For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:
“Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.” – Jeremiah 4:3-4
Jeremiah calls for repentance under the figure of circumcision. The hard encrustation on their hearts must be cut away. Nothing less than removal of all natural obstacles to the will of God would suffice. Outward ritual must be replaced by inward reality. The heart was involved because outward worship was valueless unless the inner life was given over to God. Their hearts must be spiritually receptive. The only other alternative to obedience was to experience the fitting wrath of God.
“Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.” – Deutoronomy 10:16
Wherever there is real sorrow for sin, wherever there is an honest determination by God’s grace to cease from sin; wherever there is a complete change of mind with regard to sin (and that is what repentance means), then we can understand and know that by the grace of God this repentance has been produced by the Spirit of God, and that it is as much a gift of the covenant of grace as ever the pardon which comes with it. And remember, God gives this grace to poor sinners–only to sinners–those in whose hearts He has made to realize their need of it.
It is the grace of God that He uses the Law to show us what we are, and it brings us to Christ. Yes, law condemns us and it damns us to hell, for we have broken it; therefore it brings us under the wrath of God; but we should praise God for it, because it is by the Law of God that we see, acknowledge, and understand our sinnership, our far distance from God, and our great need of a Saviour (Rom. 3:19-20; 7:7-25). For as Gal. 3:24 tells us, the Law is the schoolmaster that brings us–guides and leads us–to Christ as our only hope.
THE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE
First, the fruits of true Biblical repentance will be seen in our lives in A REAL HATRED FOR SIN AS SIN, and not merely for its consequences, which are: the wrath of God poured out upon every soul which dies outside of Christ, and a separation from God in hell forever. Also, it is not a hatred against this or that sin, but a hatred of all sin, and particularly of the root itself which is self-will.
Second, the fruits of true biblical repentance will be seen in a deep sorrow for sin. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 reads, “you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation…”
Third, the fruits of true biblical repentance will be seen in a confessing of sin. We read in Proverbs 28:13:
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
Fourth, the fruits of true Biblical repentance will be seen in an actual turning from sin. In matt. 3:2 the word “repent” means a change of mind about sin. In Matt 21:29 the word “repent” means a change of heart. In Matt.3:8 and in Acts 20:21 it means a change of life, an actual turning from sin to walk in it no more. So we can say again, true repentance is a radical change of mind and heart, a PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION.
Fifth, the fruits of true biblical repentance will be seen in a desire to put into practice the scriptures that teach us to walk in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24), and to be careful to maintain good works (Titus 3:8). This, is one of the most distinguishing marks of true biblical repentance: the desire to walk in a different way–a different course of life than we did before.
Sixth, the fruits of true Biblical repentance will be shown in REAL FAITH IN CHRIST. True Biblical repentance cannot be separated from true saving faith; the two always go together. He who truly repents will truly believe, for the same Holy Spirit Who gives us repentance to the acknowledging of our sinful conduct before God, and gives us such a desire to confess it and forsake it with a true godly sorrow, will also turn our eyes upon yon lovely Lord Who died in our place.
TRUE BELIEVER PROGRESS OUT OF THEIR SINS
Where there is spiritual life, there also will be spiritual growth. No Christian can remain the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. A fundamental presupposition of the Christian faith is that there will be growth out of sin into righteousness. Practically speaking, where there is bible study, prayer, witness, and the fellowship of the saints, the Spirit of God will be at work to produce His fruit. That fruit is righteousness.
One cannot say that he is transformed unless he is transformed through Jesus Christ; as much as a Christian cannot say that he is one unless he live a lifestyle that is for Christ and that is Christ like.
Peace & Blessing!