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Sermon #40 — Isaiah Series

 

Title:                           What will it take to bring

                                    you to repentance?

 

Text:                            Isaiah 9:8-10:4

Subject:                     Repentance

Date:                          Sunday Evening — January 7, 2018

Readings:     Mark Henson and Rex Bartley

Introduction:

 

What will it take to bring you to Christ? What will it take to break you? — What will it take to bring you to repentance? That is my subject. That is the title of my message. What will it take? — What will it take to bring you to repentance? You will find my text in the 9th and 10th chapters of the Gospel of Isaiah — Isaiah 9:8-10:4.

 

The Lord sent his Word into Jacob.” — What a blessing of grace! God chose Jacob above all the people of the world to be the recipient of his Word. He sent his prophets one after another in unbroken succession for two thousand years into Jacob.

 

And it hath lighted upon Israel. — Not only did they hear the bare letter of the Word, God caused the light of his truth to be plainly revealed to the nation of Israel. No other nation in the world, before or since, has been so distinctly blessed of God.

 

Yet, the Jews were a people who “in the pride and stoutness of heart” (v. 9) rejected the counsel of God against themselves. Because they despised his goodness and rejected the counsel of his Word, because they turned their back on God, God turned his back upon that nation and stretched out the rod of his wrath to destroy the rebellious people. In the chapter before us we have a record of Israel’s obstinate impenitence and of God’s judgments upon them.

 

1. The Lord raised up the Assyrians, the Syrians, and Philistines to invade and devour the land; yet they repented not (9:8-12).

 

(Isaiah 9:8-12) “The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel. (9) And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, (10) The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars. (11) Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together; (12) The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”

 

2. The Lord God sent greedy, self-serving magistrates and prophets of deceit, such as they desired, and cut off the whole nation in one day; yet they repented not (9:14-17).

 

(Isaiah 9:14-17) “Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day. (15) The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. (16) For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed. (17) Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for everyone is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”

 

3. The Lord sent darkness through all the land, moral darkness, political darkness, economic darkness, and spiritual darkness; yet they repented not (9:18-21).

 

(Isaiah 9:18-21) “For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke. (19) Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother. (20) And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm: (21) Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”

 

4. The Lord sent desolation after desolation upon Israel and reasoned with them; yet they repented not (10:1-4).

 

(Isaiah 10:1-4) “Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; (2) To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! (3) And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? To whom will ye flee for help? And where will ye leave your glory? (4) Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”

 

Four times we are told, For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still (9:12, 17, 21; 10:4). Why was God’s wrath set against Israel? Why did that nation perish? The prophet tells us, “For the people turneth not unto him that smitteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts” (9:13).

 

Revelation 16

 

As I read this portion of Isaiah’s prophecy I cannot avoid seeing a parallel between this and Revelation 16:8-11 and 21. Turn to that passage and read those verses with me.

 

(Revelation 16:8-21) “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. (9) And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. (10) And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, (11) And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. (12) And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. (13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (16) And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (17) And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. (18) And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. (19) And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. (20) And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (21) And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”

 

Here John describes the terrible judgments of God upon men and women, by which he warns all of wrath to come. Here are men and women scorched with great heat, gnawing their tongues for pain, suffering the consequences of a drought more horrible than tongue can describe, and at last multitudes are beaten to death with hail stones weighing over a hundred pounds each! Surely, men and women who suffer such terrible acts of judgment from God’s almighty hand will be humbled, broken, and seek mercy. Surely, no heart could remain hard and unmoved before such evident acts of God! That would seem reasonable. Don’t you think so? But that is not the case. When those men and women were scorched with fire from heaven they blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues.” As they gnawed their tongues in pain “they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores.” When great hail stones fell out of heaven, crushing them to death, “men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail.” And though God displayed his power and wrath, warning sinners of judgment to come, “they repented not of their deeds” (v. 11). “They repented not to give him glory” (v. 9).

 

In the light of these two passages of scripture, I ask you to consider. — What will it take to bring you to repentance? What will it take to break a sinner’s heart? What will it take to make a rebel surrender to Christ? What will it take to produce true repentance in the heart of a stubborn, hardened, self-willed sinner?

 

Proposition: The Scriptures we have read together make one thing evident. — The judgment of God never produces repentance in the hearts of sinners.

 

Divisions: If the Spirit of God will enable me, I want to give you some plain instruction about the matter of repentance. May God be pleased to use this message to lead some of you to Christ in repentance. Here are four things clearly taught in the Word of God about repentance.

1. Divine judgment will never produce repentance.

2. That repentance which is sometimes produced by acts of judgment needs to be repented of.

3. Only the revelation of Christ in the heart can produce true repentance.

4. True, gospel repentance glorifies God.

 

Divine Judgment

And Repentance

 

1st — Understand this first. — Divine judgment alone will never produce true repentance. We must be careful here. We must not make hasty generalizations which are contrary to Holy Scripture. I do not say that God does not use acts of providential judgment to arouse, impress, subdue, and humble his elect and bring them to repentance. He does (Psalm 107:1-43).

 

(Psalm 107:1-43) “O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever. (2) Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; (3) And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. (4) They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. (5) Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. (6) Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. (7) And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. (8) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (9) For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

 

(10) Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; (11) Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: (12) Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help. (13) Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. (14) He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. (15) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (16) For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

 

(17) Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. (18) Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. (19) Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. (20) He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. (21) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (22) And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

 

(23) They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; (24) These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. (25) For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. (26) They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. (27) They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. (28) Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. (29) He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. (30) Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. (31) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (32) Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. (33) He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; (34) A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.

 

(35) He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. (36) And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; (37) And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. (38) He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease. (39) Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow. (40) He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. (41) Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock. (42) The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth. (43) Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”

 

                        Illustration: The Prodigal (Luke 15:11-20).

 

But I am saying this: Divine judgment, in and of itself, will never produce repentance in the heart.

 

Satan, after being under the wrath of God for thousands of years, has not mellowed or repented in any way. Many who live in poverty, with sickness and disease, and suffer earthly hardships of every kind, are hardened against God rather than helped to repentance by the judgments of providence which they suffer. The heart of man is so obstinately proud and hard that even the torments of the damned in hell will never cause him to repent.

 

There is no repentance in hell! Go, if you dare, to the pit of woe, and see if there is any repentance in hell. There are the lost multitudes, scorched with heat and burned with fire under the indescribable wrath of God. Yet, they blaspheme God’s name still, and repent not to give him glory. They curse God for their pain, but repent not of their deeds.

 

True repentance arises from faith and hope in Christ. But in hell there is neither faith nor hope, only endless torment. So, there is no repentance. In hell there is much sorrow for pain, but no sorrow for sin. There is no repentance in hell!

 

None can be saved but by the blood of the Lamb. But there is no blood to be found in hell. In that awful place of torment “the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” The worm of conscience gnaws upon the souls of the damned forever, ever bringing to mind the cause of hell’s torments — willful unbelief and obstinate impenitence!

 

How often they were called to Christ! How easily they might have escaped hell! But they would not trust the Son of God. They must forever weep over the loss of heaven’s bliss and over the portion of their cup. They shall forever weep for their pain. But they will never shed a single tear over their sin, the cause of their pain. The damned in hell suffer and blaspheme God. But they do not repent. There is no repentance in hell!

 

If there is no repentance in hell, where God’s greatest judgments are executed, the lesser judgments of providence certainly will not change a sinner’s heart and produce repentance. Someone said, “Affliction makes good men better and bad men worse.” And I suppose that is true. But afflictions will never make good men bad, or bad men good. Wrath converts no one. It is grace that saves. Judgment does not soften the sinner’s heart. It hardens it. The men and women we have read about in Isaiah and in Revelation were led by judgment to blaspheme God, but “they repented not.” — “The people turneth not unto him that smitteth them” (Isaiah 9:13). The consequences of often neglected warnings are irreversible hardness of heart and eternal ruin (Proverbs 1:23-33).

 

(Proverbs 1:23-33) “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. (24) Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; (25) But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: (26) I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; (27) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. (28) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: (29) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: (30) They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. (31) Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. (32) For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. (33) But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”

 

The time for repentance is now! Repent now, this very moment, you who are not yet hardened by the judgments of God and the terror of his, while God still grants you space for repentance. — “Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts!” You may not be able to repent tomorrow.

 

The longsuffering, goodness, and forbearance of God should lead you to repentance and salvation (Romans 2:4-5; 2 Peter 3:15). But if you despise God’s goodness and harden your heart in the day of his goodness, you will find it impossible to repent in the day of his wrath and judgment (Hebrews 12:17).

 

(Hebrews 12:15-17) “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (16) Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. (17) For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”

 

                        Illustrations:             Noah’s Generation

                                                                        Dixie — “My God, Preacher, I

  can’t repent!

 

Repentance to be

Repented Of

 

2nd I want you to see that there is a repentance to be repented of. The repentance which is sometimes produced by acts of judgment is a false repentance, which needs to be repented of (Psalm 78:31-37).

 

(Psalm 78:31-37) “The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel. (32) For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. (33) Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble. (34) When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God. (35) And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. (36) Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. (37) For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.”

 

Many by providential acts of divine judgment (sickness, bereavement, economic hardship, domestic trouble, and personal tragedy) are brought to repentance after a fashion. They turn to God, perhaps even reform their lives, and hope to ease their consciences. But repentance that is caused only by judgment and legal fear is always false repentance. You can mark it down as a matter of certainty. — “That which is born in the storm will die in the calm.”

 

  • Carnal repentance, caused by the fear of punishment, is a false repentance — (Cain — Genesis 4:13).
  • Temporary repentance, which subsides when the judgment is over, is a false repentance — (Pharaoh — Exodus 9:27).
  • Fearful sorrow, that does not change the heart or affect the life is a false repentance — (Herod — Matthew 14:9-10).
  • Despairing remorse, which does not convert, is a false repentance — (Judas — Matthew 27:4-5).

 

Cain, Pharaoh, Herod, and Judas all repented of the evil they had done, because they saw the judgment of God upon them. But they were not saved. They all repented after a fashion. But their repentance was false. They all repented in fear. But “they repented not to give God glory.” Such repentance as those men experienced only hardens the heart and usually keeps sinners from true repentance. It is the devil’s substitute for Holy Spirit conviction and true repentance. False repentance mocks God, seeks to deceive him, and gives the sinner a false refuge, a refuge of lies, in which he seeks and finds a false, but assured, sense of security from the wrath of God.

 

Thomas Boston rightly observed…

 

“Trees may blossom fairly in the spring, on which no fruit is to be found in the harvest; and some have sharp soul exercises which are nothing but foretastes of hell.”

 

Repentance by Revelation

 

3rdOnly the revelation of Christ in the heart can produce true repentance. No one will ever truly repent of his sins and turn to God in true repentance and faith in genuine conversion until he sees Christ crucified as his only sin-atoning, all-sufficient Substitute (Zechariah 12:10; 13:1).

 

(Zechariah 12:10) “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

 

(Zechariah 13:1) “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.”

 

Repentance is the tear that drops from the eye of faith (Job 40:4-5; 42:5-6).

 

(Job 40:4-5) “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. (5) Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.”

 

(Job 42:5-6) “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. (6) Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

 

Repentance is the gift of God the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11).

 

(John 16:7-11) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”

 

Repentance is the result of converting grace and gospel instruction (Jeremiah 31:19).

 

(Jeremiah 31:19) “Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.”

 

Repentance is the response of faith to the promise of God in the gospel (Isaiah 55:7; Jeremiah 3:11-13).

 

(Isaiah 55:6-8) “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”

 

(Jeremiah 3:11-13) “And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. (12) Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger forever. (13) Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.”

 

Repentance arises not from the dread of punishment and fear of wrath, but from the love, mercy, and grace of God in Christ (Luke 7:37-38, 47; 22:61-62).

 

(Luke 7:37-47) “And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, (38) And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. —— (47) Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”

 

(Luke 22:61-62) “And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. (62) And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”

 

Judgment hardens the sinner’s heart. The law of God terrifies the heart. But one look at Christ, crucified in my place, melts my hard heart in repentance toward God. Kneeling at the foot of the cross, looking upon Christ the sinner’s Substitute, I now repent before God…

Š      Of my sin!

Š      Of my sins!

Š      Of my righteousness!

 

Glorifies God

 

4th — One more thing, and I’m done. — True, gospel repentance glorifies God. We read in Revelation 16:9 of men and women who “repented not to give God glory.” But those who do truly repent do, by their repentance, give him glory (Psalms 32:1-5; 51:1-5). They turn “unto him that smitteth them” and “seek the Lord of hosts,” giving God the glory due unto his name.

 

(Psalm 32:1-5) “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (3) When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. (4) For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. (5) I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”

 

(Psalm 51:1-5) “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (2) Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (3) For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (5) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

 

True repentance recognizes, reverences, and adores God’s omniscience (Psalm 139:1-6; John 21:17 — “Lord, thou knowest all things!”).

 

(Psalm 139:1-6) “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. (2) Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. (3) Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. (4) For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. (5) Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. (6) Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”

 

True repentance acknowledges the righteousness of God’s law and the evil of sin (Romans 7:9).

 

(Romans 7:9) “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”

 

True repentance glorifies the justice of God in the punishment of sin (Psalm 51:4).

 

(Psalm 51:4) “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

 

As we see in Eli of old, repentance causes sinners to take sides with God against themselves. — “It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good” (1 Samuel 3:18).

 

True repentance glorifies God’s sovereignty in the exercise of his mercy.

 

                        Illustrations:             The Leper (Matthew 8:2).

                                                                                    The Canaanite Woman

(Matthew 15:21-28).

 

True repentance sees and acknowledges that there is but one way by which God can be just and yet justify the ungodly (Romans 3:24-26; Proverbs 16:6).

 

(Romans 3:24-26) “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

 

(Proverbs 16:6) “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

 

True repentance glorifies God by constantly pleading the blood and righteousness of Christ alone as the only ground of acceptance with God (1 Corinthians 15:10).

 

(1 Corinthians 15:10) “By the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

 

True repentance glorifies God by taking him at his word and receiving the atonement by faith in Christ (Romans 5:11).

 

(Romans 4:25-5:11) The Lord Jesus Christ “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (1) Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (6) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (11) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

 

Application

 

Isaiah tells us of a people who “turneth not unto him that smitteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts.” Therefore, the Lord cut them off and I preach to you now exactly what the Lord Jesus preached in his day. — “Except ye repent, ye shall likewise perish.” Repent now and live forever. God help you to repent (1 John 1:9).

 

(1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 

(2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (1) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (2) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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