Marrow of Modern Divinity – Repentance

Today’s lesson from The Marrow teaches how that Repentance is a not a work to be performed to prepare one for salvation, but rather a necessary gift and grace of the Holy Spirit given in regeneration. Today’s lesson comes from Chapter 2, Section 3, entitled:

Evangelical Repentance a Consequence of Faith

(click the title above to read The Marrow online)

Thomas Boston says the following question from Nomista the legalist [grounded on his idea that Neophytus had no warrant to believe, unless he had truly repented] “supposes that there is a kind of repentance, humiliation, sorrow for sin, and turning from it, which goes before faith…”

…let’s join the discussion on repentance, already in progress…

Nom. Why, I conceive that repentance consists in a man’s humbling himself before God, and sorrowing and grieving for offending him by his sins, and in turning from them all to the Lord.

Evan. And would you have a man to do all this truly before he come to Christ by believing?

Nom. Yea, indeed, I think it is very meet he should.

Evan. Why, then, I tell you truly, you would have him to do that which is impossible.

For, first of all godly humiliation, in true penitents, proceeds from the love of God their good Father, and so from the hatred of that sin which has displeased him; and this cannot be without faith. …No man can turn to God, except he be first turned of God: and after he is turned, he repents; so Ephraim says, “After I was converted, I repented,” 6 (Jer 31:19). The truth is, a repentant sinner first believes that God will do that which he promiseth, namely, pardon his sin, and take away his iniquity; then he rests in the hope of it; and from that, and for it, he leaves sin, and will forsake his old course, because it is displeasing to God; and will do that which is pleasing and acceptable to him. So that, first of all, God’s favour is apprehended, and remission of sins believed; then upon that cometh alteration of life and conversation.

Boston footnotes this section with a definition of and a description of the origin of true repentance…

True Repentance

True repentance is a turning unto God, a coming back to him again; a returning even unto the Lord, according to an usual Old Testament phrase, found, (Hosea 14:1), and rightly so translated, (Isa 19:22). …’Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince [or leader] and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins,’ (Acts 5:31). One would think this to be a sufficient intimation, that sinners not only may, but ought to go to him for true repentance; and not stand off from him until they get it to bring along with them; especially since repentance, as well as remission of sin, is a part of that salvation, which he as a Saviour is exalted to give, and consequently, which sinners are to receive and rest upon him for…”

Repentance-the Result of Regeneration and Grounded in Faith

This the Scripture teacheth, determining in the general, that without faith one can do nothing acceptable in the sight of God, (John 15:5), “Without me,” i.e. separate from me, “ye can do nothing.” (Heb 11:6), “Without faith it is impossible to please him”… Faith cometh of the word of God; hope cometh of faith; and charity springeth of them both. Faith believes that word; hope trusteth after that which is promised by the word; and charity doth good unto her neighbour.


What is Repentance – Baptist Doctrine

Baptist Catechism

Q 94. What is repentance unto life?

A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, does, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

Rom 6:18 – “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”

Confer –
Acts 11:18, 2 Timothy 2:25, Jeremiah 31:18-19, Luke 1:16-17, 2 Corinthians 7:10

Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689

(Sect 15.3) Saving repentance is a gospel grace* by which we are made aware of the many evils of our sin by the Holy Spirit. By faith in Christ we humble ourselves over our sin with godly sorrow, hatred of it, and self-loathing. We pray for pardon and strength of grace, and determine and endeavour, by [the power] supplied by the Spirit, to walk before God and to please him in all things.

*Confer – Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2Ti 2:25


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