Facets Of Godly Repentance

Insight On True Repentance From The Holy Scriptures

Facets Of Godly Repentance
Image Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2017 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).
Repentance is not just being sorry, but heartily aligning our thoughts and ways with those of God. It is needed for holiness and righteousness. Here is some help from the Holy BibleĀ for godly repentance.

Very much is heard about the love of God. Once one becomes a true redeemed child of God through Jesus Christ they will note a loving Father - son relationship with Him. As a loving Father, God cares for His child. So there are times God will correct, rebuke, and chasten the true disciple of Christ by His written Word and spoken Word to our hearts. Based upon the Holy Bible, God will use other Christians, circumstances, other people, and more to keep us on His path.

The Holy Bible has much to say about repentance. In a way, as one grows in Christ it is an ongoing thing.

But then there are times we need to focus upon it. For this message we will look into Proverbs 3:11-12 with Hebrews 12:5-6 and 12-15. Hebrews 12 deals with repentance and coupled with Proverbs 3:11-12 we will see three facets of godly repentance.

I. Accept His Correction 

Proverbs 3:11a and quoted in Hebrews 12:5c

“My son, despise not the chastening of YHWH;”

The term “chastening” in  Proverbs 3:11a and Hebrews 12:5c from the Hebrew and Greek respectively can be summed up as {1} discipline, training, training as one might a child, instruction that aims at increasing virtue, chastening, chastisement, etc. 

For the latter part of these two verses there is a slight difference between the Hebrew text and the Greek text for “correction” in Proverbs and “rebuked” (NKJV) in the epistle to the Hebrews. Let’s look at “correction” in Proverbs first:

* rebuke, correction, reproof, punishment, chastisement 
* argument, reproof   
* impeachment 
* chiding

Over in the epistle where the NKJV uses “rebuked” that word is as follows:

* to convict, refute, confute 
* generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted ... by conviction to bring to the light, to expose 
* to find fault with, correct 
* by word
* to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove 

Sadly, thanks to modern society “shame” carries a very negative connotation and even many Christians are convinced that shame is always wrong. However, according to God’s Word this is not true {2}. There is godly and ungodly shame, and a godly and ungodly way to shame someone.

The Scriptures point out two negative extremes in repentance, either it is despised or one becomes overly discouraged. Consider again, “My son, despise not the chastening of YHWH.” Despised has a slight range of meaning in our compound text. For the Hebrew in Proverbs 3 it can mean to reject, refuse and to despise. The Greek in Hebrews 12 is to care little for, regard lightly, make small account.

Rejecting chastening can range from vehement refusal in accepting a valid charge to merely brushing it aside or personally justifying it. Looking at the definitions for the Greek word in Hebrews 12 for despise, I have to think of the “cheap grace” some entertain by just thinking, “God will forgive. It is no big deal.” Listen, any and all sin, no matter if we think of it as a small sin or big sin, sent Christ to the cross.

Another ploy of the devil is to get us to think something like, “Look at all the dirt King David did, and he was forgiven.” Indeed he was forgiven, but the Holy Scriptures are quite clear the repercussions of his actions reverberated until he died. Besides, because Christ came, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, rose from the dead and ascended, coupled with the fact we have the whole written Word of God, we have no excuse. We know better and through Christ we can do much better.
For the balance of the exhortation of the verses under discussion Proverbs has “do not be weary” while the epistle has “discouraged” (AV has “faint”). “Do not be weary” means “to be grieved, loathe, abhor, feel a loathing or abhorrence or sickening dread."

In the epistle “discouraged / faint” is ...

* to dissolve, metaph., to weaken, relax, exhaust 
* to have one’s strength relaxed, to be enfeebled through exhaustion, to grow weak, grow weary, be tired out 
* to despond, become faint hearted

After sinning over and over again, one might be tempted to think, “What is the use? I will never be what God wants me to be.” However, carefully read the context in Hebrews 12. Our heavenly Father urges us on to perfection so that we might reign forever with Him. Most importantly, His Son paid the full penalty for our sins so we might live like Him. His Son lives that He might live in each disciple and help that disciple to grow, helping Him to learn to sin less over time.

Also, another tactic of the devil is for us to overly focus upon the sorrow of God or our failure. Once we bring our sins before Him and ask forgiveness it is time to press on. 1  John 1:9 declares, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

II. See His Affection

Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6

What we read in these passages is real love, love that cares, love that protects and nourishes. Both Proverbs and Hebrews point out that YHWH chastens those that He loves. He is certainly not like some humans that say “kids will be kids”, or that turn a blind eye at some point in raising children, or justify their child’s sinful actions.

There is a stark contrast between the ending portions of Proverbs 3:12  and Hebrews 12:6:

Proverbs 3:12-- even as a father the son in whom he delights.
Hebrews 12:6-- and scourges every son whom he receives.

The difference is in the fact Paul was obviously directed by the Holy Spirit to quote from the Septuagint. There are times we must be scourged by Him, otherwise we will not learn our lesson well, or at all. A wise disciple pressing on to maturity will learn to avoid such situations. Nonetheless, taking these two texts together we can rejoice in the fact that God still delights in us, if we are truly His redeemed child.

III. Follow His Directions  

Hebrews 12:12-15

One great thing about the Holy Bible is that it is quite unlike much of human instruction. I do not know how many times I have been told by others as to what I cannot do yet they never told me what I could do. God's Word is not like that. While it tells us not to do certain things it certainly tells us what we can do.

We have seen from above that we are not to despise any discipline from God nor should we be discouraged by it. After remembering we are not to despise His discipline nor be discouraged over it, verses 12 to 15 of Hebrews 12 give us powerful steps as to what we are to do.

“Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.”
Keeping in mind the context of this passage pictures us in a race, we are to strengthen our spiritual hands that hang down. It is much easier to run with our arms up and bent at the elbows. Satan would have us to be discouraged, but God wants us to be blessed with His energy provided in His Son. Physically, upon acknowledging His forgiveness we ought to raise our hands toward heaven and praise Him. When I think about the feeble knees receiving strength I have to think of prayer.

13 - “And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”

We should be aiming to meet Jesus. No detours are allowed. Also it would be good to remove from our course any stumbling blocks. Our goal each day must be to please the Father through Christ alone.

14 - “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:“

Note very carefully that the words “and holiness” immediately follow. This means the peace that we should pursue with all people must be a godly, Christ-honoring peace. This is a peace that does not tolerate sin, but deals with it through the cross of Christ. We are to have nothing to do with sin, and have everything to do with Christ every moment.

15 - “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”

We are to be diligent in our race to Christ, aiming toward our goal because of our love for Him. If and when we trip up, our Father in heaven in some merciful, loving way will correct us so we might be on course again. It is always good to remember His words in Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”


{1} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, and so throughout this article whenever the ancient languages are mentioned unless another authority is cited.

{2} Please read Is “Is It Wrong For A Christian To Shame Someone?" at http://thesureword.expertscolumn.com/article/is-it-wrong-for-a-christian-to-shame-someone

This article is a form of a message (sermon) outline. You will find a link to the actual message (sermon) at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M236.

Unless otherwise noted, Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version (AV), but modified in some cases to update the language (e.g., "has" was "hath") and to restore the Tetragrammaton in the OT as indicated.

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