The spirit of our age encourages us not to feel bad about ourselves and to build up our self-esteem. Yet to become a Christian and then to maintain a healthy Christian life, we must practice repentance—acknowledging with sorrow our sin and yearning for holiness and increased obedience to God’s will. In this pamphlet, Jeremy Walker explains from the Scriptures what it means to repent by turning from our sin and turning to God. He provides biblical portraits of repentance and practical steps toward developing this important characteristic in our lives.
Principles of Repentance
Portraits of Repentance
Jeremy Walker is a pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church in Crawley, England, and is the author of Passing Through: Pilgrim Life in the Wilderness.
“Reading Jeremy Walker’s pamphlet What Is Repentance? feels like following a physician of souls into a spiritual operating room and seeing him lay open the human heart. He first briefly shows us the nature of sin and its devastating consequences. Then, with precision, he uses a surgeon’s scalpel to skillfully separate false and true repentance so that we may truly find salvation in Jesus Christ. This is a book every Christian should read and place in the hands of those who are seriously inquiring about the way to life.” — Conrad Mbewe, pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church, Zambia, and conference speaker
Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns and attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’”
Many people who are new to the church need instruction in the most basic aspects of godly living. Even where churches are engaged heavily in discipleship, visitors and members often have gaps in their understanding and practice. One of the greatest needs of our time is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the glory of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of God the Father.
For these reasons, Joel Beeke and Ryan McGraw are coediting a series of booklets titled Cultivating Biblical Godliness. These booklets treat matters that are vital to Christian experience, and each contribution aims to address a wide variety of people and circumstances at a fundamental and introductory level. This includes teaching people what to believe in order to practice personal holiness as well as specific directions on how to cultivate biblical godliness in relation to issues that are common to God’s people.
The distinctive feature of this series is its experiential tone. While some booklet series aim to enlighten the mind, these booklets aim to warm the affections as well. The goal is to promote communion with the triune God and to transform the entire person in thought, speech, and behavior. To this end, we intend to include a wide range of authors whom the Spirit has blessed to skillfully stir up the church to personal holiness and affection to Christ through their preaching and writing ministries.
We need a Christianity that puts the transformative power of God in the gospel on display through developing a communion with God that is visible to the world. Our prayer is that through this series, the Lord would revive His church by producing Christians who are full of love for Christ, who deny themselves in order to follow Him at great personal cost, and who know the joys of walking with the triune God. This is the kind of Christianity that we need. This is the kind of Christianity that the triune God has used to turn the world upside down. May He be pleased to do so again.
Joel R. Beeke is President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a prolific author.
Ryan M. Mcgraw is pastor of First OPC in Sunnyvale, CA. He is also author or The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath.