Sinclair Ferguson – Faith & Repentance

When the gospel is proclaimed, it seems at first sight that two different, even alternative, responses are called for. Sometimes the summons is, “Repent!” Thus, “John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt. 3:1–2). Again, Peter urged the hearers whose consciences had been ripped open on the day of Pentecost, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). Later, Paul urged the Athenians to “repent” in response to the message of the risen Christ (Acts 17:30).

Yet, on other occasions, the appropriate response to the gospel is, “Believe!” When the Philippian jailer asked Paul what he must do to be saved, the Apostle told him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

But there is no mystery or contradiction here. Further on in Acts 17, we discover that precisely where the response of repentance was required, those who were converted are described as believing (Acts 17:30, 34).

To continue reading Sinclair Ferguson’s article, click here.

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Michael Lawrence – False Repentance Leads to False Conversions

Repenting means exchanging our idols for God. Before it’s a change in behavior, it must be a change in worship. How different that is from how we often think of repentance.

Too often we treat repentance as a call to clean up our lives. We do good to make up for the bad. We try to even the scale, or even push it back to the positive side. Sometimes we talk about repentance as if it were a really serious, religious New Year’s resolution:

“I’m not going to blow up at my kids anymore.”
“I’m not going to look at pornography ever again.”
“I’m never going to cheat on my hours at work.”
“I’m going to stop talking about my boss behind his back.”


But even if we clean up our behavior in one area or another, our hearts can still be devoted to our idols. The Pharisees illustrate this problem. They were the best-behaved people in Palestine, the kind of people you would have wanted for a neighbor. They never let their kids throw their bikes in your yard. They didn’t throw raucous parties and leave cigarette butts in your flowerbed. They always picked up after their dogs. They were upstanding people. But Jesus called them white-washed tombs: clean on the outside, corrupt on the inside (Matt. 23:27). The point is that it’s not just bad people who are idolaters. Good, moral, even religious people are idolaters too. Repentance isn’t the same thing as moral resolve.

To continue reading Michael Lawrence’s article, click here.

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A. W. Pink – Repentance: What Saith the Scriptures?


One of the Divinely predicted characteristics of the “perilous times” in which we are now living is that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). The deeper reference of these words is to spiritual seducers and deceivers. Men with captivating personalities, men who occupy a prominent place in Christendom, men with an apparently deep reverence for Holy Writ, are beguiling souls with fatal error. Not only are evolutionists, higher critics and modernists deluding multitudes of our young people with their sugar-coated lies, but some who pose as the champions of orthodoxy and boast of their ability to “rightly divide the Word of truth” are poisoning the minds of many to their eternal destruction.

Such a charge as we have just made is indeed a serious one, and one which is not to be readily received without proof. But proof is easily furnished. The Word of God teaches plainly that in this dispensation, equally with preceding ones, God requires a deep and sincere repentance before He pardons any sinner. Repentance is absolutely necessary to salvation, just as necessary as is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18). “For godly sorrow worketh repentance, not to be repented of” (2 Cor. 7:10). It is impossible to frame language more explicit than that. Therefore, in view of these verses, and others yet to be quoted, we cannot but sorrowfully regard those who are now affirming that repentance is not, in this dispensation, essential unto salvation, as being deceivers of souls, blind leaders of the blind.

To continue reading A. W. Pink’s article, click here.

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Robert Bolton – Heart Surgery

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Acts 2:37

In these words there is shown a thorough wounding of the hearts of these men when they had heard of the greatness of their sin. Therefore observe that contrition in a new-born soul ordinarily is in proportion to his former vanity. To whom much is forgiven, they love much: and this is a fountain of evangelical repentance. As a traitor condemned to die, receiving a pardon, would wonderfully break his heart to think he should be so villainous to so gracious a prince, so it is with a Christian that beholds God’s mercy to him.

Christians after their conversion desire to see their sins to the utmost, with all the circumstances that make them hateful, such as the object, nature, person, time, age, etc., in which, or how they were done, that so they may be more humbled for them.

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R. C. Sproul – What Does Repentance Look Like?

One of the penitential psalms, Psalm 51 was written by David after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan. Nathan declared that David had grievously sinned against God in the taking of Bathsheba to be his wife and in the murder of her husband, Uriah.

It’s important to see the anguish and heartfelt remorse expressed by David, but we must also understand that repentance of the heart is the work of God the Holy Spirit. David is repentant because of the influence of the Holy Spirit upon him. Not only that, but as he writes this prayer, he is writing it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit demonstrates in Psalm 51 how He produces repentance in our hearts. Keep this in mind as we look at the psalm.

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J. C. Ryle – Repentance, Faith, and Sin

Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3

First of all, what is repentance? Let us see that we set down our feet firmly on this point. The importance of the inquiry cannot be overrated.

Repentance is one of the foundation stones of Christianity. Sixty times, at least, we find repentance spoken of in the New Testament. What was the first doctrine our Lord Jesus Christ reached? We are told that He said, “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mar 1:15). What did the apostles proclaim when the Lord sent them forth the first time? They “preached that men should repent” (Mar 6:12). What was the charge that Jesus gave His disciples when He left the world? That “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations” (Luk 24:47). What was the concluding appeal of the first sermons that Peter preached? “Repent, and be baptized…Repent ye, and be converted” (Act 2:38; 3:19). What was the summary of doctrine that Paul gave to the Ephesian elders, when he parted from them? He told them that he had taught them publicly, and from house to house, “testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Act 20:21). What was the description that Paul gave of his own ministry, when he made his defense before Festus and Agrippa? He told them that he had showed all men that they should “repent, and do works meet for repentance” (Act 26:20). What was the account given by the believers at Jerusalem of the conversion of the Gentiles? When they heard of it, they said, “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (Act 11:18)…Surely, we must all agree that these are serious considerations. They ought to show the importance of the inquiry I am now making. A mistake about repentance is a most dangerous mistake. An error about repentance is an error that lies at the very roots of our religion. What, then, is repentance? When can it be said of any man that he repents?

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Mike Leake – How Our Unbiblical Views of Forgiveness Perpetuate Our Social Media Outrage

I’ve read quite a few articles lately about something sociologists are calling FOMO. That’s short for “fear of missing out”. It’s why you keep your phone with you all the time and are almost constantly checking out social media. But I can save you from FOMO…at least a little bit.

Here is what you are going to miss out on this week if you disengage for a little while. I don’t know the details but they don’t matter—or at least won’t matter once the next big story drops.

At some point this week somebody important is going to say something dumb and insensitive. Some people will laugh. Most will be outraged. This person is going to offer an apology. Depending on how much we liked this person in the first place, many will offer forgiveness. But some won’t “forgive” and will call for this person to face the consequences of their actions. Then they will get in trouble for being so unforgiving and not letting it go.

The cycle is predictable. I do something wrong. I say I’m sorry. You forgive me. We bury it in the depths of the sea…only we don’t actually bury in the depths of the sea and our relationship is awkward and strained for a lengthy season…but, hey, FORGIVENESS!!!!

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Michael Boling – If My People Who Bear My Name: Exposition of 2 Chronicles 7:14

“then, if my people, who bear my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

A new leader has assumed the office of the Presidency of the United States. While his assumption of power has not been without angst and outright anger (and unbridled destructive fury in some areas), we nevertheless have a new occupant of the White House.

Often when a period of newness or change such as this takes place, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is presented and rightly so. It is a passage ripe with a promise from the Ultimate Ruler regarding the response He will give to His people. With that said, while a popular passage to invoke, I often wonder if the flow of the passage and in particular, the vital to grasp if/then statement provided are grasped.

So let’s break down this passage, paying special attention to what is required of us and in turn, the promise provided if that requirement is met.
This declaration commences with “if my people”, presenting a point of action on the part of a group. The word “if” means that something must take place before a follow on action can begin. Without the action required in the “if” statement, nothing further will happen.

Before what is required in the “if” statement is explored, it is necessary to engage to whom this declaration is being presented. Adonai is talking to those who “bear my name” or in some translations, those who “are my people”. Quite often 2 Chronicles 7:14 is used, especially during times of national transition such as we are currently in, as a passage that speaks somewhat of the United States as a whole. The belief is centered on the idea that we are a nation blessed by God and thus we can invoke this passage in an overarching way for all people. While this passage does have a definite impact (provided the “if” statement is obeyed), Adonai is focused on a specific group – His people.

Who then are “His people” and what is required to be part of that group? The term “my” is one of possession and relationship. Furthermore, this people bear his name”. This is familial terminology. As His children, we bear the family name of our Father. In keeping with this idea of family and relationship, as the bride of Yeshua, we also bear the name of the Bridegroom. We know not everyone is part of the Family of Adonai and we know not everyone is part of the bride of Yeshua. This means the Father is speaking to a specific segment of the nation. The actions of this segment by extension can and will have an impact on the greater whole.

So what are we then called to do as the people who are His and who bear His name? We are called to do four things: 1) Humble themselves; 2) Pray; 3) Seek His face; 4) Turn from their evil ways.

Let’s take a look at each requirement.

1. Humble themselves. To be humble, according to the Hebrew word kana’ used in this passage, means to “be humbled, be subdued, be brought down, be low, be under, be brought into subjection”. Yahweh is the Ultimate Ruler, regardless if one is part of His family or not. He controls all. Those who claim to be His recognize that authority and Kingship. Thus to humble yourself is a declaration of subservience to the Almighty. It is the complete opposite of the attitude expressed by the enemy who sought to exalt himself above the Almighty. Those who are His and who bear the name of the Father understand who God is and our relationship to Him, namely the fact He is King of the Universe and we are His humble servants.

2. Pray. The term used for pray in this passage does not describe your average everyday pray over a meal. It describes a much deeper aspect of prayer and that description is noted in the definition of the Hebrew word palal which means “to intercede, to supplicate”. This is at its core intercessory prayer. It is focused, purposeful prayer on behalf of the nation, a call to the Almighty to be merciful.

3. Seek His face. To seek the face of the Almighty involves a desire (baqash) the face (paniym) of the Father. Paniym involves an active motion that is to be focused on God. When the creation is properly focused on God, the result is God’s favor being poured out on creation. Conversely, when the creation rejects God and turns their face and actions away from God, His favor is also turned away from the creation. The seeking of God’s face should be a hallmark of those who are called to be His bride. This perhaps begs the question of how we should seek God’s face. Two important elements are the daily washing of our hearts and minds in the word of God through consistent purposeful Bible study and through a consistent posture of bowing before God in prayer.

4. Turn from their evil ways. I think this is the part of the “if” requirement that is most often ignored or overlooked. The word turn is the Hebrew word shuwb which depicts a specific method of movement. It is a return to something, namely the ways of the Father, specifically the commands provided by the Father to His children in His word. If we are not being obedient to the Father’s commands, we are involved in evil and wickedness. The term ways is the Hebrew word derek which describes a course of life or a pattern of behavior.

If we follow the train of commands contained in the “if” statement, we see a clear course of action that must take place in progression. First is humility. Until we humble ourselves under subjection of the rule of the Almighty, our prayers will be futile, we will have no desire to seek His face, and there will be no turning from evil because our hearts are still lifted up against the Almighty.

If we have humbled ourselves but are not focused on intercessory prayer for our nation, we are yet again not in the right frame of spiritual mind. If we humble ourselves and pray, but are not seeking His face, we do not have the proper focus to our prayers and actions. If we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, but do not turn from wickedness, we are continuing to thumb our nose at Yahweh.

Thus, all elements of the “if” command must be obeyed. I know obedience is not a popular term in a time when “greasy grace” is so often taught, but unless we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways through the work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot hope to see the blessings that are noted in the conclusion of 2 Chronicles 7:14. We so often want the quick route to God’s favor. To be quite frank, it does not work that way.

If we desire healing for this increasingly fractured nation and if we want to see forgiveness of our sins which are promised in this passage, those who are His and who bear the name of the Father must in humility pray, seek His face, and turn from evil. It is time to take stock of our spiritual condition as the people of Yahweh. Spend time in His word, be a people who desire to obey His commands and pray with a humble heart for this nation. Moreover, be a people whose light shines in a dark and hurting world. This can only happen if we root ourselves in the proper foundation which is Scripture and only if we are obedient to the “if” declaration provided to us in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

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Thomas Boston – The Danger of Delaying Repentance

“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. So shall thy poverty come as one that traveleth, and thy want as an armed man.” — Proverbs 6:10-11

In this text we have the sluggard’s picture drawn in reference to his eternal concerns, which is the main thing here aimed at. He is one that puts off his great work from time to time, “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.”

In the sixth verse, the slothful sinner is sent to school to learn a lesson of the ant, which, though she has not the advantage that he has, yet has so much natural sagacity1 as to provide for winter in the time of summer and harvest, when meat is to be got. In the ninth verse, there is a rousing call to the sinner to follow that example. But behold [how] he entertains it: as a person that is loath to arise, he begs a little more sleep, a little more slumber, a little more folding of the hands to sleep!

The point I intend to speak to from these words is: the delaying and putting off of repentance is a soul-ruining course among gospel-hearers.

In discoursing this doctrine, I shall show: first, why it is that gospel-hearers delay and put off repentance; second, that this delaying is a soul-ruining course; third and lastly, make application.

1. Why Gospel-hearers Delay Repentance

I shall show why it is that gospel-hearers delay and put off repentance. There is a generation that are not resolved never to repent, never to ply for salvation; but only they are not for it yet. They hope to amend and reform afterwards, but for the present they have no heart to it; so by cheating themselves out of their present time, they put a cheat on themselves forever. They are called by the Word and by their own consciences to make ready for another world, to work out their salvation; but their hearts say, “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep”; and their practice is conformable. Why is it so?

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Thomas Watson – Examining Our Repentance


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.

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