Pastor Toby Sumpter of Trinity Reformed Church on the reasons for repentance: love and fear. Pastor Sumpter is a great and good man and his sermons have helped me break down the walls of sin in my life and conquer the strongholds of worldliness that keep me from serving God. Only through Christ, only through love can we come to true repentance. The goodness of God brings us to repentance. The goodness of God brings us to the goodness of God. Please, read the whole thing. If you are a true man or woman, put away fear and throw yourself upon the freely offered love. It will be the most painful and the most glorious thing you will ever do. Read the whole thing HERE.
But why do we repent? Why do we ask for forgiveness? Why do we apologize? Why do we want to go make it right?
There are ultimately only two possible answers to that question. In this world, there are really only two motivators, only two engines that drive every human soul. There is the way of fear and the way of love. The engine of fear drives people to try to obey, to try to do what’s right because they are afraid of the consequences, afraid of what people might think, afraid of pain, afraid of shame, afraid of embarrassment, afraid of being rejected, afraid of losing friends or loved ones, afraid of being alone, afraid of sickness, afraid of disease, and ultimately this is because people are afraid of death (Heb. 2:15). But this kind of fear is ultimately selfish and self-serving, and so it must collapse back onto itself. This kind of fear operates in order to protect self, in order to protect yourself from those fears. But selfishness is always self-defeating. Jesus says that those who try to save their lives will lose them. Those who try to protect themselves will be destroyed. This is because selfishness is actually a thick blindness, and this means that for all the thrashing about, you’re still on a hook that’s drawing you to your death. You’re a lousy protector, a lousy god, and you’re still going to die. And thus, fear begets more fear.
It’s the goodness of God that drives us to repentance. It’s the goodness of God that drives us back to the Father who awaits us with open arms. It’s the insistent, stubborn, relentless goodness of God that teaches us to defy our fears, to defy our circumstances, to defy the lies and lusts that seduce us and imprison us. It’s the goodness of God that wakes us up with stomach full of the pods fed to pigs; it’s the goodness of God that wakes us up and reminds us of the goodness in our Father’s house.