Yesterday I mentioned Thomas Watson’s terrific book The Doctrine of Repentance. I found this book difficult to sit through at times – not because of Watson’s writing, but because he was describing patterns in my own life. I have unfortunately caught myself saying, “Well at least I don’t do that anymore”, while not fully realizing that in its place, I’ve latched on to something else that’s not pleasing to God. Or I continue on in a particular sin that I’ve confessed but never really turned completely away from – impatience, irritability, bad listener, etc.
In his book, Watson leaves no stone unturned in discussing the reasons why people leave sin. But what he makes clear is that leaving sin – on its own – may not be a true indicator of real repentance. We may leave one sin and just enter into another. We might decide that it’s simply not practical to continue on in a particular sin. But Watson feels that unless we cry out to God in such a way that true tears of repentance flow, we should question whether our repentance is real.
“How happy it would be if we were more deeply affected with sin, and our eyes did swim in their orb. We may clearly see the Spirit of God moving in the waters of repentance, which though troubled, are yet pure. Moist tears dry up sin and quench the wrath of God.”
I guess it’s no wonder that Watson quotes verses from Jeremiah – the “weeping prophet” – nearly 30 times in this short book.
I hope to write more on this in the next day or so….