Thursday, May 21, 2009

Repentance is born of faith

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) - John Calvin
Book 3 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 3 - Our Regeneration by Faith: Repentance

Sections 1-4 - Repentance the fruit of faith: review of some errors
Section 1 - Repentance as a consequence of faith
The sum of the gospel is repentance and forgiveness - Luke 24:47; Acts 5:31.
Repentance is a result of faith, both being given by Christ.

Section 2 - Repentance has its foundation in the gospel, which faith embraces
Some say repentance comes before faith, pointing to Matt 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21.
But the repentance is based on the kingdom coming near, which they must first believe. Also, in Isaiah 40:1-3, which John the Baptist fulfills, promises to believe come first (vss 1-2), then the call to repent (vs 3).
True repentance comes to God believing He will forgive, not in craven fear.
Ps 130:4; Hosea 6:1.

Section 3 - Mortification and vivification
Repentance consists of mortification - being contrite and broken over the awfulness and judgment upon your sin, hating and seeking to kill that sin - and vivification - looking to God's mercy and desiring to live a holy life.
We die to ourselves, and turn to live for God.

Section 4 - Penance under law and under gospel
The repentance of Cain (Gen 4:13), Saul (1 Sam 15:30), and Judas (Matt 27:4) was not authentic. They did not turn to God, but only feared God cravenly for their sin, not turning to Him.
True repentance includes turning to God in faith for mercy.
2 Kings 20:2; Isa 38:2; Jonah 3:5, 9; 2 Sam 24:10; 12:13, 16; Acts 2:37.

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