Not only is the word “repentance” a good one, but for the sinner it is an imperative for salvation. There was a time when it carried with it tremendous theological implications as well as personal meaning. We do not hear much about it today.
Apparently there are a number of reasons why so little is said about repentance in the churches. Few indeed are the sermons which stress its necessity. Many are the church members who have never been confronted with the fact of personal sin and the steps whereby it is forgiven.
Central to our failure to stress the necessity of repentance is our failure to sense the total holiness of God and the offense of sin to him. We are inclined to regard the Cross as a token of sentimental love rather than God’s only way of effecting man’s redemption. And because we have downgraded the fact and the effect of sin the need of repentance has faded into the limbo of a supposedly antiquated theology.
Supplanting in the minds of many the biblical concept of redemption there are many bizarre theories which bypass the need for true repentance.
Some would have us believe that there are no such persons as “lost sinners”; that all men are saved, they just do not know it. By this philosophy evangelism consists of telling people they are already redeemed by the love of God, rather than telling them they stand under the judgment of God as sinners and must repent and turn from their sins through faith in Christ.
Why repent if there is no hell, no eternal separation from God? Why repent if sin is no more than a combination of unfortunate circumstances which may be adjusted by education, a new environment or other human endeavor?
Why become involved in “an emotional binge” of self-accusation? Why repent if our offenses ...1
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