Promoting repentance

The discipline of repentance is hardly flourishing in the contemporary church. Even where it is practiced, it is often deeply misunderstood (not least because it is one of the Christian disciplines most easily distorted by legalism). John Colquhoun’s work, Evangelical Repentance, is probably the best thing I’ve read on the subject. Here is a very practical excerpt:

“Put to yourself seriously such questions as these: What have I been intending and pursuing all my days? What has been the rule of my conduct? the maxims of men, or the Word of God? the customs of the world, or the example of Christ? What has the supreme love of my heart been fixed on? Have I given to Christ, or to the world, my strongest desires and warmest attachments? Has it been my habitual intention to please God, or to please myself? Has it been His glory that I have aimed at in every pursuit, or my own gratification, wealth or honour? Is it in heaven or upon earth that I have chiefly been aiming, to lay up treasures for myself? Has God in Christ been the delightful subject of my frequent meditation and conversation? or have I regarded religious thoughts and converse as insipid and wearisome? Have I been out of my element when employed in the delightful work of prayer and praise, of reading and hearing the glorious Gospel? and have I found more pleasure in licentious mirth and trifling conversation? Have I kept the Sabbath, and with holy reverence frequented the sanctuary of the Lord? or have I profaned His Sabbath, and poured contempt on His ordinances? And have I relied for all my right to eternal life on the surety-righteousness of Jesus Christ, and trusted cordially in Him for all His salvation? or have I relied for a title to life partly on my own works, and trusted in Him for a part only of His salvation? Propose with impartiality these questions to yourself, and suffer conscience to return a faithful answer, in order that you may so discern your self-deformity, as to abhor yourself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

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