If you’re interested in reading one book on biblical counseling read Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling. It gives the nuts and bolts of biblical counseling and is thoroughly biblical, focused on Jesus and is saturated with God’s Word. The chapters included the power of the Redeemer (Jesus), the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the unity of the Trinity, the grand narrative of the Bible, the sufficiency of the Scriptures, the centrality and of the Gospel, the pursuit of holiness, the weapons of our warfare, the hope for eternity, the biblical counseling ministry of the local church, the personal, private and public ministry of the Word, the nature of biblical counseling, the central elements of the biblical counseling process, the power of confession, repentance and forgiveness and a myriad of other topics. You need this book on your shelf. What follows in this short post is a brief summary of two chapters that deal with repentance.
Repentance is the funnel through which all personal revival flows. Repentance is the natural next step on our journey when we have seen God’s holiness exalted before our eyes, when we have been brought to a place of personal brokenness about our sin through the tsunami of consequences that devastate our experience as the aftershock of personal sin. Repentance is the first step in the personal cleanup of the wreckage that sin brings. Refusing repentance always takes us down and never takes us up. Repentance alone opens the way to a fresh outpouring of God’s favor in our lives. And the repentance that clears the way for us to experience God’s grace and forgiveness in salvation echoes throughout the rest of life as we learn our lesson over and over (much as Jonah still had a lot to learn about personal repentance even after God used his words to spark a mighty revival in Nineveh) (357).
What exactly is repentance?
- Repentance is a change inside of me. It is a recognition of sin for what it is, followed by heartfelt sorrow, culminating in a change of behavior. Repentance is change at every level of your being: in your mind (I see it for what it is – recognition of sin), in your emotions (I grieve over my sin – heartfelt sorrow), and in your will (I determine to change my behavior – producing a specific plan of action for change) (359)
- Repentance is a work of God. Repentance is a powerful gift that God gives to a person who wholeheartedly seeks Him. In fact, only God can give someone a repentant heart. Paul even says in 2 Timothy 2:25 “…God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.”
What is the fruit of repentance? In 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 mentions five results of repentance.
- Grief over sin. If you’re repentant, you’re going to feel grief over sin.
- Repulsion over sin. Grief over sin leads to feelings of repulsion toward that sin.
- Restitution towards others. When you’re repentant you will feel an urgent desire to go to the people whom your sin has wounded and fix the fallout (361).
- Revival toward God. A revived heart will show a greater zeal for the things of God (362).
- Readiness to move forward. If you’re repentant you won’t spend your time lamenting over what you see in the rear view mirror but you’ll understand at a heart level that there’s freedom and forgiveness from what happened in the past and you’ll look to what is in front of you.