Real Repentance 8

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; 9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.

So long as we are joined to the world; acting in the main for worldly ends; attached to its interest; oppressed with its cares, or devoted to its pleasures; we must either totally reject, or explain away the gospel. (Thomas Adam, Private Thoughts on Religion)

Who here today is not saved but could be before the service is over. Somebody here not churchy, not a good Bible person, does not live for the Lord; you are a half step from repentance. You are the person the Lord reaches a hand out to and says: “Are you ready? I am ready to forgive all.” (Anonymous Pastor)

Someone sent me a recording which I tried to write down with some degree of accuracy. I am sure it is not perfectly accurate, but it should be quite close. It is the quote from the anonymous pastor just above. Here is an example of what real repentance is not, though there are other issues as well. Notice the contrast between what the anonymous pastor (AP) says and what Thomas Adam says. True repentance and the Gospel of grace are really the same thing, though one looks at them differently. The soul that is joined to the world and has worldly ends and is devoted to its pleasures is not compatible with true repentance or the Gospel. The “invitation” that AP is giving is based on the ignorance of the person rather than a person seeking to know about the truth. The person that is seeking the world and ignoring the things of God is said to be but a half step from repentance, which is most likely thought of as turning from not praying to praying a prayer.

AP is essentially telling people that they don’t need to truly repent but all they need to do is to pray a prayer. After all, the Lord is said to be reaching out His hand to them and ready to forgive. On the other hand, in Luke 13:5 Jesus told the people after a tower fell on some that “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Jesus did not hold out His hand and tell them that He was ready to forgive, but instead He told them to repent or that they would perish. Neither did He preach to people and tell them that they could be saved before the service was over. Salvation is of the Lord and is not up to men in regard of its timing or whether God will save that person or not. God is sovereign and He saves by grace alone and He saves when He wants to save. He never asks whether a person is ready or not. It is the Lord Jesus who makes them ready or they will never be ready. Since He makes them ready, He knows if they are ready and it is not contingent on their will or sense of timing.

What AP is saying is quite the opposite of what men in history have taught. They taught that sinners must come to the Lord by seeking Him for a broken heart and to break them from all hope in themselves and that He would grant them a real repentance and a true and real faith which alone can come from a new heart. Sinners were not told that Christ was holding out His hand asking if they were ready and then He would forgive, but they were told that He was sovereign and would only forgive by grace alone. They were taught that they needed to have broken hearts in order to seek true grace and real repentance. While AP is certainly speaking in a way which can tug on the feelings of people in order to get them to pray a prayer, the hearts of these people (if they are as He is describing) are not ready for Christ at all. Christ must make the heart ready to be His home. They are not prepared by Christ by not going to church, not reading the Bible, and not living for the Lord. They cannot live for the Lord until they really repent. They are not ready for Christ if they are not going to hear preaching and not reading the Bible. Faith comes by hearing and not by ignoring.

This post was not meant to ridicule any pastor as such, but to use a situation that actually happened to make a point. Simply praying a prayer does not mean a person has repented in any way much less has the person really repented. In essence AP was telling sinners that it depended on them which shows that they had not repented of their pride and self-love, so there is no real repentance there either. Real repentance happens in the inner man and can only happen when God grants people repentance from self-love and self-sufficiency. The Lord Jesus Christ does not stand ready to forgive at any moment a person decides to pray a prayer, but instead He must make the person ready for Himself and that does not happen apart from real repentance from the heart. As long as self-love and self-sufficiency are in a person, those things rule the person and there is no room for Christ on the throne of that heart. Christ is King and He will tear self from the throne when He decides to take up residence there. Let us call on pastors to repent of teaching such things that leave men as ruler of their own hearts. In the thought (not exact quote) of Solomon Stoddard from centuries past, when men do not preach that the hearts of men must be prepared for Christ, it makes one wonder if they are converted themselves. If he was right, then the vast majority of the pulpits of this land appear to be filled with unconverted ministers.

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4 Responses to “Real Repentance 8”

  1. Jim Says:

    May it please the Lord to tear self from the throne of many and take up residence in the hearts of many such pastors. Oh Lord. Forgive them for they know not what the do. Glorify thy Son and let the converted declare the wander of the Gospel of this Jesus

  2. Patricia Mills Says:

    Once again I appreciate this sound teaching that ever drives me to search into my own heart.

  3. francis Says:

    He that has any ground to believe besides Christ himself, does he not make Christ imperfect, by adding some other thing to him?

  4. Frankie Cafazzo Says:

    18. Because Christ did all that was needful to be done to make us perfect, and present us holy. For what can be more required to the justification of a sinner before God than to be free from all sin? Is not he that is no sinner a righteous person? Must not he that is free from all sin, of necessity, appear just to Him that knows he is so as God does? It is all one to be free from sin and to be perfectly righteous. 1 Cor. 5:21; 1 John 1:7. There is no medium betwixt them: “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many: for he shall bear their iniquities.” So that His bearing their iniquity was that which did justify them; and by His knowledge He knew whose sins He bore, viz. whom He justified, Isa. 53:11.

    Christ Did This Work Upon The Cross

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