Tuesday, September 18, 2007


For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
(2 Corinthians 7:10 - ESV)

The first of Martin Luther’s 95 theses stated that, “the whole life of believers should be repentance”. We are not God, and so we are not perfect. Noted theologian R.C. Sproul has said something like, “The two commandments of Jesus are first that thou shalt love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and secondarily, your neighbor as yourself. Do you realize how many times in the last hour I have broken both of these commandments?”

As we become more like Christ, we will indeed realize how much further we actually have to go; in other words, the more light that you have shining on you, the more dust that you see on yourself, which is why repentance is ongoing. In order to see what constitutes “true” repentance, let’s take a look at some ways of “false” or “incomplete” repentance. In doing so, we will also see the facets of true repentance, which are italicized.

1. Confessing or repenting emotionally, but no change in action. You are only sorry. Your lips have no legs. You want out of trouble, but don’t want to have to go through trouble.

2. Changing of actions, but no change of heart. You clean the outside of the cup only. Behavior modification can be beneficial but sometimes it only covers up the greater sins. The sin you left behind was only a symptom, and it will pop up again in some other form unless true repentance is made.

3. Repenting of the fact, not repenting of the habit. This is related to #1.

4. Repenting without removal, not repenting by taking away the source of temptation. Related to #2 and #3. (Romans 13:14 / Ephesians 4:27). That is testing God not trusting God.

5. Repenting for fellowship with others, and not repenting for the love of God. If you turn from sin, but not to God, your sin will show up in another form, as we said earlier in #2.

6. Repenting for fear of consequences, not repenting for hatred of sin. You fear getting caught, not God. This is motivating, but it won’t be enough.

7. Repenting for gain alone, and not repenting for God’s glory. Related to #6.You only change for the benefit it gives to you. It is a motivation, but it won’t last if that is all there is. That is why some won’t repent, because they feel like they will lose more than they gain. They don’t want the trouble (see #1). To suffer loss by repenting and to still do it is true repentance.

8. Repenting generally, or of only the smaller sins, avoiding repenting of the greater sins. You are just going through the motions. Partial obedience is disobedience. It is not submission. You bring something to God and He says “what’s that behind your back?”

People today are mistaking apology and / or remorse for true repentance; we need to repent of repenting falsely! True repentance is given by God (Acts 11:18 / 2 Timothy 2:25), and this points out the status of a truly regenerate (saved) person, because the “believer” who professes but is not truly changed by God will not seek to mortify the deeds of the flesh, and is not convicted by the light of the Word, loving the darkness (John 3:19-21).

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Excellent post - this is something I have certainly been thinking about and examining in my own life and use frequently in counseling. My simple way of putting it to get the point across - "are you sorry you took the cookie out of the cookie jar or just sorry that you got caught?"

Even So... said...

It is a topic our lives must visit daily, and yet we stray from understanding it...

Rileysowner said...

Good post. It has been a while since I have been able to read here regularly, or post on my own blog regularly. It is always a blessing to be challenged by your posts.