Repent (National Mall: Washington, DC, USA)

When we hear the latest conference message or read the newly-released book on how to be a radical sold-out follower of Jesus, there is one thing that many of today’s popular speakers leave out: Repentance. The “R-Word” is rarely seen in emergent-progressive writings. It’s often seen as an “ugly” or negative, judgmental word that seekers would turn away from. And yet it is a fruit we should be looking for in our churches. Does your church preach of repentance when the Gospel message is shared?

Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries recently shared this article by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and I am reprinting it here:

The preaching and teaching of a false prophet does not emphasize repentance in any real sense. It has a very wide gate leading to salvation and a very broad way leading to heaven. You need not feel much of your own sinfulness; you need not be aware of the blackness of your own heart.

You just “decide for Christ” and you rush in with the crowd, and your name is put down, and is one of the large number of ‘decisions’ reported by the press. It is entirely unlike the evangelism of the Puritans and of John Wesley, George Whitefield and others, which led men to be terrified of the judgment of God, and to have an agony of soul sometimes for days and weeks and months.

John Bunyan tells us in his book Grace Abounding that he endured an agony of repentance for eighteen months. There does not seem to be much room for that today. Repentance means that you realize that you are a guilty, vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, that you are hell-bound.

It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, that you long to get rid of it, and that you turn your back on it in every shape and form. You renounce the world whatever the cost, the world in its mind and outlook as well as its practice, and you deny yourself, and take up the cross and go after Christ.

Your nearest and dearest, and the whole world, may call you a fool, or say you have religious mania. You may have to suffer financially, but it makes no difference. That is repentance. The false prophet does not put it like that.

He “heals the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly”, simply saying that it is all right, and that you have but to “come to Christ”, “follow Jesus”, or “become a Christian.” (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount)

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones