Albert Martin explains how true, Spirit-wrought repentance always consists of genuine sorrow and hatred of sin, a sincere turning from sin to God, and a holy endeavor after obedience to God.

Notes

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

"Almighty God has said if we do not come to repentance, we shall perish." — Albert Martin (3:48)

  • Definitions
    • "Evangelical" — pertaining to the evangel or the good news of the gospel (0:35)

    • "Evangelical repentance" — that repentance which is an integral part of the proclamation of the gospel and is an inseparable element in a saving response to the gospel (0:40)
      • "There is no evangelical repentance outside of the context of the preaching of the gospel." — Albert Martin (10:30)
    • "Apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ" — laying hold of God's offered salvation in the person and work of the Lord Jesus (9:35)

    • "Preach in Christ's name" — preaching in the context of the proclamation of what God has done for sinners in the person and work of the Lord Jesus; preaching in the light of what is revealed of the mercy of God to sinners in Christ (9:50)

    • "Repentance unto life" — "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, does, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience." — Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 87 (12:30)

  • Review
    • Part 1 — The Necessity of Repentance (1:30–4:15)
      • Any gospel that omits the death and resurrection of Christ is not the biblical gospel (2:20)
      • Any gospel that lacks a clarion call to repentance is an unauthorized gospel
    • Part 2 — The Nature of Repentance (4:15–12:00)
      • How much conviction is necessary? (11:20)
        • Enough to know that you are not right with God—your mouth is shut without any excuse (Romans 3:19)
        • Enough to know that there is no hope in yourself or in any other human being
      • How much apprehension of Christ is necessary? (11:40)
        • Enough to know that Christ alone can meet your need
        • Enough to embrace Him with all your heart on His terms

I. Genuine Sorrow and Hatred of Sin (13:25)

Grief and sorrow for sin accompany true repentance (13:55)

  • 2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (13:40)
    • This is the watershed text demonstrating that grief and sorrow for sin accompany true repentance
    • Repentance and faith are not the acts of a moment, but the acquisition of a disposition of heart (16:47)
    • The repentance and faith in the initial turning to God through Christ is no different than the ongoing repentance and faith of the believer
    • Godly sorrow leads to and accompanies true repentance (18:17)
    • If one has been brought a true sense of his sin, how can be not feel grief in his heart? (18:25)
      • Seeing that your sins are an affront to a holy and gracious God
        • Even after He has created us
        • Even though His law and purposes are nothing but good, righteous, and holy
      • Seeing that your sins are grievous contributors to the agonies of the dying Savior (19:45)
        • When He cries, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'
        • Seeing His battered, bruised body
        • Seeing that what you are and what you have done contributed to His wounds, His agony, His grief, His sorrow, the shrouded heavens, the piercing cry
      • Seeing that your sins justly expose you to Hell and eternal separation from God
      • How can you not be grieved? (20:32)
    • How can we hear Christ's groans and know that our sin caused His sorrow and not be grieved? (19:50)
    • Surely, to have any true sense of our sin, to any degree, is to have a measure of sorrow and hatred for that sin
  • Luke 18:9-14 (21:20)
    • What is taught in 2 Corinthians 7 is beautifully illustrated here in the humility of the tax collector
  • Psalm 51:17 (27:25)
    • A broken spirit
    • A broken and contrite heart
  • Matthew 5:3-4 (28:45)
    • The first beatitude: blessed are the poor in spirit
    • The second beatitude: blessed are those who mourn
    • Jesus did not say, "Blessed are those who mourned" but "…who mourn"—poverty of spirit and spiritual mourning are ongoing, not a one-time event
    • Nobody who is a stranger to poverty of spirit and godly mourning belongs in Christ's kingdom

II. Turning from Sin to God (32:00)

  • True repentance always features two inseparable turnings: turning from sin and turning to God
  • Any turning from sin that lacks turning to God is a worthless repentance that needs to be repented of
  • Any so-called turning to God that lacks turning from sin is a delusion

Key texts

  1. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 (33:47)
    • When the gospel comes in power, it turns men from idols unto God with a heart committed to serve Him and to live for the age to come
    • If you have not been turned from your sins and idols unto God, the gospel has never come to you in power—just word only
  2. Acts 26:19-23 (36:35)
    • Paul preached to all that men must repent, turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance
    • Repentance requires turning to God—a commitment to a God-obsessed, God-centered, and God-oriented life
  3. Isaiah 1:14-20 (41:15)
    • One of the most wonderful gospel pleas and promises found anywhere in the Bible
    • The wonderful promise of free and full forgiveness is embedded in the call to repentance
    • In repenting, one determines to put away his evil from before the eye of God
    • Repentance brings the response, "Yes, Lord, I am willing to be obedient; by Your grace, I want to serve you."
  4. Isaiah 55:1-7 (43:55)
    • That repentance is not only genuine sorrow and hatred of sin, but a resolute turning from sin to God, are two elements brought together beautifully in this passage
    • The wonderful and free promise of gospel mercy and of God's pleading and entreating is the backdrop against which He calls upon sinners to forsake their way and return to the Lord
    • The promise of mercy and pardon is inseparably joined to the call to repentance (45:25)
    • Repentance requires that we turn from our way (45:30)
      • "Our way" — The combination of our decisions, our words, our thoughts, our deeds, and our desires (45:36)
    • Repentance requires that we turn from our thoughts (46:00)
      • "Our thoughts" — on how to run our own life, on deciding what is good and evil, right and wrong, on what we are to be and not to be, on what we are to do and not do
    • It is only in the context of turning from our way and thoughts, and taking up God's way and living by God's thoughts—revealed in His Word—that we will know mercy
    • If you do not want to forsake your own way and thoughts, then surely you will go to Hell with them!
  5. Luke 15:17-19 (48:15)
    • A beautiful picture of turning from sin to God
    • The prodigal had a change of mind about his father
    • The prodigal expressed an element of shame and grief

Repentance involves turning from sins peculiar to yourself (52:00)

  • You may not be naturally prone to certain sins that others are, and the fact that you don't struggle in those areas is no proof that you have come to repentance
  • The proof of your repentance is found in what you are doing with your own sins peculiar to who you are (54:30)
"Repentance we must not think of as consisting merely in a change of mind in general; it is very particular and concrete. And since it is a change of mind with reference to sin, it is a change of mind with reference to particular sins, sins in all the particularity and individuality which belong to our sins. It is very easy for us to speak of sin, to be very denunciatory respecting sin, and denunciatory respecting the particular sins of other people and yet not be penitent regarding our own particular sins. The test of repentance is the genuineness and resoluteness of our repentance in respect of our own sins, sins characterized by the aggravations which are peculiar to our own selves." — John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (52:10)

III. Full Purpose of and Endeavor After New Obedience (57:20)

True repentance issues in an unfeigned commitment to live out this new mindset with respect to God and to sin

  • There will be no real endeavor unless it is rooted in the heart
  • Those who claim that they "Have it in their heart" must then prove it by their life (endeavor)
  • By their fruits you shall know them (Matthew 7:20)
  • "Full purpose"—not a half-hearted purpose
    • Someone who merely wants to "get right with God" only because of the problems and inconveniences that his sins have brought upon his life has a half-hearted purpose—his heart is still fixed upon his own life and ways, and coming to God is but the means to that end, of pursuing his own life undisturbed
  • A true Christian is one who has only one agenda: to serve the Lord in every single thing (58:35)
    • Every situation, every relationship
    • What one spends, where one goes
    • Who become one's chosen friends
    • What one eats or doesn't eat, drinks or doesn't drink
    • What one watches or doesn't watch on television
    • "Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Additional Notable Quotes

Unbiblical and unauthorized gospels

"Any supposed gospel that does not contain the announcement of the significance of the cross of Christ or the fact and significance of the resurrection of the Christ is not the biblical gospel. Likewise, a faithful proclamation of His cross and empty tomb, if it is not attended with a clarion call to repentance, is an unauthorized gospel." — Albert Martin (2:20)
"God never offered mercy without demanding that people repent." — Albert Martin (41:33)
"The promise of mercy and pardon is inseparably joined to the call to repentance." — Albert Martin (45:25)

Repentance a sovereign gift of God

"Repentance unto life is a saving grace. Repentance is not a work we bring to God and ask Him on the basis of something we do to accept us; no, repentance, as well as faith, are the gifts of God. They are the result, the fruit, of God's sovereign gracious working in the human heart, in what we call regeneration, or the new birth. And the new birth becomes vocal in the soul of a sinner when there is the repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." — Albert Martin (5:30)
"The source of repentance is the grace of God. If any sinner ever comes to repentance, it is because God has been working in him that which he does not deserve; it is the grace of God." — Albert Martin (7:10)

Repentance consists of a true sense of sin, not a mere admission

"Repentance comes out of the soil of a true sense of sin—not a mere admission of sin, but a true sense of sin. That is, a conviction wrought by the Spirit through the Word, in conjunction with the conscience of the individual sinner that sin is a very real, moral commodity. There is a God who has rights over us as His creatures. That God has expressed His will in His law, and we in Adam fell, we rebelled against that God. And in our own personal, existential experience, we live with a clenched fist against the God of heaven (Romans 8:7). And no one is ever brought to repentance who is not, first of all, brought to a true sense of his sin—he sees his sin as against God (Psalm 51:4; Luke 15:18-19) and comes to the awareness, this true sense of his sin, that involves the invisible world of God and His law, and our obligations to Him." — Albert Martin (7:50)

Godly Sorrow

"Genuine sorrow and hatred for sin is an essential, indispensable element of evangelical repentance." — Albert Martin (31:53)
"When there is true humbling of oneself in the presence of God as a sinner, there will be a measure of true grief and hatred of our sin." — Albert Martin (27:00)
"Nobody is in the kingdom Christ has established by His death and resurrection and the sending of His Spirit who is a stranger to poverty of spirit and to godly mourning. Jesus does not recognize your passport. … The Son of God says if you are a stranger to poverty of spirit and to spiritual mourning, you do not belong in His kingdom." — Albert Martin (29:08)
"Do you know this in your experience: '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, does, with grief and hatred of his sin…'—do you know anything of that? I didn't ask you have you known the full measure that you would like to know, that you wish you knew. Is it your grief that you don't grieve more over your sins? That's the mark of the true penitent. Do you know anything of that in your own experience?" — Albert Martin (30:15)
"If the soil out of which repentance grows is a true sense of sin—that is, seeing our sin in relationship to God who made us, that we have wickedly and unreasonably rebelled against the God who made us and whose law and purposes are nothing but good and righteous and holy, how can the creature see himself in the posture of an inexcusable rebel against God as Creator, and not feel grief in his heart? We recognize that our transgressions are against the holy law of God. We have wantonly violated the rights of our Creator. We have grievously contributed—here's where the gospel comes in—to the agonies of Christ. … How can we draw near and hear the dying groans of the Son of God, hear His cry of dereliction, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' How can we see His battered, bruised body, how can we look upon that scene and know that what I have done and what I am contributed to His wounds, to His agony, to His grief, to His sorrow, to the shrouded heavens, to the piercing cry? Do you think you come giggling up to Golgotha? Do you come giggling to Golgotha when you see, 'My sins placed Him there'? My sins not only are an affront to a holy and a gracious God, grievous contributors to the agonies of the dying Savior, but it's my sins that justly expose me to Hell and to eternal separation from God. Surely, to have any true sense of our sin, to any degree, is to have a measure of sorrow and hatred for that sin." — Albert Martin (18:25)

True Repentance

"Wherever there is true, evangelical repentance, there will be grief and sorrow for sin." — Albert Martin (13:55)
"Repentance and faith are not the acts of a moment, but the acquisition of a disposition of heart. The repentance in the initial turning to God through Christ is not substantially different from the ongoing repentance of the one who is in Christ, any more than the initial acting of faith in Christ is substantially different from the ongoing exercises of faith toward Christ." — Albert Martin (16:47)
"Any turning from sin that is not a turning unto God is a repentance that needs to be repented of; it will only increase our judgment. Any professed turning to God that does not involve turning from sin is delusive. It is not turning from sin to nothing—to resolutions and a better life, no; that is to clean the house of the demon of outward wickedness, only to welcome in seven worse demons of self-delusion, self-righteousness, and self-confidence—but a turning from sin unto God. But there is no turning unto God without divorcing your sin. It is utterly impossible to turn truly to God, in biblical repentance, without turning from sin, just as it is impossible to have a true turning from sin without it issuing in a turning to God." — Albert Martin (32:30)
"Paul preached a free salvation based on the saving work of Christ, but he got in the face of sinners with love and compassion and said, 'If you want what Jesus died to give sinners, then stack arms here and now: repent, turn from your sins of self-righteousness, self-will, self-love; get out of the god business!' That's the problem with some of you sitting here: you are wickedly and willfully in the 'god' business, thinking you have a right to run your own life and live by your own standards. Don't you marvel that God doesn't consume you, that He spares you to breathe His air? When you, as it were, have said, 'God, you have no business being on the throne as far as I'm concerned—I'm on the throne, to do my own thing, my own way, the dictates of my own passions and lusts.'" Paul said, 'I told people, you want what Jesus purchased for sinners? Stack arms, repent, turn to God. You are going to live from here on in a God-obsessed, a God-centered, God-oriented life. … And if you say you have stacked arms, you have turned to God, then prove it by your life: 'doing works worthy of repentance.'" — Albert Martin (39:10)
"Have you turned from your sins? What are they? Name them before your mind as specifically as God will name them in the day of judgment. Acting like they are not there does not send them away. What are they? Have you declared war with them? … Do you know what repentance is? It is the vomit of the soul, in which we vomit out not someone else's sins, but the sins we have taken down as delicious food. And when the Spirit of God works in us the grace of regeneration, He turns the spiritual stomach to vomit what went down with such relish and delight! Do you know anything of the vomit of the soul? Do you know anything of a real divorce from your sin, where you have taken the wedding band and thrown it away in the name of Christ? That is repentance unto life." — Albert Martin (56:07)

The Power of the Gospel

"When the gospel comes with power, what does it do? It turns men and women from their idols unto God with a heart committed to serve Him and to live for the age to come. That is exactly what Paul says (1 Thessalonians 1:5, 9-10). He says that is what happens when the gospel comes not in word only. Some of you have heard it in word every Lord's Day for years, but it is obvious it has never come in power—why? You have not turned from your sin; you have not turned to God. You have not been blessedly loosed from an idolatrous attachment to this world, with a heart set on Christ in heaven and the age to come. That's what the gospel did when it came to these idol-worshiping pagans—it wrenched them loose from all that they worshiped as gods and it fixed their hearts irrevocably upon the one true and living God for time and eternity." — Albert Martin (35:20)

The Apostasy of Contemporary Evangelicalism

"Paul said whenever I preached repentance, it was in the context of proclaiming the truth about Jesus—demonstrating from the Scriptures that Christ must die and be raised and what was accomplished in His death and resurrection. And when people said, 'Paul, what must we do to lay hold of the benefits of the work of Jesus, in death and resurrection?' he didn't say, 'Bow your head, close your eyes, and pray a little prayer after me.' He didn't say to walk an aisle and go in and have a non-ordained Protestant priest absolve you when you pray a little prayer that he puts in your mouth—all of this nonsense that sweeps multitudes into self-deception! Thank God He saves some in spite of it…but for every one that gets truly saved, hundreds are sent to Hell with gross deception, who know nothing of repentance, nothing of turning to God." — Albert Martin (38:05)

Repentance Required for Mercy

"Your thoughts, that you know how to run your own life; your thoughts, that you are competent to decide good and evil, right and wrong; your thoughts, that you know how to fashion a god you can be comfortable with; your thoughts about this, that, and the other. You were never made to be a little self-interpreting idol in the midst of God's world! This is God's world; you are God's creature. This is God's right to tell you who you are, what you are to be and what you are not to be, and what you are to do and not do. And God says, 'You want My mercy, you want this gospel invitation to be internalized in your life? Forsake your way and your thoughts, be done with them, and return to God!' And you take His way, and you begin to live by His thoughts revealed in His word—and in that context you will know mercy. If you do not want God's way, then no mercy for you. You want your way? God help me to say it with a broken heart: then go to Hell with your way, for you will. You want your thoughts? Then live with them amidst the shrieking and the screaming of demons and the damned, of the devil and his angels. You want your way? You want your thoughts? Look where they'll take you: you will hear the King say, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire.' And all the while there is a merciful God who says, 'Come, there is true satisfaction of soul in My provisions in the gospel. Ho! Everyone that thirsts, come to the waters; Christ is the living water, He is the bread of life. Come to Him, He waits to receive you. But come, forsaking your way and your thoughts and with a disposition of preparedness to return unto God." — Albert Martin (46:00)

True Christians

"A Christan is someone whom God has brought to the place where he has only one agenda: 'Lord, what will you have me to do?' That's it. In every situation, in every relationship; what I spend, where I go, who become my chosen friends, what I eat and don't eat, what I watch and don't watch on the television, what I drink and don't drink. You have one agenda—it's His. 'Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God' (1 Corinthians 10:31). And if you have turned from your sins to God, you believe that the most reasonable thing in the world is to seek to live in every single thing to His glory." — Albert Martin (58:35)