If any shall say they have repented, let me desire them to try themselves seriously by those seven…effects of repentance which the Apostle lays down in 2 Corinthians 7:11.
1. Carefulness: The Greek word signifies a solicitous diligence or careful shunning [of] all temptations to sin. The true penitent flies from sin as Moses did from the serpent (Ex. 4:3).
2. Clearing of ourselves: The Greek word is apology. The sense is this: though we have much care, yet through strength of temptation we may slip into sin. Now in this case, the repenting soul will not let sin lie festering in his conscience, but judges himself for his sin. He pours out tears before the Lord. He begs mercy in the name of Christ and never leaves until he has gotten his pardon. Here he is cleared of guilt in his conscience and is able to make an apology for himself against Satan.
3. Indignation: He that repents of sin, his spirit rises against it, as one’s blood rises at the sight of him whom he mortally hates. Indignation is a being fretted395 at the heart with sin. The penitent is vexed with himself. David calls himself a fool and a beast (Ps. 73:22). God is never better pleased with us than when we fall out with ourselves for sin.
4. Fear: A tender heart is ever a trembling heart. The penitent has felt sin’s bitterness. This hornet has stung him and now, having hopes that God is reconciled, he is afraid to come near sin any more. The repenting soul is full of fear. He is afraid to lose God’s favor, which is better than life. He is afraid he should, for want396 of diligence, come short of salvation. He is afraid lest, after his heart has been soft, the waters of repentance should freeze and he should harden in sin again. “Happy is the man that feareth alway” (Pro 28:14)…A repenting person fears and sins not; a graceless person sins and fears not.