Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018
Assessing Genuine Repentance
Speaker: Brian Arnold
Passage: 2 Corinthians 7:9-11
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Today in the Men of Grace & Granite, we continue to study our battle for moral purity as part of the Man of God series. We want to lay out a framework to assess our repentance from sin, so we can be sure it is Biblically genuine.

Let’s ask ourselves, “Am I successful in my battle with sin?”  God’s word promises power over sin, so am I winning in the battle?  Our objective today is to learn:

  • If I am truly victorious and how would I know for sure.
  • The framework for Biblical victory over sin.
  • And, how to spot fakery or unbiblical repentance.

Before we examine real repentance is, let’s look at what genuine repentance is not:

  1. A recognition of sinful actions (Numbers 14)
  2. Sorrow over sin (Hebrews 12:17)
  3. Seeking forgiveness for your sin (1 Samuel 24; 1 Samuel 26)
  4. Feeling a weight of guilt on your conscience (Matthew 27)
  5. Commitments or vows not to sin again (Matthew 26:35)
  6. A short season of victory over sin (2 Peter 2:20-21)

Note: Each of these do not prove repentance in themselves, but genuine repentance does include some form of these principles.  The mere presence of any one of these or all of them does not prove you are repentant.


In our subject passage today (2 Corinthians 7:9-11), the Apostle Paul gives us the truth and describes precisely what genuine repentance is. 

  1. The abandonment of all….
    1. Self-righteousness – Owning the full responsibility of the sin with no defense or blame-shifting.
    2. Self-deception – No rationalization or claiming power to overcome the sin; or self-pity that you cannot gain victory.
    3. Self-reliance – Giving up all one’s own means, such as will-power and self-help techniques, while neglecting the means that God provides for victory.
  2. Humbling yourself to accept the biblical…
    1. Indictment – Agree with God’s assessment from His Word about your sin.
    2. Responsibility – Accept fault and every contribution that led you toward that sin.
    3. Pathway to Victory – Use God’s resources and God’s way for victory.

Enemies of True Repentance:

  • Our pride
  • Unwillingness to give up our comforts
  • The love of sin.
  • Refusing to learn from God’s Word how to hate the sin.
  • Allowing other areas of weakness to drive us back toward old haunts and habits.

Genuine repentance always results in fruit.  Paul tells us in verses 10 and 11 that there are eight recognizable fruits and all eight must be evident in a believer’s life, so that we know our repentance is genuine.

  1. Without regret – We do not regret doing what was necessary to repent.
    • Perhaps, you endured public embarrassment, or loss of trust from loved ones, or severed relationships, or disappointing family, or you were exposed as a hypocrite.
    • In each of these examples and others, God providentially used events in your life to bring about true repentance and you do not regret His providences.
    • You grow thankful for all the means that God used for your repentance.
    • You refuse to:
      1. Rail in your heart against people who exposed your sin.
      2. Be discontent with sins consequences.
      3. Grumble at the punishment for sin.
      4. Self-pity under the weight of sin’s consequences.
    • Instead you grow in contentment and develop a pattern of softness to God’s commands as you learn to put away stubbornness.
  2. Earnestness – Severe mental or emotional distress over your sin.
    • Your earnest pursuits now turn to a desire and striving for righteousness, instead in the pursuit of sin.  You earnestly seek personal holiness.
    • Sin is no longer attractive; holiness is your insatiable desire.
  3. Vindication – Passion to clear your name.
    • Not as a hypocrite, but instead you work to vindicate and disassociate yourself from that sin. Your reputation is now associated with Christ and holiness.
    • To the glory of Christ’s work in you, you now have victory over a previous bondage and you/others recognize increasingly holiness.
    • There is a true change of heart. You separate yourself from sin habits, practices, and portals to former enslavement with vigor.
  4. Indignation – Hatred/animosity toward the sin.
    • It is true that you will not turn from a sin that you don’t hate.
    • You must learn to hate what the sin causes or could cause.
    • You must see sin and its wickedness as God sees it.
    • We must accept what God’s Word says about the offense in faith.  If we do not believe His Word, we have a faith problem.
  5. Fear – We are terrified over sin continuing in our lives.
    • We see the enslaving nature of sin and what you are willing to risk if you continued sinning.
    • You must recognize the greediness of sin and the increasingly greater consequences of continuing in it.
    • Practical suggestions:
      1. Make a list of what God could do in His discipline for your sin. We reap what we sow, and God has infinite disciplining resources.
      2. Make a list of all the people your sin could hurt.
    • Don’t become calloused to the gracious warnings from other people who confront you about sin.
    • Grow in the fear of the Lord:
      1. In awe as a holy God who deserves our total allegiance.
      2. And, in fear as Judge who will cause every knee to bow to His Lordship.
  6. Longing – A cultivation of yearning and desiring to be free from sin’s enslavements.
    • We must be willing to proactively do whatever it takes to mortify that sin and gain victory that is promised in God’s word.
    • Ask yourself if there is anything that you know would help in the battle, but you are not willing to do.
      1. Including asking for help, even if it results in exposure and humiliation.
      2. Including cutting off all portals to sin.
      3. Including eliminating good things that bring you to the vicinity of sin.
      4. Including cutting out friends.
      5. Including changing patterns of living.
      6. Including thoroughly studying every passage of scripture that is relevant to that sin and the pursuit of personal holiness.
  7. Zeal – Intense devotion and passion for killing sin.
    • This kind of zeal invites the wisdom from others to gain input and clarity for the battle.
    • You devote great amounts of time to addressing the weakness.
    • When you are not caught in the sin, are you willing and regularly confessing the sin to someone who can help?
    • You are cultivating a zealous desire to endure and persevere in the fight.
  8. Avenging the wrong – You have a desire to see justice done (to you).
    • This is not going out in the world to minister justice.
    • It is an owning of the consequences of sin as a grace from God leading to your ultimate and genuine repentance.
    • You thankfully accept the full consequences that your sin caused.
    • You bear up and endure through the consequences and you use them as reminders to be steadfast and resist returning to that sin.
    • Your sanctified attitude is vital:
      1. Don’t be discontent in your heart with circumstances from the consequences.
      2. Don’t be embittered at those who bring the consequences.
      3. Don’t be angry or jealous at others who don’t have the same consequences for similar sin.
      4. Don’t seek the easy way out of the consequences or try to run from them.

Verse 11 provides a fitting conclusion and overview the genuine Biblical repentance:

  • Your life pattern demonstrates innocence and freedom from sins enslavements.
  • Particular sins no longer have sway or control in your life.
  • You desire the things of the Lord and you flee every crumb of that old sin pattern.
  • In conclusion, genuine repentance requires evidence of fruit in all eight areas.