Characteristics of Genuine Repentance

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Hershael York, one of homiletic profs at SBTS, recently shared some very helpful thoughts about repentance on his Facebook. Every point is worth consideration, thoughtful meditation, self-examination, exposition, and exhortation. The following are his words on the characteristics of genuine repentance:

  • “When a Christian falls into sin, regret becomes his/her greatest enemy. It masquerades as repentance and shares the blame with others.”
  • “Like Esau, one in sin can be filled with regret and look for repentance without ever finding it. Remorse alone doesn’t lead to repentance.”
  • “True repentance sees the horror of the sin for what it is before God apart from the consequences that it reaps.”
  • “True repentance is an acknowledgement of responsibility for the sin that sheds all remnants of blame of others and surrenders all rights.”
  • “True repentance surrenders the right to judge others for their bad, judgmental, or immature reactions to my sin.”
  • “True repentance desires renewed fellowship with Christ, not vindication in the eyes of others or restoration to a position or ministry.”
  • “True repentance accepts that I will never ‘just get past this’ but that, like Jacob, I may walk with a limp that reminds me of my weakness.”
  • “The road to restoration is long, difficult, and the only path that can honor Christ and lead to renewed joy and restored fellowship.”
  • “True repentance does not set the limits because repentance is a lifestyle and perpetual pursuit, not an event.”
  • “If I have sinned I cannot control that hushed whispers may repeat the matter, but I want my repentance to become more notorious than my sin.”
  • “True repentance becomes brokenness. Broken men and women have no rights, no expectations, no demands of acceptance or forgiveness.”
  • “Brokenness is not optional for service to Christ. Brokenness is essential. Earthen vessels don’t show the treasure within until broken.”
  • “Being broken is painful, a death to self. The only thing worse is that I should grow defiant, bitter, defensive, and content with my sin.”
  • “Once a man has been broken, he is willing to be exposed, to be a fool for Christ’s sake, because he has nothing to lose.”
  • “Broken men and women concern themselves with what is true, with what God knows, not what others think. They die to their own reputations.”
  • “Broken men and women know they have nothing to offer God except the life of Christ flowing through their shattered lives.”
  • “Christians who have not been broken have appreciated neither their sin nor Christ’s sacrifice. Pride and brokenness cannot coexist.”

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