We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Monday, March 28, 2011

Repentance

We live in a superficial age, and nowhere i superficiality more evident than in the religious realm.  Generally people do not want their conscience disturbed, so the message of repentance is seldom preached.  Militant conservatives and destructive liberals alike are guilty of the abandonment of any truth distasteful to the ears of the self-satisfied, or that which is difficult to enforce.
It is contended that our forefathers placed too much emphasis on poignance of grief as a necessary element in true repentance, in so far as they permitted any idea of merit to attach to the experience.  Yet surely they were right in insisting on a deep and genuine upturning of the soul.  In our age we have swung to the other direction.  We seldom hear the old prophetic cry, “Break up your fallow ground, sow not among thorns” 
(Jeremiah 4:3).  This generation, with all its religion, has lost the sense sin and pays preachers to “Prophesy smooth things.”  Repentance is robbed of its true significance.  The plow of conviction is never driven deep into the human soil.  So-called “revivals’ and “evangelistic efforts” produce shallow results because of the shallow repentance preached.  Deep mourning for sin, hot scalding tears of repentance, souls writhing in agony because of their burden are not common as they used to be.  Saved and unsaved alike are not over-awed by the august holiness of God, and the filthiness of their own evil nature.  the sob of anguish, “Woe is me, for I am undone,” is seldom heard in a religious service today.  Instead, young people and others walk down our aisles to make a decision for Christ with a giggle on their faces.  Statistically-minded, the church counts numbers.  God give her numbers that count!  We go out for quantity.  God seeks quality.
Wherever true repentance is preached and insisted upon, however, solid results accrue.  Those saved under such preaching usually make robust Christians.  While, of course, faith ini Christ is the great characteristic in gospel preaching, repentance toward God must also be strongly pressed.  All who proclaim the truth must pray and labor for the Spirit’s convicting work in the conscience.  If sin is slurred over and repentance belittled, there cannot be depth or stability.  The more thoroughly conscience is disturbed and stung on account of sin, the more solid and enduring the results when the Gospel is preached.  It must be shown that repentance is indispensable to salvation (Luke 13:3).  The prodigal must return in sorrow if he is to be reinstated - the rebel must submit before clemency can be exercised and favor bestowed - the sinner must repent before relations with an offended God can be restored.  This is why...the call to repentance rings out in resonant tones from the pages of Scripture. ...
There are those who cry repentance down, calling it a legal doctrine, but the Bible is full of this basic doctrine.  Christ preached it!  At His farewell, when He was about to ascend to heaven, He commanded that repentance should be preached in His name (Luke 24:47).  Repentance may be a bitter, drastic pill for our sin-sick generation to take, but it is necessary if the needed spiritual healing is to be experienced.  May God raise up fearless witnesses who will preach repentance until men repent and turn to the Savior!
Herbert Lockyer, All the Doctrines of the Bible, pp.169, 170

5 comments:

Drew said...

This guy is basically preaching emotionalism. The Bible doesn't teach that people need to get saved while crying at some revival, and then drastically turn their lives around due to this "deep" repentance. Rather, people ought get saved and then gradually turn their lives around as they attend church, read the Bible, and just generally grow as Christians.

If you want to check out some "deep repentance," and see how extremely limited its value is, check out the following passage:

1 SAMUEL 24
16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me of the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”

Then read 1 Samuel 26.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

You obviously misread him. He is teaching against emotionalism, while at the same time teaching there must be sincere repentance. There is a difference.

Ron Livesay said...

Emotionalism is a trap that many fall into, thinking they are saved because they shed tears or "felt" something. Although some do get emotional at the point of salvation, others do not. There is no requirement to be emotional in order to be saved. Repentance is another matter entirely.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

And I don't think the author is saying one must be emotional. What he is pointing out is the heart - where is it really?

Christian Ease said...

I personally can't, from my own experience, imagine repentance apart from an emotional response. How, after coming to an understanding of the cost, the reality of the lengths to which God will pursue, your own bankruptcy in the light of Divine justice, can you not be broken before the Lord. If it happens by chance in church, I hardly think it is ours to judge as to the appropriateness of the confessor. As it is I don't see it as much of a problem due to the rarity of this occasion. I think this is more to the point of what the article was about. Just an opinion, but my idea of a feel-good church is one that knows the value of true repentance and can attest to the authenticity by way of fruit and not numbers.