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Repentance PDF Print E-mail
Written by T.S. Dalton   

 

For many years, the subject of repentance has been a mooted question, and it seems that it is impossible for Christians to agree, not because, however that their experiences differ, but because of false teachers; or God has long since told us that false teacher would arise, teaching perverse things to draw away disciples after them, and surely we are living in the midst of that time; and as plain as the Scriptures are in defining repentance, yet some men have the hardihood to deny the inspired word of God, and teach the very reverse of what the Bible says. The Bible clearly reveals the fact that repentance is the gift of God; but in the face of Bible facts, men have the audacity to teach that repentance is the act of the creature. Every Bible reader must know that the word of God nowhere says that repentance is the act of the creature; but tells us time and again that it is the gift of God, which we propose to show before we shall close this chapter. The word repentance is translated from the Greek word Metanoian, which signifies, "a turning away from." Hence the first thought we wish to rivet upon the minds of our readers is, that the term repentance as used in the sacred volume does not always apply to sinners dead in trespasses and sin, but sometimes refers to the saints; and if you will take the time and trouble to search the sacred pages of Holy Writ, you will find that wherever the word repentance is used in the active voice, that it invariably applies to Christians or worshippers of some kind, for instance when Paul went to Mars Hill, he said, "I perceive that you are too superstitious" (that is, too religious). These were worshippers of idols, and were wholly given over to idolatry, and Paul said, "The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." And John the Baptist came preaching repentance, saying that they should believe on Him that should come after him; and Jesus came preaching repentance, and all of the apostles preached that "men ought to repent," and we can trace the long line of true ministers to the present, and all of them preached repentance, that men ought to turn from dumb idols, and serve the true and living God; and the Old order of Baptists are today striving with all the power and energy they possess, to get men to turn from their false modes of worship, and serve the God of Heaven; and this is their own act, and something that every saint of God ought to do.

But the repentance which is necessary to bring the sinner out of that state of death in sin, killing him to the love of sin and turning him to the love of God and holiness, is solely the work of God, and not an act of the creature; and we now propose to show from the infallible word of inspiration. Please read 2 Cor. vii. 10, 11, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!" etc. Now we all know, that it is not possible for an ungodly thing to produce that which is godly; and as godly sorrow works repentance, it cannot be the sinner that does it; and this godly sorrow works in the poor soul, all of those things mentioned above, a clearing away of yourselves, indignation, fear, vehement desire, and zeal; surely nothing short of the power of, God, through the Holy Spirit, could work in us all of these things, therefore we conclude that if there was not another text in the Bible to support the idea that repentance was the gift of God, this one itself is sufficient to convince anyone, except an infidel. But blessed be the name of the Lord, we have many more.

In Jeremiah xxxi. 19, Ephraim said, "Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. " Oh! how applicable this is to the experience of every child of God in the world. When the Lord turned him, he repented, bemoaned himself, because he was such a wretched sinner before God, and felt truly that he was bearing the reproach of his youth. When all of his sins were heaped up before him, like impassable mountains, no wonder then that the poor sinner should cry out in the very anguish of soul, "God be merciful to me-a sinner."
And we wish to forever rivet upon the minds of our readers that portraying the dark regions of the gulf of torment never has caused one to repent of his sins truly, for repentance is not something that can be scared into a man; but judging from the actions of some preachers, we could but conclude that they think, to uncap the infernal regions and let poor sinners look in, would scare them into repentance, and would terminate in their eternal salvation. We heard a modern Missionary Baptist preacher say once, that he wished he had a basket of hell-fire to sprinkle amongst the sinners, he would assure them that they were willing to repent, and get religion. This shows very clearly that he thought it was hell-fire that brought them to repentance, but Paul said, Rom. ii. 4. "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Hence it does seem to us that the better plan would be to set forth the goodness of God, portray the riches of His grace, as the apostles did anciently, and hold out these inducements to the poor soul, and thereby try to persuade him to turn from his evil course, and look to the God of heaven for salvation, than to be trying to scare him by setting before him the tortures of the damned; for should we succeed in getting one to repent in this way, we have no evidence that his sorrow is after a Godly sort; but we have abundant evidence that it is a hell-scared sorrow, and therefore must be of the world, and will work death) and in this way we will only make him two-fold more the child of hell than he was before, or than we are. Luke says in Acts v. 30, 31, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree, Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance unto Israel; and forgiveness of sins."

This should forever put to silence that hitherto have taught that repentance was the sinner's act; hence we conclude that it is not the duty of the servants of God to go out preaching that repentance is the sinner's act, and trying to get sinners to repent, or to tell the people that God had exalted His Son Jesus Christ to accept the repentance if the sinner would act it, as nearly all of our modem divines are teaching; but Paul told Timothy, 2 Tim. ii. 24-26, "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." Oh! that the time would come when we could see and hear all of God's true servants going forth in the strength of Israel's God and in   meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, and not stop to inquire what God it will do, but go and portray to a world, lost in sin, the riches of God's grace, and the goodness and mercy of God, in giving His Son to die, the just for the unjust, that we poor rebels might have life and salvation through His blood, and leave the event with God. "Peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and they may be delivered from the snare of the devil;" and as we go, oh! that God would send conviction home to the hearts of poor dying mortals, through the agency of His Holy Spirit (for there is no other agency that can quicken the dead to life), and bring the poor soul to repentance. Brethren; let us do our duty as the true servants of God, and God is Sure to bless us in it, and we shall see the fruit of our labors, and in the end we can adopt the language of the apostle, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course," and there is a crown of life "laid up for me," "and not to me only," but for all them who "love His appearing."

May this be the happy lot of all our dear readers, is the sincere prayer of the poor unworthy writer.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 September 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.