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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What Repentance Is Not

Last Sunday one of the things that I was preaching was on what repentance is not. A case in point – Judas Iscariot. Although he recognized his wrong doing, felt remorseful, and even confessed his sin, he was not truly repentant.

We come across many people like Judas. They come as politicians, preachers, and even pastors. And some as our own parishioners.