Mistaken Notions About Repentance

30 I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations. Ezekiel 36:30-31 (NASB) 

The following is partially adapted from a sermon by C.H. Spurgeon titled “Mistaken Notions About Repentance.”

Some have defined repentance as, “a change of mind.” Others add, “with resultant change in actions.” Others believe it is anguish and grief over sin. Others believe it is the same thing as belief. What is repentance? Repentance is wrought in the heart by a sense of love divine. In other words, it is the product of a work of God in the heart. If we hold this view of repentance we see it in its true light. This 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.

If this is so then a right understanding of repentance is crucial to people coming to faith in Christ. Some confound it with morbid self-accusation. This is the fruit of some mental infirmity in which guilt has gotten out of control in the afflicted one’s heart. This is more a medical condition in which a physician may here do more than a preacher. Others mistake repentance for unbelief, despondency, or despair. These things are of no use in repentance, but in fact, tend to harden the heart. Others mistake repentance for a dread of hell, or a sense of wrath. These may go with repentance, but is is no part of it. True repentance is a hatred of evil, accompanied by a sense of shame and a longing to avoid sin. This repentance is wrought only by a sense of divine love.  View article →