Wednesday: July 14, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

Question 87 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: What is repentance unto life?

Answer: Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience.

In several spots around the city of Tyler, Texas, someone has paid for billboards that read:
“The ABC’s of salvation:
  • Admit that you are a sinner.
  • Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Call on the name of the Lord.”
None of these are wrong but they do not say enough. The biblical and historical way of salvation is to turn from sin to God in Jesus Christ. However, repentance for the the forgiveness of sins does not make for a catchy billboard, with blocks that one may recall from their childhood, along with the ABC’s. 

Repentance is not something that a man can do, yet he must do it to see the kingdom of God. Jesus answered and said to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) The Pharisee Nicodemus understood that a man cannot cause himself to be born, much-less, born again. This is the reason that he inquired, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (John 3:4) Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)

Therefore, the Westminster Puritans are correct to say that repentance unto life is a saving grace because repentance unto life is the gift of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul said, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Michael Peek
Your Servant for Jesus’ Sake