Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Repentance vs. Remorse

“No man has truly repented until his sin has wounded him, until the wound has broken him and defeated him and taken all of the fight and self-assurance out of him and he sees himself as the one who nailed his Savior to the tree.” ~ A, W. Tozer

“Never mistake remorse for repentance; remorse simply puts a man in hell while he is on earth, it carries no remedial quality with it at all, nothing that betters a man. . . Repentance is not a reaction, remorse is. Remorse is – I will never do the thing again (but it is only a temporary emotion without any power to change). Repentance is that I deliberately become the opposite of what I have been. . .the disposition of the Son of God can only enter my life by the road to repentance”. 
~ Oswald Chambers
How often have we heard it said “Just believe in your heart and confess with your mouth in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

So quickly we quote this scripture hoping to give someone the illusion that by simply saying a prayer that acknowledges Jesus as Lord that they are now saved and on their way to heaven. The only problem is that few people ever explain what accepting Jesus as Lord really means.

To believe that Jesus is Lord is to accept that you no longer have rule over your life. It means that you must repent (change your mind and actions) and turn away from the old life. It means that you have lost your rights. It means that your life must undertake a radical transformation. It means that Jesus will have permission to do with you whatever he wants. In other words, your life is no longer yours… It’s over.

Without repentance there is no salvation. The devil believes that Jesus is Lord and is convinced without a doubt. Believing in the case of Romans 10:9 is more than mental assent. It is understanding and making a choice to die to yourself and live for Him.

I know that this may not bring as many people to the altars, but at least those who come will be making a willful decision to buy the “Pearl of great price." They will be more ready to take up their cross and follow Him. They will be ready to think of the world they left behind as rubbish. They will be ready to live as pilgrims and strangers here on this earth.

It is true that no one is perfect, but there is a big difference between someone who’s born again and someone who’s not. The man who is not born again lives a “life of sin”. A true Christian lives a “life of repentance”. After all, “the evidence of the new birth is a new life”. (Dr. Michael L. Brown)

This is why water baptism is such a big deal and not just a nice doctrine of the church. In baptism, a person is publicly saying that their life is over. They are ready to put their hand to the plow and not look back. They are bidding farewell to the old man and his lifestyle. They are passing from death unto life. In other words, by saying that we believe with our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, we are saying of our old life, “It is finished!”

Yes, true repentance leads to an entire new life. Old things pass away and we become new. This new life brings great freedom and joy with it! Remorse simply makes a man more miserable than he already was. It makes a man sorry who has no intention of changing. Remorse is nothing more than a living lie. 

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19) 

By Tom Zurowski

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