Grace Alone Accounts for God’s Faithfulness

Only when believers act with a conscious awareness that God accepts them in their works solely a result of the work of His Son does their righteousness have the potential to glorify God. If our works or feelings were the basis of God’s faithfulness, then obedience could only be a means of buying blessings from a stingy divinity and the goal of our righteousness would be some form of selfishness — self-protection or self-promotion. But since grace alone accounts for God’s faithfulness, believers can respond to God with confidence of His abiding and unconditional love. Loving service results as our hearts fill with the desire to glorify the One whose goodness, mercy, and love never cease. Instead of trying to barter our blessings by fulfilling distasteful duties, we discover that the properties of God become our greatest pleasure. True repentance results as our hearts increasingly reject the priorities of the world, acknowledge and sorrow for the evil and emptiness our sin, and delight in glorifying our Savior with the gifts His Spirit bestows.

Bryan Chapell, Christ-centered Preaching (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 318.

What Is Repentance?

Though it be a deep sorrow for sin that God requires as necessary to salvation, yet the very nature of it necessarily implies delight.  Repentance of sin is a sorrow arising from the sight of God’s excellency and mercy, but the apprehension of excellency or mercy must necessarily and unavoidably beget pleasure in the mind of the beholder…. how much soever of a paradox it may seem, it is true that repentance is a sweet sorrow, so that the more of this sorrow, the more pleasure.

Jonathan Edwards in John Piper, God Is the Gospel (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005), 104.

Repentance Is…

Repentance is a change of mind issuing in a change of life. Since practical atheism, which disregards God, is natural to fallen human beings, godliness has to be founded on repentance from the start. Repentance means a right-face turn and a quick-march in the direction opposite to that in which we were going before. The original direction was the path of self-service, in the sense of treating yourself as God, the supreme value, and gratifying yourself accordingly. The new direction is a matter of saying good-bye to all that and embracing the service of God instead.

J. I. Packer, A Passion for Faithfulness (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1995), 58.

Insincere Repentance

We are sometimes repentant because of the harm we have done ourselves and others in our transgressions but there is little repentance toward God… We may regret what our sins do to our testimony and the evil effect on others but we are little concerned because the fellowship with God is broken. This makes for shallow and inadequate confession because we have not touched the heart of the trouble.

Vance Havner (1901-1986)