Puritan Book Reviews - The Doctrine of RepentanceTolle Lege - Take and Read Book Reviews
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Puritan Book Reviews – The Doctrine of Repentance
Reviewed by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon
The Doctrine of Repentance
by Thomas Watson
Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA: 1999
122 Pages, Paperback
What is repentance? This word (repentance) is one of the most importance words in all of the Bible. Thomas Watson, being sorely aware of this, shows how the doctrine is pivotal, not only for the wicked who are unrepentant, but for the Christian who continues in an attitude of repentance before Jesus Christ for their life. Repentance is not something that is popular today. It assumes that a person is a sinner because they need to repent. It holds them over the flames of hell instead of coupling them before the gates of heaven.
In this needful little book, Thomas Watson explains the doctrine of repentance in six particulars which are useful if memorized: Repentance is sight of sin, sorrow for sin, confession of sin, shame for sin, hatred of sin and turning from sin. This can be applied to either the Christian or non-Christian, though the nature of the nature of the sins is still the same. Among the chapters of the book he discusses the “Nature of Repentance” in two chapters, “Powerful Motives to Repentance” and “The Removing of Impediments to Repentance.”
Watson believed the two great graces essential to the believer were faith and repentance, They are hallmarks of his conversion and should be exercised daily. He shows how Christians often just come to “confess” without taking into consideration, or having due meditation, on the complete doctrine of repentance which he shows comprises the other five elements as well if it be true.
This is another one of those inexpensive books to hand out to those struggling with sin. Whether they be a believer or not makes no difference. I have personally found his 6 points of the doctrine especially helpful in formulating my own devotional and prayer time. Without understanding what it means to repent, and using these points as a checklist for true piety, real repentance may be turned into some type of formalistic prayer for the sake of duty. In memorizing and understanding these points, they have become a help to a more complete and knowledgeable way to pray for forgiveness before Jesus Christ.
“Repentance is not arbitrary. It is not left to our choice whether or not we will repent, but it is an indispensable command. God has enacted a law in the High Court of heaven that no sinner shall be saved except the repenting sinner, and He will not break His own law.”
“There are two sorts of persons who will find it harder to repent than others: Those who have sat a great while under the ministry of God’s ordinances but grow no better. Those who have sinned frequently against the convictions of the Word, the checks of conscience, and the motions of the Spirit.”
“A piece of lead, while it is in the lump, can be put to no use, but melt it, and you may then cast it in to any mould, and it is made useful. So a heart that is hardened into a lump of sin is good for nothing, but when it is dissolved by repentance it is useful. A melting heart is fit to pray.”
“It is natural to us to procrastinate and put off repentance.”