You Sin —
Do You REALLY Repent?
is something many are doing the most and succeeding the LEAST! Too many
of us CONTINUALLY sin. Do you have Godly sorrow or a worldly sorrow?
You need to know the answer!HOW many
times in frustration
hand-wringing despair have you said,
"I've had to repent of this or that sin time after time,
and I never seem
What is the problem? Does it have to be
this way? Did God intend we should continue to wallow around in the
same old rut and filth year after year? Or is it because we're just
The answer is no! God doesn't want it this
way. It wouldn't be this way
IF WE HAD
You may say, "Well, I was
really sorry for what I did. I acknowledged my guilt. I asked God for
His forgiveness, but I still keep on sinning."
Has this happened
to you? Do you think you've repented and then find you have
disastrously committed the same sin again? I'm not talking about the
times we let down in prayer or Bible study. I'm not talking about the
times of great temptation or when we sin because of the tremendous
degenerate weaknesses and habits we have. I'm talking about those sins
we could and should be freed from — if we started in the right
Let's get one thing straight: when we repent — really
— we change ! We don't repeat the sin! If we don't change — stop
sinning — we HAVEN'T repented!
More Required Than Tears
say you really felt sorry for what you did — so did Judas! Esau felt
ghastly! He was all broken up about what he had lost, and sought the
inheritance he'd thrown away "carefully with
tears" (Heb. 12:17).
Tears rolled down Esau's cheeks. Judas was so remorseful he killed himself. But neither repented! They didn't change.
know repentance means to change! We desperately want to be different!
But this desire is only a natural, human desire. Even the world wants
Does this surprise you? Well, just look at the
mountainous evidence of proof. Peace conferences will try to initiate
legislation to sidetrack the world from the road of total destruction
to peace. National governments will try to initiate changes to bring
their people from poverty to prosperity— eradicate social injustices
and remove inequality.
No, your desire to change is not unique.
Very few people are satisfied with any facet of their lives. They want
to change their physical shape by diet, exercise
or foundation garments— change their faces by paint or
surgery — their hair with dyes all hues of the color
Few are happy with what they have, where they are, or what they are!
are filled with inferiorities. They hate their inadequacies.
Bootstrap-lifting courses by the score are offered to change the timid
into fire-breathing, self-confident swashbucklers capable of facing any
person or problem of life.
Everyone Desires to Change
From the least to the greatest, all want to change.
oil magnate, reputedly the richest man on the face of the earth, wants
desperately to change. He said so! In a London T.V. program he stated
his greatest desire was to have the ability to sit down with a group of
people and not be a bore. He wanted to change from an extreme introvert
to one who could be outgoing and pleasantly entertaining.
couches are booked solid with mentally distressed who want to change to
confident, uninhibited, happy people — just like we do.
scientists realize the need to change human nature. They want to alter
the mind by genetic control and produce this change.
And many people DO change!
exercising a great amount of .^//-discipline, the fat become slim, the
drunks become teetotallers. The timid become socially acceptable. But
is it a step toward eternal life? Obviously not!
"Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish!" (Luke 13:3, 5.)
Paul said there is a worldly repentance that leads to death (II Cor.
The Need to Change Apparent
God's truth, we in the Church can come to a greater point of
self-analysis. God's Word spotlights the wretchedness of our human
nature — we see our total selfishness. We know "... the heart [the
basic core of the human being] is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9).
At least we accept the fact that this is what the Bible says and mentally agree with it.
see our lack of ability to overcome this wretched nature. We even learn
to repeat the words, "I abhor myself." Yes, we see the need, and want
It's not so difficult to come to abhor oneself — to
despise and hate our weaknesses. We detest our feelings of inferiority.
So does the rest of the world.
We say we hate ourselves and
abhor our sins, but is it really true? If you had a rotten, stinking,
maggot-infested piece of putrifying meat in your kitchen, you would
have such a revulsion toward it that you would immediately get rid of
it. But we put up with so much of the filth that we claim to abhor
about ourselves. How come?
We don't really ABHOR the sin!
we usually mean when we say "we're sorry" is that wc are sorry for the
effect our shortcomings have on our sense of well-being — our happiness.
feel guilty or unhealthy. What we want is to be comfortable mentally
and physically. Then we can live at peace with ourselves or others we
may have offended.
Humans will go to any length to escape
personal predicaments. Even in suicide people are merely trying to
escape from their personal despair and hopelessness!
doesn't mean we are revolted by the sin! If we were, we'd get rid of
it! And we can! But there has to be a
first the type of repentance all too often experienced by people in
God's Church. Judas hated himself and he had every reason to. He had
been in the presence of the Master Teacher. He had seen miracles
performed. He had been offered a position of tremendous authority, yet
he scorned the greatest chance a man ever had — rulership with Christ.
He was given a responsible job in the Work, then he stole. His next act
was a deed of infamy unparalleled in history. He was a traitor to his
Savior. His final act was one of self-destruction.
saw his horrible mistake. He even acknowledged his guilt. He "repented"
— showed real remorse — in the same way too many
of us do!
Notice Matthew 27:3-5: "Then Judas,
which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented
himself, and brought the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests
and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent
blood . . . and he cast down the pieces of silver . . . and departed,
and went and hanged himself."
His remorse, his acknowledgment of
guilt, and his repentance, only led him into another sin! Why? Because
it wasn't real repentance!
Judas had an afterthought and
was distraught about the effect upon himself. He had a deep dread of
the consequences— on himself! Death became his way of escape.
didn't remotely experience the type of repentance Paul preached about
and made a main part of his message "...repentance toward God!"
Stop and think! Do you know what
repentance toward God means? If you don't or can give only the vaguest
answer, you could be in serious trouble!
It is because we are
not continually experiencing repentance toward God that we continue to
needlessly repeat the same sins over and over!
There is a fantastic difference in ^//-remorse and repentance toward God. You've got to KNOW the difference !
David KNEW the Difference
When David realized the horrible sins he committed, he knew they were against God.
was no self-centered remorse in his repentance! He cried out, "Have
mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according to the
multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me
throughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I
acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against
thee, THEE ONLY, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight" (Ps.
His remorse was toward God!
He was going to
suffer for the rest of his life for his horrible deeds. He became the
object of ridicule and was humiliated before the whole nation of
Israel. He committed adultery! He caused perpetual war with all its
horror and suffering to Israel. And he was responsible for the murder
of Bathshe-ba's husband, and the death of her son (II Sam. 12:9-14). In
spite of all the wretchedness he had brought upon himself and others,
he still said that his only sin was against God!
Why? The answer is extremely important !
Judas robbed, he became critical of Christ and accused Christ of
wasting money (John 12:5). When David sinned, he was horrified at what
he had done to God.
Had he "hurt" God? Had he
diminished God's power or taken away any of His authority or thwarted
His plan ? Had he lessened any of the beauty or splendor of God's
God could have disintegrated David on the spot. If
He had desired, He could have obliterated even the annoying memory of
David from His mind.
Sin is Against God
Let's understand! Sin is the transgression of the law! (I John 3:4.) God was the Lawgiver. The sin was against God.
was asked by Samuel, "Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of
the Lord to do evil in His sight ?... Now therefore the sword shall
never depart from thine house: because you have DESPISED ME! (II
Ancient Israel despised God just as David
did, but with one GREAT difference! God had called them for a special
purpose. He called them to obey His revealed law so that He might
prosper them — thus showing to the surrounding nations through their
example what would happen to a nation honoring God.
God wanted to
give them everything that was good for them. He brought them out of
physical slavery. He performed miracles, clearly proving His ability to
make good His promises.
Did they appreciate all of the fantastic
blessings? Did they bow down in total obedience and thankfulness for
their release from captivity? To the contrary. "And ye [the people]
murmured in your tents, and said, Because the Lord hated us, he hath
brought us forth out of the land of Egypt... to destroy us" (Deut.
1:27). They imputed wrong motives to God and accased Him of hatred and
When they began to pay the penalty for disobedience,
they saw their tremendous mistake and admitted their sins. "We have
sinned against the Lord" (Deut. 1:41).
The Israelites Never Learned
statement seems to prove that the people had learned their lesson. But
they hadn't. They were sorry for the difficulties they'd gotten
themselves into, but it wasn't repentance!
the rest of the sad story. God commanded through His servant, Moses:
"Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest you be smitten
before your enemies. So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but
rebelled against the commandment of the Lord and went presumptuously up
into the hill" (Deut.
They hadn't really repented. It wasn't
firmly fixed in their minds that God knew best — that His every desire
was for their good.
So great was their misunderstanding of God
that He inspired the prophets to record it as a perpetual reminder of
them. "Thus saith the Eternal, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I
AM the Lord thy God, which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth you
by the way that thou shouldest go. O that thou hadst hearkened to my
commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness
as the waves of the
sea" (Isa. 48:17-18).
Look at the intense desire God had. He wanted to GIVE the people of Israel every good thing.
did they believe this? By their words and actions they showed they
regarded Him as some harsh, cruel, vindictive, restrictive Being who
did things out of avarice and selfish desire.
There was no vivid
concept in their minds of a great and magnificent Being who wanted
their peace to be like a river. They had no consciousness of a Being
who revealed His laws to them for their good — not His. They clearly
demonstrated a total lack of understanding.
You Must Understand God
had called them out so that He could bless them in the most fantastic
way. But so distorted was their picture of this awesome, merciful,
compassionate, loving Being that they claimed His very acts of love and
power were done out of malice.
What was the big difference between David and the Israelites at the time of Moses? The answer is quite plain!
. . and Nathan said unto David, The Eternal also hath put away thy sin,
thou shalt not dih" (II Sam. 12:13). Death was the penalty David should
have paid, but God accepted his repentance. But to the Israelites, God
said, "And ye returned and wept before the Eternal; but the Eternal
would not hearken to your voice nor give ear unto you"
David had a right attitude toward God. His
remorse was a Godly sorrow. He realized his sinning was an expression
of disrespect and hatred toward his Creator.
He realized the
tremendous opportunity and responsibility God had given him. His great
desire was to re-establish a right contact with God so he could serve
God in the job he had been given.
Notice his prayer: "Restore
unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be
converted unto thee!" (Ps. 51:12-13.)
David wanted forgiveness so he could serve God. The Israelites wanted to serve themselves!
What About Us?
jar too many cases, we don't even have the type of worldly repentance
that brings about a physical change. Not to mention the establishing of
a right relationship with God!
We're quite content to pay the
penalty for our own physical sins. We over eat — knowingly. We're
willing to pay the penalty of looking ridiculously like a balloon. We
are content to pay the penalty in colds and other types of sicknesses.
We never consider that our body is God's temple through which
He is doing His
Work (I Cor. 3:15-16).
may mentally admit that what God does is for our good, and we
acknowledge that we are freed from the superstition of modern
"Christianity." We're grateful for this knowledge and know God gives us
But do we realize, and this is most important,
what we do when we sin even on supposedly minor points — these small
sins we laugh at?
Do you ever consider the monumental disrespect
you are showing to your Creator with such a sloppy attitude toward His
Surely you must realize God gave this
knowledge that you be a witness to the rest of the world. "You are my
witnesses . . . and MY servant whom I have chosen . . ."
Do you realize that to disregard God's instruction
— laws given FOR YOUR GOOD — shows UTTER CONTEMPT to this great and
magnificent Being we worship ?
Have no doubts! When you sin, you
show the ultimate scorn for the great and fantastic gifts given to you
by One who sits at the controls of the universe. How horrible is the
sin that we commit against God—not against man — AGAINST GOD!!!
we sin, we show an unbelievable callousness toward the great gifts of
Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. This is when we continue to sin!
Don't say to yourself these sins don't hurt God.
great desire is to share. He is a giving God. His greatest joy would be
to share with us His power, His magnificent glory, His eternity. He
wants to give us equality with Him. This is all that He can do. He
can't create something greater than Himself.
When we sin,
we deny Him this great privilege of GIVING. We thumb our
nose at Him. What tremendous ingratitude we
express toward God when we sin!
Job Saw God and Repented
Job finally came to real repentance.
thought God was being unfair to him. But one day he finally had his
eyes opened to this awesome, wonderful, all-powerful, merciful and
loving God. When he saw Him as he should, notice carefully what
happened — your eternal life could depend
Job recognized God's power. He said: "I know that
thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from
thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I
uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I
knew not. . ." (Job 42:2-3).
Job had a knowledge of God's plan.
He was in much the same circumstances as many of us. He was able to
articulate the words and repeat as a child does by rote the basic
doctrines. But when it came to the real meaning of the awesome
proportions, the grandeur of God and His plan, he said he spoke things
that he really didn't understand.
Then he went on to say — when
he realized the magnitude of the God that gave him understanding, the
light finally dawned upon him—"Hear, I beseech you, and I will speak: I
will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard -of thee by
the hearing of the ear; but NOW MINE EYE SEETH thee" (Job
What did he mean when he said: "Now mine eye seeth thee"?
eye is the means by which the world around is revealed to us. In the
same way, spiritually, the illuminating of the mind comes when we come
to understand God.
So Christ said, "If therefore thine eye be
single [in a right attitude toward God and on Him and all of His power
and greatness], thy whole body shall be /'//// of light. But if thine
eye be evil [in a wrong attitude toward God], thy whole body shall be
full of darkness..." (Mat. 6:22-23).
Why Job Abhorred Himself
we can understand what Job meant. He said he had uttered things too
wonderful, things beyond his ability to comprehend. He talked about
them even as we do.
He knew God's plan. He had knowledge of a
resurrection and a change into immortality (Job 14:14-15). He knew
there was a Savior and that he was going to be a spirit being (Job
But, when he came to real understanding of this great
Being — this Eternal Creator, who is above all and over all and whose
great mercy, power and magnificence is so clearly evident in His
creation — when he finally saw THIS GOD, he said, "Wherefore [because
of this great God] I ABHOR myself, and repent in dust and ashes!" (Job
Here was no surface, shallow, self-seeking, self-pitying
type of repentance. Here was the kind of repentance God was looking for.
When he finally got things in their proper perspective, he couldn't help but abhor himself by comparison!
ask ourselves: Has our abhorrence been like Job's because of God and
our wrong relationship toward Him? Has our sin so overwhelmed us
because we have seen how we have been in a callous disregard and
disrespect toward God?
Consider that God has called us to
represent Him and His Work. Do we hate our sins because they have kept
us from doing this God-givett opportunity and responsibility?
the point could be illustrated by a true story. A man commissioned by
Ambassador College for architectural work was invited to Pasadena. He
and his wife were shown unusual courtesy and considerations far beyond
what is normal in the world. He didn't expect it. He knew he didn't
deserve it. But he saw and realized that the unusual attention given to
him was unlike anything he'd ever experienced before.
It made him feel he would just hate to disappoint those who had given him such undeserved kindness.
didn't want to disappoint humans who had shown him such consideration.
How much more should we hate to disappoint God in the job He's given us.
The Sorrow of Death
also spoke of a totally futile repentance. He said there is a remorse
that is utterly worthless in God's eyes! Read it in your own
Bible: "The sor-
the world worketh
death!" (II Cor. 7:10.)
Paul had written a letter of
correction to the people in Corinth. But he had found a point of
rejoicing because of the effect of his letter. He commended them
because they had the RIGHT KIND OF
He said, "Now I rejoice, that ye were made sorry,
but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a
godly manner . . . For godly sorrow worketh repentance to SALVATION NOT
TO BE REPENTED OF."
You don't have to go through the same
process time after time. If you've repented once according to God's way
— that's enough (II Cor. 7:9-10).
How could Paul tell their
repentance was real ? Because of what it produced! There
was no question about it.
NOTICE: "For behold
this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a GODLY sort," — here's
what it produced — "what carefulness [careful self-examination] it
wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves [change now], yea,
what indignation, yea, what fear [alarm], yea, what vehement desire [to
change and be cleared before God], yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!
[grabbing the initiative to change] ..." (II Cor. 7:11).
Here was the fantastic difference. There were tangible, concrete results and it was clearly evident in their lives.
had a right attitude toward God. They didn't want to dishonor their
Creator and be guilty of scorning the great sacrifice in the gift of
His Son. They were broken up over what they had done.
this lesson of Godly repentance, Brethren. Apply it in your lives today
— before it's too late. Don't be among those who will be weeping and
gnashing their teeth in tearful self-pity, full of worldly repentance
as Christ rejects them from His Kingdom. Repent in a Godly way and
you'll be able to say with the same feeling David did, "He hath not
dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our
iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his
mercy toward them that fear him" (Ps. 103:10-11).
by Charles F. Hunting The GOOD NEWS February, 1967