“Either sin must drown or the soul burn. Let it not be said that repentance is difficult. Things that are excellent deserve labour. Will not a man dig for gold in the ore though it makes him sweat ? It is better to go with difficulty to heaven than with ease to hell.” – Thomas Watson, “The Doctrine of Repentance”
This past week I finally ventured into the world of the Puritans and read Thomas Watson’s The Doctrine of Repentance. I bought this book almost a year ago and finally pulled it off the shelf, and was not disappointed. It’s one title in the Puritan Paperbacks series. Watson’s short book (less than 125 pages) urgently presses the issue of how necessary repentance is to the Christian faith. He spends nearly 1/3 of the book outlining what real repentance is (and isn’t). For example, Watson explains why guilt alone is not enough for repentance – a change of the heart is the only real test:
Ahab and Judas had some trouble of mind. It is one thing to be a terrified sinner and another to be a repenting sinner. Sense of guilt is enough to breed terror. Infusion of grace breeds repentance.
Repentance seems to be glossed over in some circles of preaching today. I wonder why that is ? Look at the first chapter alone of Mark. In verse 4, we’re told that, “John (the Baptist) appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Then in verse 15, Jesus’ first words in this Gospel are, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” There can be no doubt of the importance of repentance !
There is much gold to be found in Watson’s little book. I hope to post more about it in the next several days. Well worth adding to your list !