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“Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”—Acts 11:18.
1. False repentance – 5:57
2. True repentance – 16:58
3. Divine beneficence – 32:11
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“Repentance” is a hatred of sin; it is a turning from sin and a determination in the strength of God to forsake it.
Ye who have tearless eves, unbended knees, unbroken hearts, how can ye think ye are saved? The gospel promised salvation only to those who really repent.
I must ask you one question more. Do you think you would repent of your sins if no punishment were placed before you? or do you repent because you know you shall be punished for ever if you remain in your sins? Suppose I tell you there is no hell at all; that, if you choose, you may swear; and, if you will, you may live without God. Suppose there were no reward for virtue, and no punishment for sin, which would you choose? Can you honestly say, this morning, “I think, I know, by the grace of God, I would choose righteousness if there were no reward for it, if there were nothing to be gained by righteousness, and nothing to be lost by sin.” Every sinner hates his sin when he comes near to the mouth of hell; every murderer hates his crime when he comes to the gallows; I never found a child hate its fault so much as when it was going to be punished for it. If you had no cause to dread the pit—if you knew that you might give up your life to sin, and that you might do so with impunity, would you still feel that you hated sin, and that you could not, would not, commit sin, except through the infirmity of the flesh? Would you still desire holiness? Would you still desire to live like Christ? If so—if you can say this in sincerity—if you thus turn to God and hate your sin with an everlasting hatred, you need not fear but that you have a “repentance” which is “unto life.”
I would stake what reputation I may have in spiritual things upon this—that a man cannot, under God’s Holy Spirit, contemplate the cross of Christ without a broken heart. If it is not so, my heart is different from any one’s else. I have never known a man who has thought upon, and taken a view of the cross, who has not found that it begat “repentance,” and begat faith. We look at Jesus Christ if we would be saved, and we then say, “Amazing sacrifice! that Jesus thus died to save sinners.” If you want faith, remember he gives it; if you want repentance, he gives it! if you want everlasting life, he gives it liberally. He can force you to feel your great sin, and cause you to repent by the sight of Calvary’s cross, and the sound of the greatest, deepest death shriek, “Eloi! Eloi! lama sabacthani?” “My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?” That will beget “repentance;” it will make you weep and say, “Alas! and did my Saviour bleed; and did my Sovereign die for me?” Then beloved, if you would have “repentance,” this is my best advice to you—look to Jesus.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon