Real Repentance 34

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.

God never makes any man what he should be, without first making him know what he is. O God, take the veil from my heart; take the world, take pride, take self out of my heart, and write there all they laws, I beseech thee. (Thomas Adam, Private Thoughts on Religion)

The need to deal with issues of real repentance as opposed to one being deceived about repentance and an easy repentance which is a deception as well is a great need. It may be the case that we have a great need for a new Reformation and an awakening or revival (as leaders in the SBC stated), but we must also be aware that a real repentance is utterly vital for those things. Along with that it takes a real and true grace to bring those things to pass and free-grace (a grace that is not conditioned by the works of human beings or anything in the human) is the only kind of grace there is. Yes, God prepares the hearts of men and women and this is done as human beings seek the Lord asking Him to give them a new heart, but that is not even close to the same thing as telling people that if we repent the Lord will send an awakening. We must seek repentance from the Lord who only grants it by grace and that whether He sends a revival or not.

What men and women in our day must (absolutely must) get in touch with is that the duties and uses of the means of grace can also be nothing but pride and self-righteousness. When a man does something that he would call repenting, that repentance is either moved by God or by the self-love of the person. Since God only shows grace that is free of being conditioned by the works and merit of men, a true repentance can only come by His grace. Anything a person can do that comes from self-love and the merit obtained by self will never move God to show grace. This is a basic principle that we must never lose sight of.

Should the SBC seek the Lord for a true revival or awakening? Yes, they should. However, as a real skeptic regarding this, they SBC would have to seek the Lord to take the veil off of their hearts. If a revival or awakening is to come to parts of the SBC, they will have to know that they must seek the Lord to grant them repentance by grace from what they see if He is pleased to lift the veil. A true repentance is not in their hands or power to grant or work for themselves, which is a direct hit on the theology of those in the SBC. The first thing that they will have to repent of is their theology and the second thing is their practices of evangelism and church growth that flows from their theology. Arminian theology (at best) and Pelagian theology (most likely the what the greatest number hold) cannot and will not be the recipients of a true revival. It is that simple.

It may be that some of the leaders in the SBC would have to step down in order to seek real repentance from the Lord. It may be that many of the ministers of larger churches would have to step down in order to seek the Lord. The reason for that is that if they started preaching the truth of free-grace the people would not listen to them. If they started preaching the true Gospel the churches would empty quite quickly, but that may be necessary if the men want to seek the Lord in truth. Just because a “church” has a large number of people in it is no sign of the blessings of God. Just because a “church” has a large numbers of baptisms in one year is not a sign of the blessings of God. Those things may be signs that God is giving that “church” over because it has been preaching a false gospel that the people love to hear.

Will the leaders in the SBC really seek revival? Could it be that many of them would not want real revival if it came? It may be that they want a revival that they can control and that will make the numbers in the churches larger and the denomination more prosperous. True repentance that God works would empty the church buildings in the SBC unless the leaders repent of their theology and their practices. Preaching Christ is more than saying the word a few times and calling men to the front of the building, but instead one only preaches Christ when Christ is the center and core of all that is preached. Christ is only preached when the truth that Christ taught in preached. Christ is only preached when He is preached as the manifestation of the one and true God. Christ is only preached when the true God that is preached is sovereign. Christ is only preached when free-grace is preached. The SBC needs to learn what free-grace is, what true sovereignty is, and what real repentance is. When they learn those things in the depths of the hearts, then and only then will the talk of revival have any meaning. Until then, the talk of revival sounds more like another form of church growth.

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