Two kinds of repentance are possible in human experience. One is ‘the sorrow of the world,” a feeling induced by the fear of getting caught. Many people recognize the unpleasant consequences of their sin and are persuaded that they are guilty. This results in a superficial sorrow that may lead to a temporary reformation but not to a genuine turning to Christ for forgiveness. (this would be spoken of by Ray Comfort as a horizontal repentance. They have sinned against man)
Godly sorrow, on the other hand, is accompanied by conviction of sin, the work of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:37). This stems from the realization of offending a holy God. It leads to genuine repentance. (Ray Comfort calls this vertical repentance. They have sinned against God and God alone)
An unknown author wrote, “There is a radical distinction between natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself.
However, this sort of disgust with past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to his old wicked ways. None of the marks of true repentance described in 2 Corinthians 7:11 are found in his behavior. Out of a list of 10 men in the Bible who said, “I have sinned,” we believe only five actually repented. They were David (2 Sam. 12:13), Nehemiah (Neh. 1:6), Job (Job 42:5,6), Micah (Micah 7:9), and the prodigal son (Luke 15:18).” - H.G.B.
To repent means to turn. In the N.T. repentance means to turn from sin. We were called by God to turn from sin. In fact, all men everywhere are commanded by God to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30). God’s longsuffering leads us to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9) as does His kindness (Rom. 2:4).
Just as there are True and False Converts, There is true and false repentance, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10).
Sorrowing over and forsaking sin, a wholehearted turning away from all that is evil. This is more than regret or remorse, attitudes that point to sorrow over sin but no more. Repentance was looked for in Old Testament times (Ezek. 14:6; 18:30). It was the first item in the preaching of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1-2), Jesus (Matt. 4:17), and the apostles (Mark 6:12; cf. Acts 2:38). Beyond repentance, faith is needed. But repentance is indispensable. Sin must be forsaken decisively.
So you say you have repented of your sins. It is very important to take a good hard look at what kind of repentance you experienced. Did you sin against man and feel sorry for it. Did you regret that you sinned. Did you apologize to the people you sinned against and not do it any more? Is that repentance? True repentance?
Or do you realize how utterly depraved you are in God's sight? Has the Law of God convicted you of your sins and you cry out to God, "against you and you alone have I sinned Oh Lord?" Genuine repentance is a fruit of the spirit.
So maybe you say the right things...
I believe in the Word of God -- good!
I repented of my sins -- which kind of repentance was it?
I trust Jesus for my salvation -- is it the Jesus of the Bible? Do you really know Jesus of the Bible?
So what does it mean to "believe" in Jesus? Because even the devil believes and trembles. There must be a difference between his belief and our belief in Jesus. Do you know what the difference is?
tomorrow's post will talk about believing and our beliefs!