Spirit: Repentance II (1)

    How shall a man be just with God? How shall the sinner be made righteous? It is only through Christ that we can be brought into harmony with God, with holiness; but how are we to come to Christ? Many are asking the same question as did the multitude on the day of Pentecost, when, convicted of sin, they cried out, "What shall we do?" The first word of Peter's answer was, "Repent." At another time, shortly after, he said, "Repent . . . and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." (Acts 2: 38; 3:19).

Repentance includes sorrow for sin, and a turning away from it. We shall not renounce sin unless we see its sinfulness; until we turn away from it in heart, there will be no real change in the life. There are many who fail to understand the true nature of repentance. Multitudes sorrow that they have sinned, and even make an outward reformation, because they fear that their wrong-doing will bring suffering upon themselves. But this is not repentance in the Bible sense. They lament the suffering, rather than the sin. Such was the grief of Esau when he saw that the birthright was lost to him forever. Balaam, terrified by the angel standing in his pathway with drawn sword, acknowledged his guilt lest he should lose his life; but there was no genuine repentance for sin, no conversion of purpose, no abhorrence of evil. Judas Iscariot, after betraying his Lord, exclaimed, "I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood." (Matt. 27:4). The confession was forced from his guilty soul by an awful sense of condemnation and a fearful looking for of judgment. The consequences that were to result to him filled him with terror, but there was no deep, heart-breaking grief in his soul, that he had betrayed the spotless Son of God, and denied the Holy One of Israel. Pharaoh, when suffering under the judgments of God, acknowledged his sin, in order to escape further punishment, but returned to his defiance of Heaven as soon as the plagues were stayed. These all lamented the results of sin, but did not sorrow for the sin itself. But when the heart yields to the influence of the Spirit of God, the conscience will be quickened, and the sinner will discern something of the depth and sacredness of God's holy law, the foundation of his government in heaven and on earth. The "Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," (John 1:9). illumines the secret chambers of the soul, and the hidden things of darkness are made manifest. Conviction takes hold upon the mind and heart. The sinner has a sense of the righteousness of Jehovah, and feels the terror of appearing, in his own guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. He sees the love of God, the beauty of holiness, the joy of purity; he longs to be cleansed, and to be restored to communion with Heaven.

The prayer of David after his fall, illustrates the nature of true sorrow for sin. His repentance was sincere and deep. There was no effort to palliate his guilt; no desire to escape the judgment threatened, inspired his prayer. David saw the enormity of his transgression; he saw the defilement of his soul; he loathed his sin. It was not for pardon only that he prayed, but for purity of heart. He longed for the joy of holiness,--to be restored to harmony and communion with God. This was the language of his soul:-

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no guile."
"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness;
According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me...
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow...
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence,
And take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
And uphold me with thy free Spirit...
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation:
And my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness."(Psalms 51).

(source: © Ellen G White; From "Steps To Christ")


Collated Spirit Articles

Growing Up Into Christ (1).

The plant, the child, grows by receiving from its surroundings that which ministers to its life, air, sunshine, and food...more

Growing Up Into Christ (2).

A life in Christ is a life of restfulness...more

Knowledge of God.

Many are the ways in which God is seeking to make himself known to us and to bring us into communion with him. Nature speaks to our senses without ceasing...more

Growing Up Into Christ (3).

Constantly beholding him, we "are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (II Cor. 3:18)...more

Growing Up Into Christ (4).

They knew that He was before the throne of God, their Friend and Saviour still...more

The Sinner's Need of Christ (1).

But after his sin, he could no longer find joy in holiness, and he sought to hide from the presence of God...more

The Sinner's Need of Christ (2).

But he added, in the bitterness of his soul-anguish and despair, "I am carnal, sold under sin...more

Repentance (1).

It is only through Christ that we can be brought into harmony with God, with holiness; but how are we to come to Christ?...more

Repentance (2).

Every desire for truth and purity, every conviction of our own sinfulness, is an evidence that his Spirit is moving upon our hearts...more

Repentance (3).

One ray of the glory of God, one gleam of the purity of Christ, penetrating the soul, makes every spot of defilement painfully distinct...more

Repentance (4).

Many accept an intellectual religion, a form of godliness, when the heart is not cleansed...more

The Privilege of Prayer (1).

Jesus himself, while he dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified himself with our needs and weaknesses...more

The Work And The Life (1).

The spirit of Christ's self-sacrificing love is the spirit that pervades heaven...more

The Work And The Life (2).

We are brought into sympathy with Christ through the fellowship of his sufferings...more

The Work And The Life (3).

We need not go to heathen lands, or even leave the narrow circle of the home, if it is there that our duty lies, in order to work for Christ...more

Faith and Acceptance (1).

You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God...more

Faith and Acceptance (2).

Henceforth you are not your own; you are bought with a price...more

Faith and Acceptance (3).

But even this parable, tender and touching as it is, comes short of expressing the infinite compassion of the Heavenly Father...more

The Test of Discipleship (1).

Every burden is light; for the yoke that Christ imposes is easy. Duty becomes a delight, and sacrifice a pleasure...more

The Test of Discipleship (2).

When the principle of love is implanted in the heart, when man is renewed after the image of Him that created him, the new covenant promise is fulfilled...more

The Test of Discipleship (3).

If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled...more

The Test of Discipleship (4).

Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God...more

Confession (1).

Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life...more

Confession (2).

When sin has deadened the moral perceptions, the wrong-doer does not discern the defects of his character...more

What To Do With Doubt (1).

God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith...more

What To Do With Doubt (2).

There are many things apparently difficult or obscure, which God will make plain and simple to those who thus seek an understanding of them...more

Consecration (1).

"Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jer. 29:13)...more