’s mind
or purpose, to change one’s opinion.” The noun metanoia meant “a
change of mind on reflection.” These two words used in classical Greek
signified a change of mind regarding anything, but when brought over
into the New Testament, their usage is limited to a change of mind in
the religious sphere. They refer there to a change of moral thought and
reflection which follows moral delinquency. This includes not only
the act of changing one’s attitude towards and opinion of sin but also
that of forsaking it. Sorrow and contrition with respect to sin, are
included in the Bible idea of repentance, but these follow and are
consequent upon the sinner’s change of mind with respect to it."
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in
the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids:
writes that metanoia refers
especially (to) the change of mind
of those who have begun to abhor their errors and misdeeds, and have
determined to enter upon a better course of life, so that it embraces
both a recognition of sin and sorrow for it and hearty amendment, the
tokens and effects of which are good deeds.
al, define metanoia as...
(1) religiously and morally, a
change of mind leading to change of behavior repentance, conversion,
turning about ; (2) as a change of opinion in respect to one’s
acts regret, remorse (a popular Greek usage not found in
the NT)" (Friberg,
T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New
Testament. Baker's Greek New Testament library. Baker Academic)
Nida define metanoia as a...
"to change one’s way of life as
the result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to
sin and righteousness...Though in English a focal component of repent is
the sorrow or contrition that a person experiences because of sin, the
emphasis in metanoeo (verb form) and metanoia seems
to be more specifically the total change, both in thought and
behavior, with respect to how one should both think and act.
Whether the focus is upon attitude or behavior varies somewhat in
different contexts." (Louw,
J. P., & Nida, E. A. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based
on Semantic Domains. United Bible societies
) (Bolding added)
Repentance as used by is a change of mind that results in a change of will.
It means “a turn about" or deliberate change of mind resulting in a
change of direction in thought and behavior. There is a new attitude to
God, to men, to life, to self.
One might thus say
that repentance is a change of attitude toward sin which
leads to a desire to change our behavior accordingly. If the sinner
honestly changes his mind about sin, he will turn from it. If he
sincerely changes his mind about Jesus Christ, he will turn to Him,
trust Him, and be saved. In Paul's parting words to the Ephesian
elders he declared...
I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and
teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to
both Jews and Greeks of repentance (metanoia) toward God
and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)
is a godly sorrow for sin, an internal repugnance to the ugliness of sin followed
by the actual forsaking of it as Paul explained to the Corinthians...
"I now rejoice, not that you were
made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of
repentance (i.e., their sorrow led them to a change of mind
resulting in a change of life); for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in
order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the
sorrow that is according to the will of God (godly sorrow is a grief
which comes into a one's life after he or she has committed a sin and
which leads to repentance) produces a repentance
without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world
produces death." (2Corinthians 7:9, 10) In his respected commentary on this verse
Charles Hodge in his classic
commentary on 2 Corinthians writes that "Repentance is not
merely a change of purpose, but includes a change of heart which leads
to a turning from sin with grief and hatred thereof unto God.”
Jameison, et al,
commenting on the previous passage write that...
“Repentance” (metanoia) implies a coming to a right mind; “regret” implies
merely uneasiness of feeling at the past or present, and is applied even
to the remorse of Judas (Mt 27:3); so that, though always
accompanying repentance, it is not always accompanied by repentance.
“Repentance” removes the impediments in the way of “salvation” (to
which “death,” namely, of the soul, is opposed)." (Jamieson, R.,
Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. A
commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments)
Do not confuse
remorse with repentance. For example "when Judas, who had
betrayed (Jesus), saw that He had been condemned, he felt
remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief
priests and elders" (Matthew 27:3) What is the distinction? Repentance involves
sorrow for the act of sin, remorse sorrow for its consequences. A
repentant person is sorry he sinned, whereas a remorseful person is
sorry he got caught.
John the Baptist warned King Agrippa:
"Consequently, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly
vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at
Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the
Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God,
performing deeds" Acts 26:19, 20)
as described by Paul before King Agrippa is demonstrated by the saints at Thessalonica (although the
specific word metanoia
is not used here), Paul recording that...
"they themselves (those in
Macedonia and Achaia) report about us what kind of a reception we had
with you, and how you turned to God
to serve (douleuo = be in bondage to another with the
servant's will now subjected to the Master's will) a living and
true God (changed behavior, from serving pagan idols to serving the
true God) and to wait (eagerly and expectantly - present tense = their
habitual practice) for His Son from heaven (changed outlook from
temporal to eternal), Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who
delivers us from the wrath to come." (1Thessalonians 1:9, 1:10-see notes
The saints at
Thessalonica gave sure evidence of their changed mind in that they now
submitted to a new Master. They manifested a clearly visible (to all in
Macedonia and Achaia) break with pagan religion and a
redirection of their whole life to God.
John MacArthur adds that...
"True repentance not only should
but will have correspondingly genuine works, demonstrated in both
attitudes and actions. Right relationship to God brings right
relationship to our fellow human beings, at least as far as our part is
concerned (cf. Romans 12:18-note). Those who claim to know Christ, who claim to be born
again, will demonstrate a new way of living that corresponds to the new
birth...The idea that repentance is evidenced by renunciation of sin and
by righteous living did not originate with John the Baptist, but had
long been an integral part of orthodox Judaism. Faithful rabbis had
taught that one of the most important passages in Scripture was, “Wash
yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My
sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the
ruthless; defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isa. 1:16, 17).
Theologian Erich Sauer, in The Triumph of the Crucified (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1951, p. 67), speaks of repentance as “a threefold action.
In the understanding it means knowledge of sin; in the feelings it means
pain and grief; and in the will it means a change of mind.” True
repentance first of all involves understanding and insight, intellectual
awareness of the need for moral and spiritual cleansing and change.
Second, it involves our emotions. We come to feel the need that our mind
knows. Third, it involves appropriate actions that result from what our
mind knows and our heart feels." (MacArthur, J:
Matthew 1-7 Macarthur New Testament
Commentary Chicago: Moody Press)
In another of his works, MacArthur
summarizes repentance as follows...
"Like faith, repentance has
intellectual, emotional, and volitional ramifications. Berkhof describes
the intellectual element of repentance as “a change of view, a
recognition of sin as involving personal guilt, defilement, and
helplessness.” The emotional element is “a change of feeling,
manifesting itself in sorrow for sin committed against a holy God.” The
volitional element is “a change of purpose, an inward turning away from
sin, and a disposition to seek pardon and cleansing.” (from Louis
Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1939), 486)
Each of those three elements is deficient apart from the others." (MacArthur,
J. The Gospel According to the Apostles. Nashville, TN: Word Pub)
Easton's Bible Dictionary
defines "evangelical repentance" as...
"(1) a true sense of one’s own
guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God’s mercy in
Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Psalm 119:128; 2Corinthians 7:9, 10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavor
after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments."
J Vernon McGee
in his comments on Ruth's turning away from a life in Moab to follow
her mother in law Naomi asks...
"What is real repentance? The Greek
word used in 2 Corinthians 7:10 is metanoia. It means “to change your
mind.” It means to be going in one direction, then to change your mind,
turn around, and go in the other direction. A lot of people come to a
place where they’re under conviction, and they intend to change—or at
least they say they do—and they shed a few tears, but they keep right on
going the same way. And that’s exactly what Orpah did. She shed the
tears right along with Ruth, but she didn’t turn around and go to
Bethlehem and make a stand for God. No, she went back to idolatry. And a
lot of folk are like that today—they just shed tears. Tears are not
repentance, friend, although they may be a byproduct of repentance." (McGee,
J. V. Thru the Bible commentary. Vol. 2, Page 94. Nashville: Thomas
writes that metanoia
literally means a change of mind.
We are very apt to confuse two things—sorrow for the consequences of sin
and sorrow for sin. Many a man is desperately sorry because of the mess
that sin has got him into, but he very well knows that, if he could be
reasonably sure that he could escape the consequences, he would do the
same thing again. It is not the sin that he hates; it is its
consequences. Real repentance means that a man has come, not only to be
sorry for the consequences of his sin, but to hate sin itself. Long ago
that wise old writer, Montaigne, wrote in his autobiography, “Children
should be taught to hate vice for its own texture, so that they will not
only avoid it in action, but abominate it in their hearts—that the very
thought of it may disgust them whatever form it takes.” Repentance
means that the man who was in love with sin comes to hate sin because of
its exceeding sinfulness." (The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed.
Philadelphia: The Westminster Press)
Repentance: That mighty change in mind, heart, and life, wrought by the
Spirit of God.
theologian Heinrich Heppe defined repentance as
“a gracious power, bestowed only
on the elect, by which they lay aside the life of sin and busy
themselves with righteousness” (Reformed Dogmatics Grand Rapids:
Puritan Thomas Watson (from his excellent
treatise on repentance)...
repent, you will also perish." Luke 13:5 Repentance is a grace of God's
Spirit, whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and outwardly reformed.
Repentance is a spiritual medicine made up of six special ingredients:
1. Sight of sin 2. Sorrow for sin 3. Confession of sin 4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin 6. Turning from sin If any ingredient is left out, it
loses its virtue. "I preached that they should repent and turn to God
and prove their repentance by their deeds." Acts 26:20...
will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe
yourselves for your sins and detestable practices!" Ezekiel 36:31 A true
penitent is a sin-loather. If a man loathes that which makes his
stomach sick, much more will he loathe that which makes his soul sick!
It is greater to loathe sin—than to leave it. The nauseating and
loathing of sin, argues a detestation of it.
never loved—until sin is loathed.
Heaven is never longed for—until sin is loathed.
soul sees its filthiness, he cries out, "Lord, when shall I be freed
from this body of death! When shall I put off these filthy garments of
sin—and be arrayed in the robe of Your perfect righteousness! Let all my
self-love be turned into self-loathing!" We are never more precious in
God's eyes—than when we are lepers in our own eyes! The more bitterness
we taste in sin—the more sweetness we shall taste in Christ!...
several counterfeits of repentance. A man has gone on long in sin. At
last God arrests him, shows him what desperate hazard he has run —and he
is filled with anguish! But after a while, the tempest of conscience is
blown over, and he is quiet. Then he concludes that he is a true
penitent because he has felt some bitterness in sin. Do not be deceived!
This is not true repentance! Both Ahab and Judas had great trouble of
mind. It is one thing to be a terrified sinner—and another to be a
repenting sinner. Sense of guilt is enough to breed terror in the
conscience. Only infusion of divine grace, breeds true repentance. If
pain and trouble were sufficient to repentance—then the damned in hell
would be most penitent, for they are most in anguish. "Men gnawed their
tongues in agony, and cursed the God of heaven because of their
pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had
There is no
better sign of true repentance—than a holy antipathy against sin. Sound
repentance begins in love to God—and ends in the hatred of sin.
How may true hatred of sin be known? When a man's HEART is set against
sin. Not only does the tongue protest against sin—but the heart abhors
it. However lovely sin is painted—we find it odious—just as we abhor the
picture of one whom we mortally hate, even though it may be well drawn.
Suppose a dish be finely cooked and the sauce good—yet if a man has an
antipathy against the meat, he will not eat it. So let the devil cook
and dress sin with pleasure and profit—yet a true penitent has a secret
abhorrence of it, is disgusted by it, and will not meddle with it.
True hatred of sin is UNIVERSAL. There is a dislike of sin not only in
the judgment—but in the will and affections. Many a one is convinced
that sin is a vile thing, and in his judgment has an aversion to it—yet
he tastes sweetness in it—and has a secret delight in it. Here is a
disliking of sin in the judgment—and an embracing of it in the
affections! Whereas in true repentance, the hatred of sin is in all the
faculties, not only in the mind—but chiefly in the will: "I do the very
thing I hate!" (Ro 7:15). Paul was not free from sin—yet his will was
He who truly hates one sin—hates all sins. He who hates a serpent—hates
all serpents. "I hate every false way!" (Ps 119:104). Hypocrites will
hate some sins which mar their credit. But a true convert hates all
sins—gainful sins, complexion sins, the very stirrings of corruption.
A holy heart detests sin for its intrinsic pollution. Sin leaves a stain
upon the soul. A regenerate
person abhors sin not only for the curse—but for the contagion. He hates
this serpent not only for its sting but for its poison. He hates sin not
only for hell—but as hell.
Those who have no antipathy against sin, are strangers to repentance.
Sin is in them—as poison in a serpent, which, being natural to it,
affords delight. How far are they from repentance who, instead of hating
sin—love sin! To the godly—sin is as a thorn in the eye; to the
wicked—sin is as a crown on the head! "They actually rejoice in doing
evil!" (Jeremiah 11:15).
Loving of sin is worse than committing it. What is it, which makes a
swine love to tumble in the mire? Its love of filth. O how many there
are—who love the forbidden fruit! They love their sin—and hate holiness.
There should be a deadly antipathy between the heart and sin. What is
there in sin, which may
make a penitent hate it?
Sin is the accursed thing, the most deformed monster! Look upon the
origin of sin, from whence it comes. It fetches its pedigree from hell:
"He who commits sin is of the devil!" (1 John 3:8). Sin is the devil's
special work. How hateful is it to be doing that which is the special
work of the devil—indeed, that which makes men into devils!
repentance and tears) In Luke 7:38 Mary brought two things to
Christ—perfume and tears. Her tears were better than her perfume. Tears
are powerful orators for mercy. They are silent—yet they have a voice.
"The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping." (Ps 6:8) They say that
tears have four qualities: tears are hot, moist, salty, and bitter. It
is true of repenting tears. They are . . .hot—to warm a frozen
conscience; moist—to soften a hard heart; salty—to season a soul
putrefying in sin; bitter—to wean us from the love of the world.
And I will add a fifth. They are sweet, in that they make the
heart inwardly rejoice "Your sorrow shall be turned into joy!" (Jn
great graces essential to a saint in this life, are faith and
repentance. These are the two wings by which he flies to heaven.
Moist tears of repentance dry up sin—and quench the wrath of God.
Repentance is the nourisher of piety—
and the procurer of mercy.
tears fall to the earth; but godly tears of repentance are kept in a
bottle. "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my
tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." (Ps
56:8) Either sin must drown in the tears of repentance—or the soul must
burn in hell.
unbeliever would rather lose Christ and heaven—than his lusts!
Puritan Thomas Watson on Repentance)
of multiple articles on repentance)
A W Tozer
"The best repentance is turning to
God and away from our sin—and not doing it any longer!" He also said
"I think there is little doubt that the teaching of salvation without
repentance has lowered the moral standards of the Church and produced a
multitude of deceived religious professors who erroneously believe
themselves to be saved when in fact they are still in the gall of
bitterness and the bond of iniquity."
sounds a note of warning writing that...
If you have never sorrowed over sin
in your life (not just its consequences, but sin itself), then consider
long and carefully whether you really are a Christian. Genuine
believers, those who are truly born again, have mourned, and continue to
mourn, over sin.
For Christians, mourning over sin is essential to spiritual health. The
verb used here is the most intensive of the nine verbs employed in the
New Testament for mourning, and it is continuous. Godly believers,
therefore, perpetually mourn, and thus perpetually repent of
It is significant that the first of Martin Luther's famous 95 Theses
states that the entire life is to be one of continuous
repentance and contrition. It was this attitude in the Apostle Paul
that caused him to affirm, well along into his Christian life, that he
was the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). (Hughes, R. K. Sermon on the
Our Lord's last word to the church
was not the great commission but "repent," and it is the last
thing the church is willing to do. We hear much about revival, but
revival is an Old Testament word. The New Testament word is "repent."
I almost despair of our churches ever learning the difference between
revival and evangelism. The average "revival" is mainly a drive for more
members, and we already have too many of the kind that most of them are!...
("Repent") was (Jesus') command to five out of seven of the churches
in Asia and that proportion still holds (see notes on those 5
churches - Re 2:5, 16, 21, 22, 3:3, 19 - see notes
3:19). Five out of seven
Christians and churches today need first of all to repent."
goes on to say that
Another weakness that needs to be corrected is
the present‑day accent on conversion without repentance. Do not
misunderstand me here. I know that eternal life is the gift of God and
that there is nothing meritorious in our tears.... What I do mean is
that we have made it easy for hundreds superficially to "accept Christ"
without ever having faced sin and with no sense of need (Ed note:
We can't put our sins behind us until we are ready to face them.). We are healing
slightly the hurt of this generation, trying to treat patients who do
not even know they are sick."
See C H Spurgeon's
sermons relating to the topic of revival...
2 Chronicles 35:2 Cheer Up, My
Jonah 2:7 The Fainting Soul Revived
Isaiah 52:20 The Great Revival
Amos 3:3 Preparation For Revival
Amos 9:13 A Revival Sermon
Habakkuk 3:2 Spiritual Revival, The
Want Of The Church
In his book called
"Truth" (page 31) Vance Havner wrote that...
The message of John the Baptist
was "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2). The Kingdom was coming then in the Person of the Saviour; it was a
spiritual Kingdom, the reign of God in the hearts of men. The Kingdom is
coming soon; it will be a visible Kingdom when the King returns and once
again our message should be "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand." Christ's message to the church for this hour is "Repent." But who
dares to call the average Sunday‑morning congregation to repentance?
Said Joseph Parker: "The man whose message is Repent sets himself
against his age and will be battered mercilessly by the age whose moral
tone he challenges. There is but one end for such a man...off with his
head! You had better not preach repentance until you have pledged your
head to heaven."
Kent Hughes gives the
Those of us who grew up in the
fifties are quite familiar with the name Mickey Cohen because he was the
most flamboyant criminal of the day. Perhaps some have even heard of
Cohen's becoming a "Christian."
The story goes like this: At the height of his career, Cohen was
persuaded to attend an evangelistic service at which he showed a
surprising interest in Christianity. Hearing of this, and realizing what
a great influence a converted Mickey Cohen could have for the Lord, some
prominent Christian leaders began visiting him in an effort to convince
him to accept Christ. Late one night, after repeatedly being encouraged
to open the door of his life on the basis of Revelation 3:20 ("I stand
at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I
will go in and eat with him, and he with me"), Cohen prayed.
Hopes ran high among his believing acquaintances. But with the passing
of time no one could detect any change in Cohen's life. Finally
they confronted him with the reality that being a Christian meant he
would have to give up his friends and his profession. Cohen demurred.
His logic? There are "Christian football players, Christian cowboys,
Christian politicians; why not a Christian gangster?"
“The fact is,” said evangelist J
Edwin Orr (one of the leaders who had spoken with Cohen) “repentance
is the missing note in much modern evangelism.”
The absurdity of what happened to Mickey Cohen dramatically
underscores what is happening to untold numbers today. Though many
ostensibly have "accepted Christ," they continue life as they always
have. There is no repentance. They remain self-sufficient, even
puffed up. Indeed, they are nowhere near the kingdom because they have
not experienced the poverty of spirit that the first Beatitude insists
is the initial ground of the kingdom of heaven. (Hughes, R. K. Sermon on
the Mount) (Bolding added)
Max Lucado rightly observes
Where there is faith, repentance, and
a new birth, there is a Christian. When I meet a man whose faith is in
the cross and whose eyes are on the Savior, I meet a brother. (Lucado,
M.. In the Grip of Grace. Dallas, Tex.: Word Pub)
J C Ryle wrote that...
You may say, perhaps, ‘It is never
too late to repent.’ I answer, ‘That is right enough; but late
repentance is seldom true.’ And I say further, you cannot be certain if
you put off repenting, you will repent at all.
D L Moody wrote that...
Man is born with his back toward God.
When he truly repents, he turns right around and faces God. Repentance
is a change of mind. . . .
Repentance is the tear in the eye of
Robert Smith sounds a true
note writing that...
True repentance has a double aspect;
it looks upon things past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a
There is one case of death-bed
repentance recorded—the penitent thief—that no one should despair; and
only one, that no one should presume.
"Pepper" wrote that...
On his second evangelistic mission
to Great Britain, D. L. Moody preached repentance. It was said: "He had
come to know that unless there was a genuine turning from known sin in
life and thought, there was little permanency of change
If an unregenerate man should
leave off sin under fear of death or hell, it would not be out of hatred
to sin, but out of the fear of the punishment, as the bird is kept from
the bait by the scarecrow.
Watson wrote that...
By delay of repentance, sin
strengthens, and the heart hardens. The longer ice freezeth, the harder
it is to be broken.
Corrie ten Boom
(1892–1983) said that
An unrepented sin is a continued
A. W. Tozer
(1897–1963) wrote that...
God will take nine steps toward
us, but he will not take the tenth. He will incline us to repent, but he
cannot do our repenting for us.
The evangelist Sammy Tippit tells the story about the roots of
revival in a local Baptist church in Romania (prior to the overthrow of
(pastor)...began to preach on the theme "The Repenters Must Repent."
He preached repentance and taught prayer from December to the following
June. Then the church entered into a covenant of repentance. Every
member covenanted to no longer partake of any alcohol. Also, they
covenanted not to lie on their jobs, a characteristic of the people of
that area. The believers committed themselves not to be conformed to the
world. The Repenters repented. The Holy Spirit was released with mighty
power. Fewer than fifty had come to Jesus and were baptized in that
church during the year prior to this godly pastor's arrival. The church
baptized more than 200 people in the six months after entering into the
covenant. The church continues to grow and has become one of the
greatest churches in all of Europe.
learn that God is holy. If we are to experience the manifest presence of
God's glory, we must repent. When Isaiah saw the glory of God in the
Temple, he was driven to brokenness, confession, and repentance. Too
many in the West desire to know the manifest love of God without the
manifest holiness of God. We have lost the message of repentance. Now
the church in the West is the sleeping Giant. The church in the East
sends a strong message: The Repenters must repent! Many have attached
themselves to the church without becoming "repenters." We have preached
a gospel without a distinct call for repentance. But throughout the
Scriptures we are admonished to repent and believe. John the Baptist
preached and baptized with a "baptism of repentance" prior to the
ministry of reconciliation of Jesus. (cp Mt 3:2, 4:17, 11:20, 12:41,
Eze18:30, 31, 32 Mk 1:4,15, 6:12 Lk 13:3, 5, 15:7,10, 16:30, 24:47, Acts
2:38, 3:19, 5:31, 8:22, 26:20, 17:30, 20:21, 2Co7:9, 10, 12:21)
United States several years ago, I was witnessing to a group of
homosexuals. The leader claimed to be the pastor of a homosexual church
and said that he had "accepted Jesus as my Savior" and yet continued in
his homosexual life-style. He believed there was no need for repentance.
lack of repentance is typical. Recent Gallup polls show millions of
people in America having had "born again" experiences. Yet there has
been very little impact on the moral fiber of the country. The great
awakenings of the past have always affected the morality of the people
awakened and the communities in which they lived.
disciples of Jesus were first called "followers of the Way" (Acts 19:9,
23, 24:24, 22). Jesus was the way (Jn 14:6). When they decided to follow
Jesus, they decided to follow an entirely new way of life (2Co 5:17).
That is simple repentance, a willingness to leave the old way of life in
order to follow "the way, the truth, and the life." Jesus says, "No man
can serve two masters. He will love the one and hate the other." (Mt
Repentance is the liberation of the will by Jesus Christ to serve God.
The will is in bondage to sin prior to conversion. Salvation takes place
when a person realizes his hopelessness and absolute need of Jesus
Christ as Lord and Savior. When by faith he receives Jesus, he is made a
new person He now has a desire not to follow his old ways but to follow
Jesus. He is placed on a highway called holiness (Is 35:8, cp Jer 6:16,
18:15). It is a highway upon which he will travel for the remainder of
his life by the power of God. (Sammy
Tippit Ministries - Chapter 6 - Holiness - The Root of His Grace - Part
Billy Graham once
If your sorrow is because of
certain consequences that have come on your family because of your sin,
this is remorse, not true repentance. If, on the other hand, you are
grieved because you also sinned against God and his holy laws, then you
are on the right road.
In his book I
Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity
problem is in the misconception “that we can add Christ to our lives,
but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in
behavior.” (Ed comment: While ultimately only God knows a
person's heart, if a person "changes belief" and never has any "change
in behavior", one would have to question the authenticity of their
salvation. See related topic
Obedience of faith;
related discussion of obedience of
faith and also discussion of noun
faith = pistis
believe = pisteuo);
see discussion of no inheritance in the Kingdom of God -- Gal 5:21-note;
As someone has well said...
Salvation is not
turning over a new leaf but receiving a new life!
• Regret is being
sorry—mentally (King Saul, for example).
• Remorse is being
sorry—mentally and emotionally (like Judas).
• Repentance is being
sorry—mentally, emotionally, and volitionally (like Simon Peter, among
(1785–1873) in contrasting remorse and repentance wrote that...
It is one thing to mourn for sin
because it exposes us to hell, and another to mourn for it because it is
an infinite evil; one thing to mourn for it because it is injurious to
ourselves, and another thing to mourn for it because it is wrong and
offensive to God. It is one thing to be terrified; another, to be
Alexander Maclaren writes
VERY near the close of his missionary
career the Apostle Paul summed up his preaching as being all directed to
enforcing two points, ‘Repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord
Jesus Christ.’ These two, repentance and faith, ought never to be
separated in thought, as they are inseparable in fact. True repentance
is impossible without faith, true faith cannot exist without repentance.
Yet the two are separated very often,
even by earnest Christian teachers. The tendency of this day is to say a
great deal about faith, and not nearly enough in proportion about
repentance; and the effect is to obscure the very idea of faith, and not
seldom to preach ‘Peace! peace! when there is no peace.’ A gospel
which is always talking about faith, and scarcely ever talking about sin
and repentance, is denuded, indeed, of some of its most unwelcome
characteristics, but is also deprived of most of its power, and it may
very easily become an ally of unrighteousness, and an indulgence to sin.
The reproach that the Christian doctrine of salvation through faith is
immoral in its substance derives most of its force from forgetting that
‘repentance towards God’ is as real a condition of salvation as is ‘
faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.’ We have here the Apostle’s deliverance
about one of these twin thoughts. We have three stages- the root, the
stem, the fruit; sorrow, repentance, salvation. But there is a right and
a wrong kind of sorrow for sin. The right kind breeds repentance; and
thence reaches salvation; the wrong kind breeds nothing, and so ends in
Again, the true means of evoking true
repentance is the contemplation of the Cross. Law and the fear of hell
may startle into sorrow, and even lead to some kind of repentance. But
it is the great power of Christ’s love and sacrifice which will really
melt the heart into true repentance. You may hammer ice to pieces, but
it is ice still. You may bray a fool in a mortar, and his folly will not
depart from him. Dread of punishment may pulverise the heart, but not
change it; and each fragment, like the smallest bits of a magnet, will
have the same characteristics as the whole mass. But ‘the goodness of
God leads to repentance,’ as the prodigal is conquered and sees the true
hideousness of the swine’s trough, when he bethinks himself of he
father’s love. I beseech you to put yourselves under the influence of
that great love, and look on that Cross till your hearts melt...
It is when you lift the shutter
off conscience, and let the light of God rush in upon your hearts and
consciences, that you have the wholesome sorrow that worketh repentance
and salvation and life.
Oh, dear friends, I do beseech you to
lay these simple thoughts to heart. Remember, I urge no rigid uniformity
of experience or character, but I do say that unless a man has learned
to see his sin in the light of God, and in the light of God to weep over
it, he has yet to know “the strait gate that leadeth unto life.”
I believe that a very large amount of
the superficiality and easy-goingness of the Christianity of today comes
just from this, that so many who call themselves Christians have never
once got a glimpse of themselves as they really are. I remember once
peering over the edge of the crater of Vesuvius, and looking down into
the pit, all swirling with sulphurous fumes. Have you ever looked into
your hearts, in that fashion, and seen the wreathing smoke and the
flashing fire there? If you have, you will cleave to that Christ, Who is
your sole deliverance from sin. (Alexander Maclaren. Expositions of the
Holy Scripture from his
sermon on 2Corinthians 7:10 "Sorrow According
to God") (Bolding
Bonhoeffer wrote that
Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of
our church...Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without
J. Edwin Orr
The word “repentance” or “repent” is used in the writings of Paul to the
Romans, the Corinthians, and to Timothy, and by the writer to the
Hebrews as well as by Peter. It occurs ten times in the Book of the
Revelation of John. In all of the New Testament it appears more than
fifty times. Hebrews lists it as an elementary doctrine of Christ, a
foundation. How serious then is the condition of a professing church
where repentance is missing from its elementary evangelism or church
is not just for paupers....
Some people do not wish to hear much of repentance, but I think it so
necessary that, if I should die in the pulpit, I wish to die preaching
repentance; and if out of the pulpit, practicing it.
In his excellent biography of Andrew
Jackson, Marquis James tells of a Sunday morning in 1818 when the
General traveled from his home, the Hermitage, into downtown Nashville
to attend a Methodist Conference. The famous circuit-riding preacher,
Peter Cartwright, was to speak that day.
The pastor of the church had invited
Cartwright with misgivings, for the evangelist was unpredictable. He had
been known to knock a sinner down and literally drag him to the throne
of grace. But interest had been high, and it seemed that everyone in
Nashville had come to church that Sunday to see the eccentric
Cartwright. His text was: “What shall it profit a man if he gains the
whole world and loses his own soul?”
Cartwright had just read his text and
had paused to let the words sink in when General Jackson entered the
church and slowly walked down the aisle. Every seat was taken, and he
stood for a moment, leaning against a pillar.
Peter Cartwright felt a tug at the
tail of his coat. “General Jackson has come in!” the Nashville pastor
whispered excitedly. “General Jackson has come in.”
The whisper was audible to most of
the church. Peter Cartwright’s jaw tightened, and he gave the minister a
look of scorn.
“Who is General Jackson?” shouted
Cartwright. “If he doesn’t repent and get his soul converted,” he
continued, saying in effect, “God will damn his soul to hell as quick as
an unconverted pagan.”
After the sermon, Rev. Cartwright was
advised to leave town immediately, for Jackson was known for his fiery
temper and his deadly duels. Instead, the evangelist accepted an
invitation to preach at a church right next to the Hermitage.
Jackson invited him to dinner.
(Morgan, R. J. 2000. Nelson's Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations,
and Quotes Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Is It Repentance?
• Regret is being
sorry—mentally (King Saul, for example).
• Remorse is being
sorry—mentally and emotionally (like Judas).
• Repentance is being
sorry—mentally, emotionally, and volitionally (like Matthew, among
God will never plant the seed of his life upon the soil of a hard,
unbroken spirit. He will only plant that seed where the conviction of
his Spirit has brought brokenness, where the soil has been watered with
the tears of repentance as well as the tears of joy.
The "R" Word -
Jimmy had trouble pronouncing the
letter “R” so his teacher gave him a sentence to practice at home:
“Robert gave Richard a rap in the rib for roasting the rabbit so rare.”
Some days later the teacher asked him
to say the sentence for her. Jimmy rattled it off like this: “Bob gave
Dick a poke in the side for not cooking the bunny enough.”
He had evaded the letter “R.”
There are a lot of people
today—including Christians—who go to great lengths to avoid the “R” word
offers this definition...
Repentance has been defined as a
turning around—from going in the wrong direction to going in the right
direction. Repentance comes as a process. We first acknowledge our lost
condition, then assume personal responsibility for our spiritual
failures. As a result, we grieve over our rejection of God’s grace and
willingly change our direction in life, turning to God’s way from our
way. (Hurley, V. Speaker's Sourcebook of New Illustrations Dallas:
Don't wait till
the 11th hour to repent --
you may die at 10:30!
from the Speaker's Quote Book
A Sunday school teacher asked a class
what the word “repentance” means.
A little boy put up his hand and
said, “It is being sorry for your sins.”
A little girl also raised her hand
and said, “It is being sorry enough to quit.”
A schoolgirl was saved and someone
asked her, “What were you before?” She said, “A sinner.” The she was
asked, “What are you now?” She answered, “A sinner.” They asked, “What’s
She answered, “I was a sinner running
after sin. But now I’m a sinner running from sin.” (Zuck, R. B.. The
Speaker's Quote Book. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications)
It's never too soon to repent,
but soon it may be too late.
C. S. Lewis
(1898–1963) said that...
Fallen man is not simply an imperfect
creature who needs improvement; he is a rebel who must lay down his arms
. . . This process of surrender—this movement full speed astern—is what
Christians call repentance. Now repentance is no fun at all. It is
something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning
all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves
into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself,
undergoing a kind of death.
True repentance comes when a man’s
heart has changed its outlook on sin. A man will only quit his sinful,
destructive behavior when he has truly repented of it in his heart. As
he moves closer to the heart of God, he begins to develop a “godly
sorrow” over his sin... Spiritual repentance is an experience whereby a
person’s will is altered for the express purpose of bringing it into
line with God’s will. (Gallagher, S. At The Altar Of Sexual Idolatry.
Dry Ridge, KY: Pure Life Ministries)
In 1937 the
American Tract Society sponsored a contest in which they offered a prize
of $1,000 for the best new book written on one of the “essential
evangelical doctrines of the Christian faith.” Sixty-one years ago,
$1,000 was a lot of money and a great many well-known Christian authors
entered the contest hoping to win the prize. A committee representing
six denominations judged the entries. The judges unanimously chose a
book written by a man whose name I have mentioned before—Dr. Harry
Ironside, who for many years served as pastor of the famous Moody
Memorial Church in downtown Chicago. The book he wrote is entitled
Except Ye Repent. The title is taken from the King James Version of Luke
13:3 where Jesus said to the men of his day, “Except ye repent, ye shall
all likewise perish.”
Let me quote the first sentence from Dr. Ironside’s introduction: “Fully
convinced in my own mind that the doctrine of repentance is the missing
note in many otherwise orthodox and fundamentally sound circles today, I
have penned this volume out of a full heart.” Repentance, he says, is
the missing note in many otherwise sound churches. If it was so in 1937,
how much more it must be true in 1998.
In our day, and in our circles, the doctrine of repentance is not
preached very often. There are several reasons for this. First, we live
in a superficial age and any preaching of repentance is bound to cut
through the superficiality. This is one point on which both liberals and
conservatives share unspoken agreement—no one wants to go to church and
hear hard truth from the pulpit, and repentance is the ultimate hard
truth. Second, some evangelicals fear the preaching of repentance
because they think it somehow opposes the gospel of grace. Their fears
are justified if repentance is made to equal penance, the act whereby a
man atones for his own sin. But that is not true biblical repentance.
Where true repentance is preached, it actually promotes the grace of
The Forgotten Doctrine of Salvation by Dr. Ray Pritchard)
From a devotional
Daily Bread: A Daily Devotional)
Two kinds of repentance are
possible in human experience. One is ‘the sorrow of the world,” a
feeling induced by the fear of getting caught. Many people recognize the
unpleasant consequences of their sin and are persuaded that they are
guilty. This results in a superficial sorrow that may lead to a
temporary reformation but not to a genuine turning to
Christ for forgiveness. Godly sorrow, on the other hand, is accompanied
by conviction of sin, the work of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:37).
This stems from the realization of offending a holy God. It leads to
genuine repentance. An unknown author wrote,
“There is a radical distinction
between natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel
remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself. However,
this sort of disgust with past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and
the individual can soon go back to his old wicked ways. None of the
marks of true repentance described in 2 Corinthians 7:11 are found in
his behavior. Out of a list of 10 men in the Bible who said, “I have
sinned,” we believe only five actually repented. They were David (2
Sam. 12:13), Nehemiah (Neh. 1:6), Job (Job 42:5, 6), Micah
(Micah 7:9), and the prodigal son (Luke 15:18).”
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
See also repentance in
Vine's definition of metanoia) (See
The Nature of True Repentance (1),
The Nature of True Repentance (2) by Puritan Thomas Watson)
Ezra 10:1-44 Genuine Repentance - Pdf
- Steven Cole
Repent! The Forgotten Doctrine of Salvation by Dr.
Luke 13:3 Repentance - J C Ryle
Psalm 51:17 Repentance After Conversion - Pdf - C
Jonah 3:9 - Who Can Tell? - C H
Zechariah 12:12-14 - Apart - C H
Mark 1:15 Faith and Repentance Inseparable - C H
Luke 15:10 The Sympathy of the Two
Worlds - C H Spurgeon
Acts 11:18 Repentance Unto Life - C H
Romans 2:4 God's Goodness Leading to Repentance -
C H Spurgeon
Revelation 16:9 Judgments and No Repentance:
Repentance and No Salvation - C H Spurgeon
Spurgeon's Sermon Notes
Isaiah 55:7 Repentance
Jeremiah 18:11 Individual Repentance
Ezekiel 36:30, 31 Mistaken Notions About
Jonah 3:4 The Ninevites' Repentance
Mark 14:72 Fountains of Repentant Tears
Revelation 16:8-9 Repentance which Glorifies God
Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man.
It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that
when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy
Spirit rouses a man's conscience and brings him into the presence of
God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his
relationship with God - "against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and
done this evil in Thy sight." The marvels of conviction of sin,
forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven
man who is the holy man, he proves he is forgiven by being the opposite
to what he was, by God's grace. Repentance always brings a man to this
point: I have sinned. The surest sign that God is at work is when a man
says that and means it. Anything less than this is remorse for having
made blunders, the reflex action of disgust at himself. The entrance
into the Kingdom is through the panging pains of repentance crashing
into a man's respectable goodness; then the Holy Ghost, Who produces
these agonies, begins the formation of the Son of God in the life. The
new life will manifest itself in conscious repentance and unconscious
holiness, never the other way about. The bedrock of Christianity is
repentance. Strictly speaking, a man cannot repent when he chooses;
repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for "the gift
of tears." If ever you cease to know the virtue of repentance, you are
in darkness. Examine yourself and see if you have forgotten how to be
So Peter that God
uses the delay before the coming of Christ in order to carry out His
redemptive purposes. A reasonable corollary and application of this
truth is that all Christians should wisely use the time before the
second advent to preach the gospel with their lives, which might open a
door for us to open our lips about Jesus. Some of our lives are speaking
so loud to the lost that they can't "hear" the gospel we are trying to
proclaim with our lips.
"Redeem the time for the days are evil" (Ep
for as Jesus said the
"Night is coming when no man can work." (Jn 9:4)
As you review
Peter’s arguments, you can see that his evidence is irrefutable.
He pointed out
that the scoffers willfully rejected evidence in order that they might
continue in their sins and scoffing.
He proved from the
Scriptures that God has intervened in past history, and that He has the
power to do it today.
He showed that the
scoffers had a very low view of God’s character because they thought He
delayed in keeping His promises just as men do.
explained that God does not live in the realm of human time, and that
His so-called “delay” only gives more opportunity for lost sinners to
repent and be saved. God is good...all the time!
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Charles H. Spurgeon
Return ye now every one from his evil
way, and make your ways and your doings good. — Jeremiah 18:11
THIS is the voice of mercy, anxious about each individual.
Justice might slay the sinner in his sin; but mercy would slay the sin,
and spare the sinner.
Yet it is the voice of holiness, opposed to each man's special evil way;
and claiming of each man an acceptable life. The Lord Jesus has not come
to be the Minister of sin, but the Destroyer of it.
Let us hear each one for himself on this occasion, for have we not every
one some evil way of his own?
It is Jehovah's voice, and concerning its message we enquire:
I. WHAT? "Return."
This includes three things.
1. Stop! Stand still! Go not a foot further in your evil way.
2. Turn round! Face towards God, holiness, heaven, etc.
3. Hasten back! Practically move in the right way, and continue in that
good course which is the reverse of your present one.
II. WHEN? "Return ye now."
1. Every step makes so much more to retrace.
2. Every step makes it more difficult to return.
3. Further wandering will be wanton and willful; a presumptuous
rejection of the warning which is now so earnestly given.
4. Never again may you have an opportunity to return.
There is nothing certain about life save its uncertainty.
Joy is being lost by this procrastination; you are missing present
peace of mind.
God is robbed of your service, and you cannot make up the loss.
Man is being injured by your example.
Every reason pleads for now, but for delay there is no excuse.
III. WHO? "Return ye now
The personality of the call to each hearer of it is necessary, for—
1. Each man has his own peculiar way of sin.
2. Each man is apt to think of his neighbor's sin more than his own.
3. Each man needs a special effectual call ere he will turn.
4. Each man is now lovingly invited to return.
IV. FROM WHAT? "From his
"We have turned every one to his own way" (Isa. 53:6). This way of your
own you are to return from,—
Your own personal sin.
Your constitutional sin.
Your most frequent sin.
To many it will be important to be able to discover this favorite
1. It is that into which you are most easily led.
2. It is that which has already been
most indulged by you.
3. It is that about which you are
most irritated if you are rebuked concerning it. Darling sins must not
be touched, or their fond friends grow angry.
4. It is that for which you give up
other sins; a covetous person will not be extravagant, a hypocrite will
deny himself, etc.
5. It is that with which you are most
loth to part.
6. It is that on which you spend most
money, energy, etc.
From such a darling sin each man must turn.
V. TO WHAT? "Make your ways and
Negative religion is not enough, there must be positive goodness.
1. Your general habits or ways must be made good as a whole.
2. Your ways in reference to yourself.
3. Your doings towards both God and man.
Personal examination of the utmost importance.
Practical repentance an absolute necessity.
Yet how difficult is the way back. To descend into sin is easy, but to
retrace your steps, this is the work, this is the labor.
Only by faith in the Lord Jesus can it be accomplished, a look at his
cross breeds more repentance than anything in the world besides.
To those who believe in Jesus, he will send the Holy Spirit to lead them
in the way everlasting.
Introduction: This is the voice of
mercy, anxious about each individual. It is Jehovah’s words.
1. What? Return! This includes
Stopping. Turning around. Hastening back.
2. When? Now! Every step away
makes it more difficult to return, and there’s no promise for future
3. Who? Every one! We’re more
apt to notice our neighbor’s sin than our own, but each of us must give
an account for ourselves.
4. From What? His evil way!
There is none good, not one.
5. To What? Ways and doings
that are good! Negative religion is not enough, there must be positive
repentance is of utmost importance, and practical repentance is an
absolute necessity. (Charles Spurgeon's Sermon Notes 0091 -
See also Spurgeon's Sermon notes on
Isaiah 55:7 Repentance
Jonah 3:4 The Ninevites' Repentance
Mark 14:72 Fountains of Repentant Tears
Rev16:8-9 Repentance which Glorifies God
And I will multiply the fruit of the
tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more
reproach of famine among the heathen. (31) Then shall ye remember your
own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe
yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities, and for your
abominations. — Ezekiel 36:30, 31
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Ezek. 36:30, 31
Mistaken Notions About Repentance
by C H Spurgeon
THE day of manifested mercy is to be
the day of hearty repentance.
"Then." When God loads you with benefits you shall loathe yourselves.
The Lord speaks as one who is supreme in the region of free agency, and
able to work his will with human minds: "Then shall ye," etc.
His processes of grace are such as, in the nature of things, lead up to
the end which he proposes.
He declares that he will conquer by love — love so wonderful that the
objects of it must of necessity yield to its power, and change their
minds and their conduct.
Repentance is wrought in the heart by a sense of love divine.
This sets repentance in its true light, and helps us to meet a great
many mistakes which have darkened this subject. Many are kept from
Christ and hope by misapprehensions of this matter. They have:
I. MISTAKEN IDEAS OF WHAT
They confound it with:
1. Morbid self-accusation, which is the fruit of dyspepsia, or
melancholy, or insanity. This is an infirmity of mind, and not a grace
of the Spirit. A physician may here do more than a divine.
2. Unbelief, despondency, despair:
which are not even a help to repentance, but tend rather to harden the
3. Dread of hell, and sense of wrath:
which might occur even to devils, and yet would not cause them to
repent. A measure of this may go with repentance, but it is no part of
4. Satanic temptations. These are by
no means like to repentance, which is the fruit of the Spirit.
5. A complete knowledge of the guilt
of sin; which even advanced saints have not yet obtained.
6. Entire abstinence from all sin — a
consummation devoutly to be wished, but by no means included in
It is a hatred of evil, a sense of shame, a longing to avoid sin,
wrought by a sense of divine love.
II. MISTAKEN IDEAS OF THE
PEACE WHICH REPENTANCE OCCUPIES.
1. It is looked upon by some as a procuring cause of grace, as if
repentance merited remission: a grave error.
2. It is wrongly viewed by others as a preparation for grace; a human
goodness laying the foundation for mercy, a meeting of God half way;
this is a deadly error.
3. It is treated as a sort of qualification for believing, and even as
the ground for believing: all which is legality, and contrary to pure
4. Others treat it as the argument for peace of mind. They have repented
so much, and it must be all right. This is to build our confidence upon
a false foundation.
Repentance attends faith, and is a precious gift of the Spirit of God.
III. MISTAKEN IDEAS OF THE
WAY IN WHICH IT IS PRODUCED IN THE HEART.
It is not produced by a distinct and immediate attempt to repent.
Nor by strong excitement at revival meetings.
Nor by meditating upon sin, and death, and hell, etc.
But the God of all grace produces it:
1. By his free grace, which by its action renews the heart (verse 26).
2. By bringing his great mercy to our
3. By making us receive new mercy
4. By revealing himself and his
methods of grace (verse 32).
Every gospel truth urges repentance upon the regenerate. Election,
redemption, justification, adoption, eternal love, etc., are all
arguments for loathing every evil way.
Every gospel privilege makes us loathe sin: prayer, praise, the reading
of Scripture, the fellowship of saints, the table of the Lord, etc.
Every gospel hope puriles us from sin, whether it be a hope for more
grace in this world, or for glory in the next.
Oh, that we might feel the touch of love, and weep ourselves away for
having grieved our Lord! This would work in us a revenge against all our
sins, and lead us to entire consecration to our holy Lord.
There are no arguments like those that are drawn from the consideration
of the great and glorious things Christ hath done for you; and if such
will not take such will not take with you, and win upon you, I do not
think the throwing of hell-fire in your face will ever do it. —
God's loving-kindnesses and mercies do work more with sinners than his
judgments do. All the time the Jews were in Babylon, their hearts were
never so affected for their sins as after God brought them out, settled
them in Canaan, and showed much love unto them; then they should
remember their evil ways, before they minded them not; then they should
loathe themselves. Mercies in Zion are more efficacious with sinners
than judgments in Babylon; God's favor melts hard hearts sooner then the
fire of his indignation; his kindness is very penetrative, it gets into
the hearts of sinners sooner than his threats and frowns; it is like a
small soaking rain, which goes to the roots of things, whereas a dashing
rain runs away, and does little good. It was David's kindness that brake
the heart of Saul (1Sa 24); and it is God's kindness which breaks the
hearts of sinners. The milk and honey of the gospel affect the hearts of
sinners more than the gall and wormwood of the law; Christ on Mount Zion
brings more to repentance than Moses on Mount Sinai. — William
Cowper, the poet, in his own memoirs of his early life, describes
the time when he reflected on the necessity of repentance.
"I knew that many persons had spoken
of shedding tears for sin; but when I asked myself whether the time
would ever come when I should weep for mine, it seemed to me that a
stone might sooner do it. Not knowing that Christ was exalted to give
repentance, I despaired of ever attaining it."
A friend came to his bedside, and
declared to him the gospel. He insisted on the all-atoning efficacy of
the blood of Jesus, and his righteousness for our justification.
"Then;' says Cowper, "while I heard
this part of his discourse, and the Scriptures on which he founded it,
my heart began to burn within me; my soul was pierced with a sense of my
bitter ingratitude to so merciful a Savior; and those tears, which I
thought impossible, burst forth freely."
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I Will Leave
You Alone God...If... People who want nothing to do with God make
themselves candidates for His ultimate judgment. They spend their days
alienated from Him, and will spend eternity banished from God's presence
unless they repent.
Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States, was reared in
a godly home and admonished to accept Christ by his grand-father
Jonathan Edwards. But he refused to listen. Instead, he declared that
he wanted nothing to do with God and said he wished the Lord would leave
him alone. He achieved a measure of political success in spite of
repeated disappointments. But he was also involved in continuous strife.
When he was forty-eight years old, he killed Alexander Hamilton in a
duel. He lived for thirty-two more years, but was unhappy and
unproductive. During this sad chapter in his life he declared to a group
"Sixty years ago I told God that if
He would let me alone, I would let Him alone, and God has not bothered
about me since."
Aaron Burr got
what he wanted.
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Ybarra (Ed note: incorrectly) defined a Christian as a person who does
"repentance on a Sunday for what he did on Saturday and is going to do
True biblical repentance is never that short-lived; it is a complete
about-face. John challenged the Jews to prepare themselves for the
coming Messiah by turning from their sins to holiness. This meant
changing their minds and actions.
The sorry truth is that repentance has very little to do with crying our
eyes out. Repentant people may be tearful, but tearful people are not
always repentant. Repentance means turning around. It is a compass test;
does a person know how to go south after he or she has been going north?
God is sometimes described as repenting of His plans, such as with
Nineveh (Jonah 3:10), but this may be humanity's limited attempt to
explain the actions of an all-knowing God. What is significant, even if
from a human standpoint, is that God in His repentance makes a complete
U-turn, and this is a perfect model for us to follow.
Never-on-Sunday sinning is not what the Changemaker had in mind. Change
of heart means a change of life every day.
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repentance? And how do we know when it is genuine?
A man who came to see me said he felt so much guilt before he was saved
that he couldn't eat for days. Because he knew that I had not gone
through such an intense period of grief, he said he didn't think I had
Another man wept when he told me that his wife had left him because of
his drinking and infidelity. He tearfully professed faith in Jesus and
vowed to be done with his sinful lifestyle. But when his wife returned,
he soon went back to his old ways.
In a similar situation, a man confessed with little emotion what a
terrible sinner he was. He admitted his need for grace and received
Christ. That was the end of his old lifestyle. Which of these two men
Paul said godly sorrow for sin leads to salvation and a new life,
whereas the sorrow of the world - merely feeling bad about sin's
consequences - leaves a person unchanged and leads to death. True
repentance doesn't mean we never sin again. But if we admit that we are
helpless sinners, if we believe that Jesus died for our sins, if we are
trusting Him for salvation, and if we have a deep desire to live for
Him, our repentance is genuine. We have been forgiven.-- Herbert Vander
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
leaves the sin
That we had loved before,
With firm resolve to turn from it
And yield to it no more.-- Anon.
Repentance says, "I'm sorry," but also shows, "I'm through."