Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do we have the repentance that leads to life?

There are many men who when they hear a faithful gospel sermon, are exceedingly stirred and moved by it. By a certain power which accompanies the Word, God testifies that it is his own Word, and he causes those who hear it involuntarily to tremble. I have seen some men, while the truths of Scripture have been sounded from this pulpit, whose knees have knocked together, whose eyes have flowed with tears as if they had been fountains of water. I have witnessed the deep dejection of their spirit, when - as some of them have told me - they have been shaken until they knew not how to abide the sound of the voice, for it seemed like the terrible trumpet of Sinai thundering only their destruction. Well, my hearers, you may be very much disturbed under the preaching of the gospel, and yet you shall not have that “repentance unto life.” You may know what it is to be very seriously and very solemnly affected when you go to God’s house, and yet you may be hardened sinners.

Let me confirm the remark by an instance: Paul stood before Felix with the chains upon his hands, and as he preached of “righteousness, temperance, and of judgment to come,” it is written, “Felix trembled,’’ and yet procrastinating Felix is in perdition, among the rest of those who have said, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season I will call for thee.” There are many of you who cannot attend the house of God without being alarmed; you know what it is often to stand aghast at the thought that God will punish you; you may often have been moved to sincere emotion under God’s minister; but, let me tell you, you may be after all a castaway, because you have not repented of your sins, neither have you turned to God.

From a sermon entitled "Repentance Unto Life ," delivered September 23, 1855.

Photo by Kevin Dooley; some rights reserved.

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