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Sorrow that Produces Repentance


Not all sorrow over sin is genuine repentance. Some is only motivated by self-interest.

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Inquire seriously, in the first place, “what views you have had of sin, and what sentiments you have felt in your soul with regard to it?” There was a time when it wore a flattering aspect, and made a fair, enchanting appearance, so that all your heart was charmed with it, and it was the very business of your life to practice it. But you have since been undeceived. You have felt it “bite like a serpent, and sting like an adder, Prov. xxiii. 32.” You have beheld it with an abhorrence far greater than the delight which it ever gave you. So far it is well it is thus with every true penitent, and with some, I fear, who are not of that number. Let me therefore inquire farther, whence arose this abhorrence? Was it merely from a principle of self-love? Was it merely because you had been wounded by it? Was it merely because you had thereby brought condemnation and ruin upon your own soul? Was there no sense of its deformity, of its baseness, of its malignity, as committed against the blessed God, considered as a glorious, a bountiful, and a merciful Being? Were you never pierced by the apprehension of its vile ingratitude?

—Philip Doddridge, The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul (Robert Porter, 1810), 115.

Worldly remorse sees sin only as a detriment to the sinner. Genuine repentance sees sin for what it really is: an offense against God. Worldly remorse prompts one to seek change in hope of a better life. Godly sorrow seeks reconciliation with God.

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For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

—2 Corinthians 7:10



Posted 2017·04·28 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Phillip Doddridge · Repentance · The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

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