Do We Repent of Our Sins?

James A. Thrasher
Bloomington, Indiana

Something like thirty years ago I heard an 85-year-old preacher say in a private conversation, "We do not repent of our sins, but forget them in the vain hope that God will also forget them." After about 25 years, I wrote a tract on that subject, for I had decided that he was about right, and this thought greatly disturbed me; for unforgiven sin is the only thing that will keep any man out of heaven, and forgiveness is not promised to the impenitent.

Generally speaking, we rarely do anything religiously which we do not like to do, and we certainly do not like to repent, for it involves sorrow, and complete turning from the sin. Contrition is a subduing sorrow for sin, as against the divine holiness and love. God has high regard for contrite souls, as indicated in Isa. 66:2; 57:15; Ps. 34:18 and 51:17.

The Apostle Paul brought a serious charge against the Jews in Rom. 2:4, 5; and it surely applies to all impenitent Christians. According to my own observations for nearly seventy years, this is a much neglected text, as we preachers prefer to make "first principles" platitudinous rather than disturb church members with what they need.

In Matt. 12:41 Jesus either spoke several antitheses or implied them, all to the disparagement of God's children--the Jews. "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here." Those Jews were about the same as their fathers had been with respect to repentance.

Yet we preachers are prone to minimize the importance of repentance, passing over the subject in a perfunctory manner. If Satan has his ministers filling our pulpits, as Paul implied in 2 Cor. 11:15, what greater disservice could they do Christians than this? l If they can encourage us to do what we are inclined to do, namely, despise the goodness of God, which, when duly considered, will lead us to repentance, they shall have ruined us.

Truh Magazine VIII: 1, p.10 October 1963