Chapter 15, Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation

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  1. Such of the Elect as are converted at riper years, having sometimes lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their Effectual Calling giveth them Repentance unto Life. (Titus 3:2-5)

Repentance and faith are like two sides of a coin, and we notice the Confession places the chapter on repentance immediately following faith; the two are inseparably connected. John Murray puts it this way: “The faith that is unto salvation is a penitent faith and the repentance that is unto life is a believing repentance.”[1]  Saving faith receives and rests on Christ for salvation from God’s wrath for sin; thus saving faith by its very nature it oriented around the problem of sin. And true repentance unto life and salvation is sorrowful for sin, while at the same time full of faith that forgiveness will come through the gospel. “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10 ESV). And so we understand faith and repentance go together like a hand in a glove.

This chapter should clear up several common misconceptions about repentance, and brings about a sound biblical understanding of it. Sadly, there is a lot of confusion and ignorance in the church in general about repentance. The word itself sometimes carries unbiblical baggage in the minds of many, coming from various sources, such as: characterizations from the world, abuses by the Roman Church, or Perfectionism from the cultic Mormons or holiness sects. Repentance is very much central to the gospel since it is tied closely to faith, and is very much a part of biblical gospel preaching, and so it is essential we have a biblical view and perspective of repentance.

The 1689 Confession breaks from the Westminster Confession of Faith to a large extent, though not entirely, and adopts wording from the Congregationalist Savoy Declaration. In addition, the wording of the first paragraph is not the easiest to immediately grasp. So we will take it slowly and get some help. The 1689 Confession begins: Such of the elect as are converted at riper years. By this, we know that the Confession is speaking of a particular category of the elect, not all of the elect: only those who are converted when they are older. But why the limited focus on those converted at riper years?  Is not repentance equally applicable to all conversions?  The Confession immediately notes that these riper converts [have] sometimes lived in the state of nature and therein served divers lusts and pleasures. Thus, the later in life one is converted, the longer one has to serve various lusts and pleasures. In contrast, those who are converted at a young age have had less time to serve their lusts.  Let’s continue: God in their effectual calling giveth them repentance unto life. At first, by itself, this seems odd since surely all God’s elect are given repentance unto life in effectual calling. In other words, it is not just the older that need repentance unto life—all the elect need it. That is not in dispute by the Confession. When we consider the whole context, this paragraph is focused on the unique situation of the older convert, which generally speaking, has more to repent of. This weight of sin may result in what Waldron calls “a crisis experience” of repentance—a crisis experience less likely to occur in the younger convert, say, the young person raised in a Christian home. To be clear, all converts—young and old—are effectually called and given repentance unto life. Repentance will not be experienced at the same crisis level for every convert. Presumably, the crisis of repentance will be greater in those who have committed more actual sin. And certainly, the older convert who had been indulging on various lusts and pleasures of sin will exude a more drastic lifestyle or behavioral change in their repentance.

Scripture states: “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:3-5 ESV). The Scripture here certainly speaks ultimately of all elect sinners, but it is especially applicable to those who are converted when older. The young person raised in a Christian home who is converted at a young age is less likely to identify with this to the same extent as the older sinner. Outwardly, the change in lifestyle of the young converts will not presumably be as drastic as the one who has developed more sinful behaviors over the course of their riper life. Okay, so hopefully we have not belabored this older versus younger convert distinction. Let’s reach out for some additional insight into this paragraph. Samuel Waldron states in his, A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, the following:

“The Confession makes this distinction out of a desire to distinguish repentance as a crisis experience from repentance as an ordinary grace. All believers are marked by ordinary grace, but not all believers will know, or need to know, repentance as a crisis experience.

I believe our Baptist forefathers had several practical concerns in making this distinction. Chiefly, they wanted to make sure that no one could accuse them of believing that that all Christians must have a crisis conversion like that of the Philippian jailor. They were saying, “Though we insist emphatically on personal conversion, we understand that the experience of a child raised in a Christian home may be quite different from that of one who is converted without the benefit of Christian nurture as a child.” Both converts will experience repentance, but both may not have a crisis conversion experience.

The practical applications of this are various and important. Do not doubt your salvation merely because you lack a crisis experience like that of some respected brother or sister in the Lord. Do not demand of others a certain type of conversion experience as a necessary mark of true grace. An emotional earthquake, radical, external changes in one’s life-style, knowing the exact time of one’s rebirth, an extended work of conviction by the law, immediate sudden joy—all of these may accompany conversion, but none are necessary marks of true repentance.” [2]

In the end, this paragraph is not establishing a doctrinal or theological distinction between repentance in the young and old, rather it makes an experiential distinction—an experiential distinction which is likely to lead to a misunderstanding of the nature of repentance. Thus, the riper convert’s experience, even if it is a grand testimony of God’s grace, does not set the bar for what repentance looks like experientially in all converts. This clarification regarding repentance will serve us well as we seek to understand the nature of repentance, and as we disciple converts of all ages and experience.

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  1. Whereas there is none that doth good, and sinneth not; and the best of men may through the power, and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them, with the prevalency of temptation, fall into great sins, and provocations; God hath, in the Covenant of Grace, mercifully, provided that Believers so sinning, and falling, be renewed through Repentance unto Salvation. (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Luke 22:31, 32)

The Confession states: Whereas there is none that doth good and sinneth not. This is is from two biblical passages: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not (Ecclesiastes 7:20 KJV).  As well: “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12 KJV). This establishes the baseline or universal reality of all mankind. From this point, the Confession continues: and the best of men may, through the power and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them, with the prevalency of temptation, fall into great sins and provocations. Thus, since no one does only good and never sins, it follows that this sinful reality applies even to the best of men. We know from chapters 6, 9, and 13 that even in the regenerate there remains corruption from the fall. That corruption holds a powerful sway and is deceitful. It makes things seem good and desirable that is evil and harmful. It deceives us by making sin attractive, when beneath its thin veneer is hideous. But we do not see it because we are deceived by remaining corruption. Thus, even the best of godly men and women may be deceived and fall into great sin, and this situation is aggravated by the temptation so prevalent or common place in the world. The resulting sin may be great (serious). Provocations means ‘provoking of God’ in the plural (more than once). Scripture is clear that evil actions provoke God to wrath.[3] This is what Moses says of the people of Israel: “For I know that after my death you will surely act corruptly and turn aside from the way that I have commanded you. And in the days to come evil will befall you, because you will do what is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deut. 31:29 ESV).

Regarding these great sins and provocations, the Confession adds: God hath, in the Covenant of Grace, mercifully, provided that believers so sinning, and falling, be renewed through repentance unto salvation. We see that the covenant of grace mercifully provides for the renewal of believers who greatly sin in Jeremiah 32:40: “I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me” (ESV).  The covenant is also mentioned in Jeremiah 31:31-34. In Jeremiah 32:40, we see God putting his fear in them “that they may not turn from God.”  We do not see a promise in the covenant that these will not sin.  So assuming that these in the everlasting covenant may sin greatly, yet still they will be renewed through repentance, and will not permanently turn away from God.  We also see the provision for renewal in the New Testament: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 ESV).

The fact that renewal is needed for sin, implies that sin does something damaging which requires renewal. Thus there is no license to sin just because there is provided renewal through repentance. No, there are serious consequences for sin (17:3b). Those who continue in sin, never to be renewed through repentance show themselves to be outside of the covenant of grace (18:1). “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21 ESV). “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Heb. 10:26-27 ESV). Thus, it is gravely dangerous to continue in sin and provocations with the assumption that you will eventually repent. The warning for those who continue in sin without repenting have a grave warning from Hebrews: “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned” (Hebrews 6:4-8 ESV). Thus, the temporary believer who backslides cannot be renewed through repentance. We can hardly over emphasize the importance that believers repent of their backsliding sin today—now! Sin is deceitful, and the longer one remains in it, the more danger and peril there is for that soul.

A true believer, who is in the covenant of grace, may not repent immediately; he or she may go through an extensive period of backsliding, but eventually their repentance will come, and they will be renewed through repentance. We see this reflected in Jesus’ words to Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32 ESV). We are unable to judge the backslider’s true state, whether in Christ or not; but given the provision in the covenant of grace, we are assured true believers will be renewed through repentance eventually; we hope sooner than later. As an aside, this provision of future renewal does not exclude church discipline for sin, and in fact, church discipline may be the very means God uses to bring them to repentance again. Restoration through repentance is the primary goal of church discipline.

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  1. This saving Repentance is an evangelical Grace, whereby a person being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by Faith in Christ, humble himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency; praying for pardon, and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things. (Zechariah 12:10; Acts 11:18; Ezekiel 36:31; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Psalms 119:6; Psalms 119:128)

This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin. Samuel Waldron helpfully states: “What error is being refuted when it is asserted that repentance is an evangelical grace?”  Berkhof remarks, ‘Lutheran’s are wont to stress the fact that repentance is wrought by the law and faith by the gospel.’ Repentance, according to the Confession, is not a natural fear produced on fallen human nature, by the law. It is a gift in demand of gospel grace.”[4]  It is called an evangelical grace because it has to do with the preaching of the gospel, that is, evangelism.  Repentance is a necessary part of the external gospel call (repent and believe). When the evangelistic call of the gospel goes out, and the elect person is effectually called by it, the Holy Spirit causes him or her to be made aware (sensible) of their multitude of various sins (manifold evils of his [or her] sin). Repentance is constantly connected to the preaching of the gospel, and is very much a commandment to the hearers. John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles preached repentance and faith as a gospel command. Sometimes only repentance is mentioned (Matt. 3:2; Acts 5:31), sometimes only faith (John 3:16; Acts 16:31), sometimes both (Mark 1:15), but implied within faith is repentance, and implied in repentance is faith. Notice in Peter’s sermon the emphasis on repentance bringing forgiveness of sins: “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31 ESV). Implied within the call to repent, is faith—that penitent faith.

What does this saving repentance look like? The Confession states that when the Spirit makes the sinner aware of his or her many evils of the sin, that he or she doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency; praying for pardon, and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things. This describes the character or nature of saving repentance; that supernatural grace that cannot be genuinely replicated by the mere will of man. Saving repentance is not merely a turning from, say, the sin of drunkenness, out of a desire for a better life. That change may nothing to do with repentance and faith in Christ. There are plenty of unconverted drunkards coming out of treatment centers who remain sober. We are always happy for such changes in a person overcome such sin by common grace, but that is not the same thing as the special grace or evangelical grace of saving repentance.

Notice that this repentance is done by faith in Christ. This repentance has as its object, faith in Christ, and so the repentance occurs “by faith.”  Faith is very much present and acting in this saving repentance. Regarding faith and repentance, John Murray states: “The question has been discussed: which is prior, faith or repentance?  It is an unnecessary question and the insistence that one is prior to the other is futile. There is no priority. The faith that is unto salvation is a penitent faith and the repentance that is unto life is a believing repentance.”[5]  Thus we need not spending time looking for the order in salvation of faith and repentance, but nonetheless, the link of the evangelical grace of saving repentance to faith is critical. Murray adds: “But if faith is directed to salvation from sin, there must be hatred of sin and the desire to be saved from it. Such hatred of sin involves repentance which essentially consists in turning from sin unto God.”[6]  The connection then of faith and repentance is unbreakable and must be present in preaching the only biblical gospel.

Let’s explore briefly each aspect of repentance described here in the Confession. In repentance, the sinner humbles himself for it. The pronoun “it” refers back tothe manifold evils of sin.”  We see Christ speaking of the humbled sinner on the street corner, who could not even lift his face to heaven for his shame. He had a clear sense of his sin, and he humbled himself for it (Luke 18:9-14). This humility is accompanied with godly sorrow. The sorrow has a faith-filled hope in the promise of forgiveness in Christ. The sinner also has a detestation of it (sin), and self-abhorrency for his or her sin. The converted sinner detests and despises his sin; it is loathsome, and thus the sinner even abhors himself for his sin. This self-abhorrence is not nihilistic and destructive worldly sorrow. It does not lead one to suicide, or mental instability, for it is a godly sorrow, which looks to Christ for forgiveness in the midst of self-abhorrence; it contains hope and brings life. “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10 ESV). The Confession continues: praying for pardon. Because of the hope of pardon, the repentant sinner full of faith asks for pardon.

Repentance is not merely looking for pardon, but it also seeks to cease the manifold evils of sin, and thus the repentant sinner also prays for strength of grace to turn from and cease practicing his or her sin. The sought for strength of grace is with a purpose and endeavour by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things. A godly, sorrowful repentance not only looks to Christ in faith for forgiveness, but also looks for his help, by the supplies of grace given by the Spirit to cease sinning. Repentance is not to be merely an emotional sense of sorrow for sin, but a repentance which endeavors to obey God looking forward. We are told in Scripture that repentance should bear fruit: “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8 ESV). And, “that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance” (Acts 26:20b ESV).

It is important that while we endeavor to no longer practice sin that we do so with a sincere desire and genuine purpose to endeavor to bear fruit. We must not miss this important part of genuine repentance. However, we may not meet with the success we would like to see. This “purpose and endeavor…to walk before God” in a pleasing manner should not be confused with perfectionism in repentance. It is true that repentance is a call to endeavor to take practical and diligent steps to avoid the same sin and all sin in the future, yet a biblical repentance is not one that is seen as perfect. We are responsible for our sin, and there is no license for sin implied, at all. But until all corruption is taken out of us in glory, we will still struggle with sin in general, and may even fall into particular sins—sins which easily ensnare us often—habitual sins we had repented of, and hoped we would never repeat. But a struggle against sin is just that; we continually fight against sin even when we at times lose battles with it. We do not give up just because we will not have a full success here and now.  No. We continually wage that war against sin which wages war against us. This war is not fought in our own strength, but with the supplies given to us by the Spirit. The Perfectionism refuted by the Confession in 13:2, tends to view repentance as one time thing—sin is never to be repeated from that time forward, but that is not the biblical teaching. Yes, we should be adding moral excellence and making progress, and if we are not there may be issues that need addressed. But how miserable are those who think that perfectionism is possible in this life, especially since they never attain to it (and never will). The ongoing struggle against sin, and failures, require that we continually repent, and that moves us nicely into to the next paragraph.

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  1. As Repentance is to be continued through the whole course of our lives, upon the account of the body of death, and the motions thereof; so it is every man’s duty, to repent of his particular known sins, particularly. (Luke 19:8; 1 Timothy 1:13, 15)

The Confession begins this paragraph by stating: As repentance is to be continued through the whole course of our lives, upon the account of the body of death, and the motions thereof. The Confession first states what is required: repentance during our entire lives on earth, and then it states the reason. The reason is due to the remaining corruption which manifests itself in our body of death. Thus, the Confession rejects the idea of a perfect, one time repentance of the sinner. In other words, since perfection will never come in this life, we will continually sin, and thus we must continually repent. The “body of death” is a phrase used by Paul in Romans 6:6; we previously spoke about this phrase; it refers to the remaining corruption which is throughout our entire faculties, but that corruption particularly manifests itself through our bodies and the parts or members (see commentary of Chapter 13:2). By “the motions therof,” the Confession means that the remaining corruption is the motion or the impetus behind and underlying the sinful actions expressed through our bodies.

On the basis of this remaining corruption and the actions of it in our body of death, so it is every man’s duty to repent of his particular known sins particularly. We do not generally speak of repenting of our imputed guilt and corruption (6:2); rather, we repent of our actual sins which flow from our imputed corruption (6:2). In other words, we cannot repent of our imputed guilt and conveyed corruption, for it is with us until death. But we it is our duty to repent of our actual sins. The Confession implies here that we ought to confess our general sinfulness to God—those sins which we commit on a daily basis, including sins we are unaware that we commit. In the words of a Puritan prayer: “Thou…seest more defilement in my duties than I ever saw in any of my sins.”[7] But we are particularly, that is, we are especially to repent of the specific sins we knowingly commit. This phrase, “repent of particular sins particularly” has the feel of an idiom, but regardless, the meaning is plain: general confession of sin is needed for our unknown sins, and especially for specific sins we knowingly and willfully commit. The Confession lists as a proof-text 1 Timothy 1:13-15. “Though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (ESV). We can see Paul’s acknowledgement in the passage that he sinned in ignorance, and God had mercy on Paul for that. But the Confession points particularly to repentance for sin for which we are not ignorant.

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  1. Such is the provision which God hath made through Christ in the Covenant of Grace, for the preservation of Believers unto Salvation, that although there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; yet there is no sin so great, that it shall bring damnation on them that repent; which makes the constant preaching of Repentance necessary. (Romans 6:23; Isaiah 1:16-18; Isaiah 55:7)

Such is the provision which God hath made through Christ in the covenant of grace for the preservation of believers unto salvation. The Confession has already stated in paragraph 2 that God as mercifully provided in the covenant of grace that believer’s be renewed through repentance unto salvation. That is the means for renewal: repentance. But here the Confession explicitly points out that this provision is not merely a means for renewal, but an assured means for preservation unto salvation. In other words, the believer will be renewed through repentance, ensuring their preservation unto salvation (See Jer. 32:40; 1689, 172b). We could perhaps have inferred that from paragraph 2, but here it is said directly.

We will remember that the covenant of works has no such provision for repentance; rather only perfect obedience or damnation. In that light, the provision in the covenant of grace which permits repentance for grace shines forth gloriously. But to add to that the promise that the believer will indeed make use of the provision unto his eternal salvation again highlights the wonderful nature of the covenant of grace. Thus the covenant of grace ensures the preservation of the believer unto salvation until they safely arrive in that heavenly kingdom.

As if to emphasize the high degree of grace in that covenant, the Confession indicates that although there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; yet there is no sin so great, that it shall bring damnation on them that repent. This statement emphasizes both the seriousness of sin (i.e. small or great sin deserves damnation), and the contrasting (“yet”) provision for the preservation of believers unto salvation (despite deserved damnation). The provision for the preservation of the believer unto salvation is repentance. Or stated differently, the means of the preservation is repentance. Thus, by the provision in the covenant of grace, which God has provided in Christ, salvation from small or great sins is secured through repentance. Scripture tells us:  “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7 ESV). If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 ESV). God has promised to forgive us if we “confess” our sins—another way of saying if we “repent” of our sins (repentance as defined in paragraph 3).

Now, the fact that this preserving unto salvation is framed in terms of repenting, not faith, may bring about some conflict in our minds. But we will recall from paragraph 3 that the person made sensible of their sin “doth by faith in Christ” humble, detest sin, endeavor to walk pleasingly to God, etc. Thus, repentance is essentially a “penitent faith,” to borrow John Murray’s phrase. A thorough-going statement on the topic of the believer’s preservation or perseverance is found in chapter 17, “Of the Perseverance of the Saints,” and there one will find also the presence of faith, but also repentance in the persevering of the saint unto salvation.

Given the critical role of repentance, it makes the constant preaching of repentance necessary. Just as David did not repent until confronted by the prophet, so also the believer may need to be called to repent. Preaching of repentance is the primary means God uses to bring repentance. One will observe the emphasis on repentance in Reformed church liturgy and preaching; that is because theology drives methodology.

We have been taught in this chapter that a faith-filled repentance is necessary for salvation, and that through the special grace of effectual calling, repentance is granted to all God’s elect. And whether that repentance is a crisis experience in those of riper years due to compounded actual sins, or whether the repentance is more subdued in those who are perhaps younger—having practiced actual sin to a lesser degree; nonetheless, genuine repentance will occur in all those effectually called. Repentance is a sorrowful hatred of sin, and repentance intentionally purposes and endeavors after new obedience by the Spirit’s help, so that we may walk before God in a pleasing manner. Repentance is not a one-time action at conversion, but continues throughout the whole life due to the remaining corruption which manifests itself in the body of sin. And we see that the elect shall never be lost due to backsliding, because of the provision in the covenant of grace which assures God will renew the believer through repentance unto salvation. And finally, because repentance is so essential to renewal in our life with God—given the prevalence of sin in our lives—the church must constantly preach it.

Repentance has never been a doctrine well-received by sinners, and sometime by the saints, but it is an essential doctrine that deserves serious attention. Thomas Watson penned these comforting words to remind us of the need for repentance:

REPENTANCE seems to be a bitter pill to take, but it is to purge out the bad humour of sin. By some Antinomian spirits it is cried down as a legal doctrine; but Christ himself preached it. `From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent,’ &c. Matt iv I7. In his last farewell, when he was ascending to heaven, he commanded that `Repentance should be preached in his name.’ Luke xxiv 47. Repentance is a pure gospel grace. The covenant of works would not admit of repentance; it cursed all that could not perform perfect and personal obedience. Gal iii 10. Repentance comes in by the gospel; it is the fruit of Christ’s purchase that repenting sinners shall be saved. It is wrought by the ministry of the gospel, while it sets before our eyes Christ crucified. It is not arbitrary, but necessary; there is no being saved without it. `Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’ Luke xiii 3. We may be thankful to God that he has left us this plank after shipwreck.[8]

We end this chapter with a wonderful example of repentance. This Puritan prayer is from The Valley of Vision:

PENITENCE[9]

O LORD OF GRACE,

  • I have been hasty and short in private prayer,
  • 0 quicken my conscience to feel this folly,
  • To bewail this ingratitude;
  • My first sin of the day leads into others,
  • And it is just that thou shouldst withdraw
  • Thy presence
  • From one who waited carelessly on thee.
  • Keep me at all times from robbing thee,
  • And from depriving my soul of thy due worship;
  • Let me never forget
  • That I have an eternal duty to love, honour
  • And obey thee,
  • That thou art infinitely worthy of such;
  • That if I fail to glorify thee
  • I am guilty of infinite evil that merits infinite punishment,
  • For sin is the violation of an infinite obligation.
  • O forgive me if I have dishonoured thee,
  • Melt my heart, heal my backslidings,
  • And open an intercourse of love.
  • When the fire of thy compassion warms my
  • Inward man,
  • And the outpourings of thy Spirit fill my soul,
  • Then I feelingly wonder, at my own depravity,
  • And deeply abhor myself;
  •  Then thy grace is a powerful incentive
  • To repentance,
  • And an irresistible motive to inward holiness.
  • May I never forget that thou hast my heart
  • In thy hands.
  • Apply to it the merits of Christ’s atoning blood
  • Whenever I sin.
  • Let thy mercies draw me to thyself.
  • Wean me from all evil, mortify me to the world,
  • And make me ready for my departure hence
  • Animated by the humiliations of penitential love.
  • My soul is often a chariot without wheels,
  • Clogged and hindered in sin’s miry clay;
  • Mount it on eagle’s wings
  • And cause it to soar upward to thyself.[10]  Amen.

————————————–

[1] John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1955), 113.

[2] Samuel Waldron, A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press: 1989), 196-7.

[3] We need to understand the language there in light of God’s impassibility; it is an anthropopathism; God is not literally moved from one emotive state to another for God is immutable and without passions (See 2:1 “without…passions”).

[4] Samuel Waldron, A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press: 1989), 198.

[5] John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1955), 113.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 38.

[8] T Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (1692, reprinted, Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1997), 205.

[9] Penitence means ‘regret or sorrow for sin.’

[10] Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 164-5.

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