As an addendum to the previous post, I want to share what the “Westminster Confession of Faith” says concerning repentance. This is chapter 15 of the confession, titled “Of Repentance unto Life.”
- Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace (Acts 11:18; 2 Cor. 7:10; Zech. 12:10), the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ (Luke 24:47; Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21).
- By it, a sinner, out of the sight and sense not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature, and righteous law of God; and upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God (Ezek. 18:30-31; 36:31; Isa. 30:22; ps. 51:4; Jer. 31:18-19; Joel 2:12-13; Amos 5:15; Ps. 119:128; 2 Cor. 7:11; 1 Thess. 1:9), purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all the ways of his commandments (Ps. 119:6, 59, 106; 2 Kings 23:25; see Luke 1:6).
- Although repentance be not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof (Ezek. 36:31-32; 16:61-63; Isa. 43:35), which is the act of God’s free grace in Christ (Hos. 14:2, 4; Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7); yet it is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it (Luke 13:3, 5; Mark 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).
- As there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation (Rom. 6:23; Gal. 3:10; Matt. 12:36); so there is no sin so great, that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent (Isa. 55:7; Rom. 8:1; Isa. 1:16-18).
- Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man’s duty to endeavor to repent of his particular sins, particularly (Ps. 19:13; Matt. 26:75; Luke 19:8; 1 Tim. 1:13, 14).
- As every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof (Pss. 32:5-6; 51:1-14); upon which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy (Prov. 28:13; Isa. 55:7; 1 John 1:9); so, he that scandalizeth his brother, or the church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession, and sorrow for his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended (James 5:16; Luke 17:3-4; Josh. 7:19; see Matt. 18:15-18), who are thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive him (2 Cor. 2:7-8; see Gal. 6:1-2).