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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, does with grief and hatred of his sin turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience.

1. Is true repentance, repentance unto life? Yes: God hath to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life, Acts 11:18. Is it a grace? Yes: If God peradventure will give them repentance, 2 Tim. 2:25. Is it a saving grace? Yes: godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, 2 Cor. 7:10.

2. Is repentance required of every one of us? Yes: God commandeth all men everywhere to repent, Acts 17:30. Is it necessary to our pardon? Yes: for repentance and remission of sins are preached to all nations, Luke 24:47. Is it given to qualify us for pardon? Yes: God hath exalted his Son Christ Jesus, to give repentance and remission of sins, Acts 5:3. Can we be saved without it? No: Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish, Luke 13:3.

3. Is it necessary to repentance, that there be a sense of sin? Yes : Cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, Ezek. 16:2. Must there be an acknowledgment of sin? Yes: I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me, Ps. 51:3. Must we acknowledge the fact of sin? Yes: Thus and thus have I done, Josh. 7:20. And the fault? Yes: I have done this evil in thy sight, Ps. 51:4. And the folly of it? Yes: O God, thou knowest my foolishness, Ps. 69:5. Must we acknowledge the original of sin? Yes: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, Ps. 51:5. Must we acknowledge ourselves odious to God's holiness because of sin? Yes: Behold, I am vile, Job 11:4. And obnoxious to his justice? Yes: If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand, Ps. 130:3.

4. Must there be an apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ? Yes: there is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared, Ps. 130:4. Must that invite us to repent? Yes: The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance, Rom. 2:4. Is that evangelical repentance which flows from a hope of that mercy? Yes: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, Matt. 3:2. Can there be true repentance where there is a despair of mercy? No: Thou saidst there is hope; no, I have loved strangers, and after them will I go, Jer. 2:25. Have we reason to hope for that mercy? Yes: Turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy, Isa. 55:7.

5. Must there be contrition for sin? Yes: When they heard this, they were pricked to the heart, Acts. 2:37. Must we turn from sin? Yes: Everyone mourning for his iniquities, Ezek. 7:16. Must we mourn greatly for sin? Yes: Peter went out and wept bitterly, Matt. 26:75. Must we mourn after a godly sort? Yes: Ye sorrowed according to God, 2 Cor. 7:9,margin. Must we mourn for sin with an eye to Christ? Yes: They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn, Zech. 1:10. 6. Must we hate sin? Yes: I hate every false way, Ps. 119:128. Must we loathe ourselves because of sin? Yes: I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes, Job 42:6. Must we be ashamed of ourselves before God? Yes: I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God, Ezra 9:6. And must we humble ourselves greatly in his presence? Yes: as the publican that stood afar off; and would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, Luke 18:13.

7. Must we confess our sins? Yes: for he that covers his sins shall not prosper, Prov. 28:13. And must we aggravate them? Yes: I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, Luke 15:18. And must we judge ourselves because of them? Yes: If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged, 1 Cor. 11:31. And must we cry earnestly to God for pardon in the blood of Christ be merciful to me a sinner, Luke 18:13.

8. Must we turn from sin? Yes: Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, Ezek. 18:30. From our own sin? Yes: Return ye now every one from his evil way, Jer. 18:11. And must we turn to God? Yes: If thou wilt return, O Israel, return unto me, Jer. 4:1. Are backsliders invited to return? Yes: Return ye backsliding children, Jer. 3:22. And should they accept the invitation? Yes: Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God, Jer. 3:22.

9. In repentance must there be a change of the mind? Yes: Make ye a new heart, Ezek. 18:31. Must there be a change of the way? Yes: Cease to do evil, learn to do well, Isa. 1:16,17. Must there be a full resolution against all sin? Yes: Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols, Hos. 14:8. And a full resolution of new obedience? Yes: The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey, Josh. 24:24. And must we be serious in our endeavours accordingly? Yes: Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance, Matt. 3:8.

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