The Bible contrasts godly sorrow and 'worldly' sorrow. The former results in salvation, the latter results in death. This gives us a better understanding of what repentance is. Many feel that repentance is merely feeling sorry for their sins, and usually they only feel sorry because they got caught, and rather than dealing with sin, they want to save face (and sin always brings shame!) and for that reason they are made sorry. We must be careful when we are dealing with people about the Gospel of Jesus that we don't entertain this kind of sorrow. John the Baptist in Matt. 3:8 is careful to make sure that his listeners were truly repentant. In fact, according to the story they did not demonstrate 'fruits meet for repentance.' If we are not careful about this issue, we literally could provide false assurance or false hope to people about their lost spiritual condition. I am not trying to complicate this matter since the Bible does talk about the simplicity of the Gospel, but until a person turns from sin (and self) to the Savior, there cannot be Salvation. I know a church (happens to be a Baptist church - of all religious bodies out there) that attempted to copy Pentecost and as a result baptized thousands in one day, but unfortunantly some (and I am afraid to even say, maybe even most) of them were not even saved. I think of my Catholic friends who are stooped in Romanism, they practice sincere penance - but that is another form of 'worldly sorrow' which results in death. The message of repentance IS important.
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