Real Repentance 28

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.

Pride is seeing the defects of others, and overlooking our own. Humility is seeing, feeling, and lamenting sin in ourselves; not only past, but present sin; not only actual sin, but the root of it in an evil nature, and all sin without disguise or extenuation, in all its guilt and malignity. (Thomas Adam, Private Thoughts on Religion)

No man is humbled or sincere with God, till he is willing to know the worst of himself. (Thomas Adam, Private Thoughts on Religion)

The statement or quote just above is a very tough statement for our hearts to deal with. We want to know just enough of ourselves to think of ourselves as sinful because we know that we are supposed to do so, but to want to know or at least to be willing to know the worst of ourselves is a much different thing. It may be that we can even desire to know bad things of ourselves so that we can boast before others what God has shown us, but that is still not a willingness to know the worst of ourselves. The heart has so many crevices and abysses to hide itself from ourselves that it takes a lot of light and digging to uncover the worst of ourselves as the heart wants to be hidden in the darkness. The depths of self-love and pride are beyond our understanding and we always want to protect self in ways that perhaps we don’t understand. The heart of man seems to always be in a self-defensive posture.

It is not “natural” for a soul to want to see itself in the blazing light of holiness, but the heart that loves holiness will have some desire to see itself as it is in order to repent of those sins. It is easy to maintain a comfortable religion while just dealing with sins that we think are normal and does not take much discomfort to actually stop the sin or even deal with the sin enough in the heart to deceive ourselves. But can a person really be sincere with God until that person is willing to know the worst of self? Adam is hitting on an important point that souls can so easily deceive themselves over. It is also an important point in that souls can keep themselves comfortable and deceived in an unconverted state. A truly repentant state or a state of a regenerate heart is one that will grow in its repentance because it wants to be holy as He is holy.

Each soul should ask itself in the light of Scripture as it prays to God. Do I really want to know the worst of myself? Do I really want to see and know the depths of sin in my heart? Do I really want to know the extent of blackness that remains in my heart? If not, I just want to remain in a state of deception in order to remain comfortable while holding self in high regard and without a true love for God and holiness. Until the Lord Himself has humbled our soul and made us sincere in our walk with God, we are not truly willing to know ourselves which is the same thing as knowing the worst thing about ourselves. This is a terrible condition to be in, though it must be admitted that a person can be comfortable in it.

The soul that longs for true holiness is a person that will long to know things about its own heart so that it may deal with sin as it is. The soul that longs for true holiness out of love for God will know from past experience how painful it is for the Lord to open up the blackness and vileness of its own heart, but it wants to walk with God and it wants to be free from the sin which binds it in ways it does not know at the moment. Oh the depths of the sin of our hearts and the depths of our self-love which constantly deceives us to that depths of sin!

When we see that we are sinners by nature and that we are sinners by practice we see ourselves with horror and agony of soul, but there is much more to come. We will constantly cry out as the tax collector did as he would not even look up, “’God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’” We will cry out with David for the Lord to know our hearts. We will begin to see things in ourselves that we have accused others of and despised others over. We will begin to see mass hypocrisy and religiosity in our own hearts. We will want to cover our mouths in order never to utter a word again when we see our mouths as an the outpouring of a cesspool of sin in the heart. We will be cast upon Christ for free-grace and we will not trust in our own self-wrought repentance of faith. We will want nothing but free-grace.

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