Real Repentance 24

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.

There may be an abiding consciousness of sin, with self-condemnation, where there is not the least degree of self-indignation, or self-abhorrence. Humility is knowing that we are not humble. (Thomas Adam, Private Thoughts on Religion)

It is a tremendous thought that sheds a lot of light when we see that a large part of true humility is to know that we are not truly humble and perhaps far from a perfect humility. In this life there is always room to grow in humility. The unregenerate heart is blinded and deceived by a selfish heart which is a heart that is full of pride and self-love. The proud heart can easily be deceived into thinking that it is humble by a mere show or outward form of humility, or perhaps by thinking that is not as proud as others. The religious but unconverted person will strive for humility in all the power of a natural man trying to be religious, but it cannot work. Until God regenerates a soul and works real repentance in that soul, no soul can have the least amount of true humility because true humility can only come to the soul that has the life of Christ in him or her.

This is so vital for people to grab a hold of. Yes, it is true that we must have humility to receive grace. Yes, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. But if grace could come to those who could work up grace on their own, then grace would come as a result of works. All a person would have to do is to work up humility as if it could come as a result of a human work of pride and self-love, and God would give grace. This is plainly absurd to reason and nauseating to those who love the free grace of God. The soul must have a real repentance worked in it by grace in order for it to have true humility. True enough there is a working of the Spirit to bring the unregenerate man down and bring humble him in an outward way, but true humility can only be in the soul of a person that has truly repented of self and pride in the inward man.

Humility can be praised and not possessed. Humility can be sought after in the external and religious sense and yet hated in the inward man. As the only sovereign the one and true God has a right over each and ever person to all they are and to all they think and do. As the only sovereign the one and true God can uphold or harden each person as He pleases. The natural man, whether religious or not, hates this and will not submit to it. The spiritual man hates the idea that he has not submitted to it more and wrestles with his own heart agonizing over the pride that he finds in it. The natural man (religious or not) does not see his own pride and as such does not see the hatefulness of his pride. The religious but unconverted person is seeking to be religious (perhaps even very religious) out of pride and as such is deceived about his or her religious actions and pride.

Oh how a man can stand in the pulpit and wax eloquent about Christ and his view of the gospel and become more and more proud of himself and what he thinks are the results of his orthodoxy. Oh how men who are full of themselves can be orthodox and be good or even great speakers and have hundreds or thousands following them, yet do nothing but deceive others and become more and more proud and full of themselves. Men can inspire the building of great edifices in the name of God and for His name while in their hearts they are seeking themselves and the aggrandizement of their own names. When men stand up to “preach” they are doing nothing but seeking the attention and honor of others for themselves. As the Pharisees prayed to get honor from men and did acts of righteousness to obtain that honor, so men use religion in our day to obtain honor for themselves. That is what their heart desires regardless of what comes out of their mouths.

The great need of human beings is for God to remove the blinders from their eyes that they can see how wicked they are in their self-love and pride. Then and only then can they seek a real repentance from their pride and be granted a humility to see that they are far from perfect humility. How men should long to be delivered from their pride which is a sign of true humility rather than thinking they have arrived at humility. That awful pride and self-love that fills their religious actions and moves them to their religion should be seen as the worst of sin rather than a mitigating factor. Oh how a soul should long for God to grant him or her real repentance from that cursed pride and love of self so that s/he could be free from that cursed self in a real repentance and be given a true humility. Oh how a humble soul will wrestle with its pride, yet the proud heart is blinded to it and so does not see the need of an inner and real repentance. Real repentance is rare in our day because few see the need for it and are deceived into thinking that their external acts of repentance are enough. How desperately we need a work of God in our day to awaken us to our great need of real repentance from our self, pride, false humility, and our religious self-righteousness. We must come to Him stripped of all self-righteousness and look to Christ alone for all things.

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