Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A false cry of repentance

Many under some sort of influence have made passionate declaration and resolutions, namely that they shall henceforth leave their sins and follow Jesus Christ. Such passionate cries as one writer puts it 'is raised in a storm and will die in a calm.' For when the terror of punishment abandons their soul, or the misery which brought them to call out to Christ is alleviated, they at once return to their old sins or embrace another.

They forget that repentance as one writer puts it 'is a grace of God's Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed.' This the angels in heaven rejoice for. They do not rejoice over one who makes a passionate cry with their mouth, but their actions are altogether like their old ways. Here there in no new cloth, only the old garment of unrighteousness.

God is not blind that he cannot see. It is true as one writer puts it that 'under a veil, a deformed face is hid; and persons are veiled over with ignorance and self-love; therefore they see not what deformed souls they have.' In our case it is that many have covered their deformed souls with their passionate cries of repentance. Such a cry never came from the heart, for only a regenerated soul can cry out for true repentance.

The sorrow for sin is superficial. It is worldly agony. It does not break the heart as to be willing to forsake sin for the nails of the cross. Rather than rending their hearts, they rend their voices. They only increase their confession but not the turning of their legs away from sin's path. It never grieves them that they have offended so good a God; such would never break their hearts. Only the fear of punishment or the loss of their worldly enjoyment causes them any true misery.

My dear friends, 'our hearts must go along with our confessions. The hypocrite confesses sin but loves it, like a thief who confesses to stolen goods, yet loves stealing. How many confess pride and covetousness with their lips but roll them as honey under their tongue.' 

O where is your heart dear Christian? Do you beat your breast and shed many a tear because of your sins. Even more do you wail in prayer because you have offended so good a God and considered Christ's blood not to be a precious thing. Or are you as many who only seeks righteousness because they want God to do something immediate for them and then after return to their sinful ways.

Is your sorrow as such as this golden writer puts it, namely that 'Our sorrow for sin must be such as makes us willing to let go of those sins which brought in the greatest income of profit or delight. The physic shows itself strong enough when it has purged out our diseases. The Christian has arrived at a sufficient measure of sorrow when the love of sin is purged out. '


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