How to truly repent of a sin

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    526
    Likes Received:
    266
    Religion:
    ACNA
    Our priests sermon today was on calling someone back into repentance. This got me thinking how does one truly repent of a sin and how can you tell if someone has?
     
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    605
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    Ours mentioned that, too. Same section of Matthew, no doubt.

    Mat 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
    Mat 18:16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
    Mat 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.


    Our sermon contained a couple of interesting points that I'd never heard before. For one, the priest said (I paraphrase) that the purpose of taking a witness or two wasn't really to 'gang up' on the brother, but to hear both sides and partly to make sure you weren't accusing him wrongfully (I had a mental image of referees). The other point was, in treating the unrepentant wrongdoer like "a Gentile and a tax collector," we should treat them as Jesus treated them; Jesus still treated them with love and respect, and He did not shun them or tell them they weren't welcome around Him and the disciples.

    Only God knows if someone truly repents of a sin. Even the sinner might not know for sure; sometimes we seem to have an uncanny ability to deceive ourselves.

    Hippolytus of Rome wrote about excluding the sinner from church services for perhaps a year while the sinner demonstrated his penitence by sobbing outside during the services, followed by allowing him inside for a few more months and hearing him wail how sorry he was, before finally allowing him back to communion. I think they'd gone a bit overboard around Rome in his day. :loopy:
     
    bwallac2335 likes this.
  3. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    526
    Likes Received:
    266
    Religion:
    ACNA
    No doubt they did. How did they not have everyone outside wailing?
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    605
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    I think it's because most sins being committed weren't overt. If it got around that a man committed adultery or cheated someone, that would have had them outside. But if a man merely lusted, coveted, or envied, they could still go to communion and everything, with no one the wiser. Which helps to prove that it was not a good way of handling things!
     
  5. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    575
    Likes Received:
    625
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican
    It might be interesting to some to know that the 1 year lectionary read the Good Samaritan that day.

    How to repent? Well, 2 Corinthians tells us that grief and sorrow are signs of repentance. This is a theme of much reflection in early church writings. For instance, the main problem within the Shepherd of Hermas is what to do if one sins after baptism. It should be noted that in the early church, many delayed baptism until a late stage of life, when they suspected they were close to death, because the teaching of repentance was not very consistent. The Shepherd explores the theme of grief in some detail.

    Sin was more serious in those days. Whatever Martin Luther was trying to communicate when he wrote to Melancthon in private correspondence, "sin boldly" has been taken out of context and made a battle cry for lazy Christians in the Protestant movement.
     
  6. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    526
    Likes Received:
    266
    Religion:
    ACNA
    If it is grief and sorrow I am full of that for my sins.
    Did you ever write that book or article on the Shephard of Hermas?
     
  7. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    575
    Likes Received:
    625
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I am diligently working on that.
     
  8. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    575
    Likes Received:
    625
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican
    ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind In Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

    ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    These two prayers are the general confessions in the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer. They are very self-deprecating. In fact, they make me a little uncomfortable some days. Anyhow, the grief theme is prominent.
     
  9. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,277
    Likes Received:
    414
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    These two prayers are regularly recited by the whole congregation at Evensong, Evening Prayer and other BCP services. Such regular confession should instill in us a profound gratitude for the eternal and enduring grace of God as demonstrated by Christ's incarnation, life, death, ("Father forgive them for they know not what they do"), resurrection and glorification, without which all of a sinner's repentance, however sincere or feigned, would affect our salvation not one jot or tittle. It is not sincerity which secures salvation, it is FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST and his untrammeled authority.
    .
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    605
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    Just about every road has two ditches, one on either side. In this case, the ditch on one side is an excessive feeling of sinfulness to the neglect of experiencing God's forgiveness. The ditch on the other side is a total lack of sin-awareness to the point where the person readily and habitually sins without any thought toward feeling sorry. But in between the two lies the Romans Road, where we realize our fallen human nature and strive against it, we experience sorrow for our shortcomings, and we dwell in the peace and joy that come from knowing that God has shed His grace and righteousness freely to us through faith and has made us "able to stand" before Him.
     
  11. Dave Kemp

    Dave Kemp Member Anglican

    Posts:
    74
    Likes Received:
    70
    Country:
    United States of America
    Religion:
    Church of England
    Straight out of the 1662 BCP!
     
  12. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    526
    Likes Received:
    266
    Religion:
    ACNA
    Oddly enough I am in a debate on facebook where at least some continuing Anglican priests don't see the general confession as valid unless done with perfect contrition. It seems to me that some of the continuum apes Rome so much I don't understand why they are not Roman.
     
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,277
    Likes Received:
    414
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    That leaves me wondering how they define 'perfect contrition' and whether they have ever managed to achieve it themselves.

    What do we think?

    I mean Our Heavenly Father is 'perfect' and we must be also Matt.5:48, but I doubt God has ever perfected 'contrition'. What has he ever needed to be 'contrite' about? He's perfect

    I doubt God has had any practice at it, since He has never done anything that needed confessing or asking forgiveness for. If He has He wouldn't be perfect anymore.

    I am convinced that God only prefers plain ordinary contrition and since he knows the human heart of old, 'perfect' simply does not come into it at all. It would seem that scripture states that 'while we were yet sinners, Christ dies for us' Rom.5:8, God was not demanding 'perfect contrition' when He did that, was He.
    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    605
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    I doubt I've every done any "perfect" thing in my lifetime... unless I count how perfectly I messed it up! :hmm: