Can You Repent If You Were Caught? Three Signs of Godly Sorrow.

“The brokenhearted believer will not seek to escape the discipline of the Lord.” and “A repentant sinner pleads guilty to all charges, trusting Jesus Christ the advocate to secure our forgiveness.”

I read an article by Chad Ashby (Pastor, Newberry, South Carolina) that really blessed me. And I would like to quote it here for all to read. I receive daily notifications from the website “Desiring God” (https://www.desiringgod.org) which has proven to be of immeasurable help to Andra and myself when we had to face most difficult times in our lives and we were seeking a spiritual home after we had to depart from a spiritual home where we have been serving God for many years and where the spiritual leaders failed to live up to the standard of God’s Word. We could no longer associate ourselves with them. The sermons of John Piper and others at “Desiring God” helped us to remain faithful to the Word and we eventually found a new spiritual home where we can worship God.

Whilst we are praying for those left behind that God in His grace and mercy will keep them from falling away totally, we are thankful to be sustained and encouraged in our faith by words of truth shared by others. Therefore I feel to share below that which has blessed me. Never loose hope and never give up for Christ is alive and will be with His people right to the end!

Chad Asby says, “In recent years, we’ve sadly seen some popular Christians fall into ministry-disqualifying sins. Often, the revelation of a double life is followed by a public statement of regret.

It’s hard not to be cynical about the purity of the motives behind such acts of repentance. After all, wouldn’t a truly repentant Christian confess the truth about their sin before being caught? But if we’re honest, I wonder whether what unsettles us most on these occasions is how familiar it all feels — offering rushed apologies in an effort to mitigate sin’s consequences. It’s one of the most worn pages in our own playbook.

Is true repentance even possible when we’ve been caught in the act?

Though we might be jaded by our contemporary experiences, a survey of Scripture finds numerous examples where true repentance followed a sudden exposure of sin. Only after Abigail’s courageous public confrontation did David realize he had let pride nearly drive him to murder (1 Samuel 25:23–35). Later, David remained blinded to his heinous crimes against Bathsheba and Uriah her husband until Nathan raised a pointed finger and pronounced, “You are the man” (2 Samuel 12:7). Both exposures are followed by David’s sincere repentance. Likewise, the city of Nineveh expressed sorrow only after God sent Jonah to bring public outcry against her sin, yet her repentance is lauded by Jesus himself (Matthew 12:41).

Although repentance after the humiliation of uncovered sin may appear contrived, the fact remains that one of God’s patterns in Scripture is to use human agents to expose sin and bring about repentance. The question, then, is not whether true repentance after being caught is possible, but what this true repentance looks like.

True repentance accepts full responsibility.

Repentance is a matter of the heart, and a truly repentant heart turns away from sin not in part but in full. Consider this question: When you have been confronted about sin, do you try to admit the least amount possible, or do you confess it all? In his first epistle, John writes, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). When a brother begins to shine a light in a dark corner of your life, is your impulse to confess quickly to get him to turn off the flashlight? Or do you realize it’s all or nothing? A repentant heart will seize the moment to step completely into the light.

Often, the temptation in confrontation is to play the lawyer. We justify ourselves by trying to share the blame with others. For instance, when Samuel confronted Saul for disobeying God’s command to destroy the entire camp of the Amalekites, Saul kicks into blame-shift mode: “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. . . . But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen” (1 Samuel 15:20–21).

When we try to defend ourselves, we betray a disbelief in the truth of the gospel. “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). In the courtroom of God, sinners try to plead their own case on the basis of technicalities, comparison to others, or self-righteousness. However, a repentant sinner pleads guilty to all charges, trusting Jesus Christ the advocate to secure our forgiveness on the basis of his righteousness — not ours. He also admits that his sin has harmed others, and pleads with Christ for mercy and healing for those offended.

When you are confronted about sin in your life, is your response, “Yes, I did it,” or is it, “Yeah, but . . .”? You’ll know immediately if you are willing to take full responsibility.

True repentance relinquishes control.

An unrepentant heart is a savvy politician; it wants to get out in front of the issue so it can control the narrative. Panic, embarrassment, shame, and guilt can cloud our judgment. The pride that blinded us to the dangers of sin is the same pride that wants to remain in control through the repentance process.

This is why true repentance demonstrates a willingness to let go and admit the truth: I do not get to choose the consequences of my sin. We see this attitude modeled once again in David, who, after hearing the consequences of his sin from the prophet Nathan, did not try to negotiate, but simply acknowledged, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13).

Often, we want to manage our sanctification, but that’s not how it works. The sin God is seeking to root out and destroy in us is the same sin that drove nails through his Son. It’s deadly stuff. When God brings a spouse, friend, or church member into your sin, it may be because you don’t take your sin as seriously as you should. You need help. In that moment, true repentance says, “You know what, you are right. I have sinned. What do you think I should do?”

Sanctification is a team effort. Oh the depth of God’s mercy and the liberty of Christ’s love to be able to entrust the care of our souls to others — and not to disinterested parties but to brothers and sisters who seek to love us unconditionally! God is going to use others to root the old man out, if we are willing to relinquish control.

True repentance treasures discipline.

A third sign of repentance in a believer is a proper understanding of God’s discipline. We are reminded in the Scriptures, “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6). The brokenhearted believer will not seek to escape the discipline of the Lord, but will treasure it as a gift from the Father.

The author of Hebrews pulls no punches; discipline “seems painful rather than pleasant” in the moment (Hebrews 12:11). However, a repentant heart trusts that “later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). Depending on the seriousness of sinful behavior, discipline may mean the loss of a relationship, a career, or a pastorate. It may even involve prison time. The repentant heart receives even these painful consequences as from the merciful hand of God, who by his very discipline spares us from eternal wrath (1 Corinthians 11:32).

Discipline certainly means restitution for past wrongs, but it can also mean training for future righteousness. This means enlisting the help of brothers and sisters who have been solemnly charged to “see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God” (Hebrew 12:15). A local church, spouse, and friends are essential in helping to take concrete steps to prevent sin’s temptation in the future. Once again, this may mean difficult life changes or drastic measures. For instance, a convicted sex offender may never be able to walk onto church property without being escorted by a fellow church member, but a repentant believer will receive this discipline as a gift from God.

The Spirit works in this way to cultivate humility, interdependence, and unity in the body of Christ. While you may be helping a brother in one area of weakness, he is helping you in another. While he is confronting you about your sin today, you may be the one confronting him about his tomorrow. In this way, the Spirit empowers the church through true repentance to “[build] itself up in love” as we “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Ephesians 4:16; Galatians 6:1).

Chad Ashby (@Chad_Ashby) is the pastor of College Street Baptist Church in Newberry, South Carolina. He is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/can-you-repent-if-you-were-caught?

Study Material

I have started to add from my lecture material at Seminary on the blog. There has been several requests over the past few weeks that I should include some study material on my blog to help people in their understanding of Biblical doctrine and to elucidate what we actually should believe based on the Bible. Or, simply to help people to know Scripture better. I have added material concerning the Old Testament, Mission, and Doctrine. I will still add some material on Bible interpretation and the New Testament in the near future. I plan to add material on a weekly basis.

It is in a more popular format where I draw from various sources to bring over content concerning the topics under discussion. I hope and trust that readers may find it of some help in their own study of the Bible and Christian walk. I have added references to sources as much as I can. Please visit these resource links. I will add a “Links” tab where I will highlight trustworthy websites to visit and trustworthy preachers, speakers and teachers one may listen to.

You will notice that my blog is most definitely Reformed Theology in essence and also Reformed Baptist to be more specific. It is thoroughly in line with the trusted confessions of faith which have withstood the most vigorous scrutiny during times of theological conflict. I have added the confessions of faith to the blog. The Reformed grounding in the Five Solas is basic, foundational and of utmost importance for my Evangelical approach to the understanding of the Scriptures. It has brought great stability in my spiritual life and to keep me from falling into false doctrine in the past.

I am developing this blog and it will take time to have it “perfect”. So bear with me and feel welcome to write and assist with advice or ideas or positive criticism. I appreciate all responses.

I pray that God will be honored in all this effort!

January 2020

2Teach and urge these things. 3If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 11But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6).

Today by the grace and mercy of God, I started as Senior Lecturer at a theological training college. I am extremely thankful to God for making this possible and I honestly pray that I will be faithful to Him, the Most High God, in everything I do and teach at this place where young people are prepared and trained to be ministers of the Word. I have made many mistakes in my past, but I hold on to the most precious words found in the Bible for the saved sinner,

7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1)

I have had a “life-time” with the Lord in the ministry all over the world. I am not ashamed of the Gospel and I am looking forward to teaching and preaching this Gospel of Jesus Christ for the remaining of my years to live. I have quoted some verses from 1 Timothy 6 above, which spoken to Timothy by the apostle Paul, will nevertheless guide me in my teaching practice with the students.

Previously to this theological lecturing post I will be standing in now, I have taught at a teacher’s college for 21 years. To this day I still have contact with some students from those years. They are teaching all over the world. I thank the Lord for each moment I could have spent teaching and preparing them to function as Christian teachers in the secular schools of this world we are living in. But now, the student body has changed. I believe much of what was taught to the young teachers in educational practice would also be needed in the training of the young pastors. And I am looking forward to doing so. May God find me faithful to the appointed task in His vineyard.

With this in mind, this blog will change. Most that was previously posted on this blog had been archived. This blog will now cater for this new focus in my live. The content will be as beneficial to you in your spiritual walk as it will be to the students I will be dealing with. The content of the blog will not proclaim the theological views of any particular congregation, church or denomination but be Christ centered and based on the Bible as much as is possible within my finite ability. I will be theologically guided in the expression of my faith as it appears on the pages of this blog by the dicta, the so-called Five Solae, which precipitated from the Reformation, namely:

Sola scriptura: “Scripture alone”
Sola fide: “faith alone”
Sola gratia: “grace alone”
Solo Christo: “Christ alone”
Soli Deo gloria: “to the glory of God alone”


Do not leave the blog but stay with me. It will be an exciting journey. Together we will walk and talk with God, study His Word and walk into the future one step at a time.

Credo!

There is a new tab on the blog, “Credo”.

If everyone believes in God, the obvious question then follows, “What do we believe about God?” To answer the question is to confess, declare, state or proclaim our creed. A creed is a statement that describes our beliefs. The English word creed is an English equivalent to the Latin word credo, which means, “I believe.” It goes back to the 12th century, where it occurred as a compound word kerd-dhe, meaning basically “to put one’s heart.” This has relevance to the essence of a creed in that it focuses on what we believe, from our hearts and also confess with our mouths.

I have been rather vocal and critical on this blog concerning what people believed and did not believe, and I duly include myself in this criticism. At Mission Kwasizabantu there were creeds in place that we earnestly query as to their biblical roots and therefore validity as Protestant creeds satisfying the Apostles’ Creed and five solas at the very least as an expression of the reformed theology we profess to adhere to. I think it is clear that we all fell short in the process to uphold biblical doctrine. Whether formal or informal, written or verbal, in one-way or another we all have a creed that embraces our beliefs.

By God’s design, the entire human race is creedal; we are all inclined to “believe”. So the real question is not whether we have creeds, rather the questions are, “What do we believe in our creeds?” “What is the content of our creeds and how do our creeds relate to biblical revelation?” “What are the authority, usefulness, foundation and purpose of our creeds?” “How authentic are our creeds when evaluated against the biblical cannon.”

Under this tag “Credo”, I speak for what I believe. You might agree or you may differ from what I believe. I will speak about my trust in the Triune God, on what I know about Him from His Word and what I believe to be necessary to love Him with all my heart, all my soul and my entire mind. My theology, and by that I mean my understanding of Scripture, must be driven by the Scriptures, and I want to submit my theology constantly to the Scriptures for revision and correction as I have been doing these past two years.

I pray you do the same as an individual, or congregation or group of churches. Because, your spiritual integrity will stand or fall in what you believe.

Funeral

This past weekend we traveled to Mafakathini, KwaZulu Natal.
Gogo (Grandma) Mnikathi passed away and we went to be with the family. I was asked to facilitate at the funeral. The Mnikathi family are very precious to me. When we moved into the area in 2009, this family was the first to open their hearts and home to me and Andra. Gogo experienced three strokes over time. We visited her in hospital with the family. The last stroke was fatal.

Visiting Gogo in Edendale Hospital.
Some of the Mnikathi family members and Andra at the hospital.

The funeral proceedings stretched over three days. What a blessed time was it not for all involved. On Friday evening we went to “Duduza”, that is to “comfort” the bereaved family. There is time to speak with the members of the family and have a devotion. We gathered in the big round hut (rondavel) for the duduza service.

The bereaved women attending the duduza devotion.

The actual funeral ceremony took place on Saturday morning at 10am. Proceedings lasted well into the afternoon. It is such a privilege to lay a child of God to rest. We only have good memories of Gogo. Speaker after speaker only testified about the good of her life. I could only say “Amen” to all because that is how I knew her as well.

The coffin is opened and people could view the body. She looked so peaceful in death!

About 300 people attended the funeral.

The grave is on the property of the family. Next to the vegetable garden. Gogo is the third family member which I have laid to rest in this garden patch. The grave is covered and cared for by the family as time goes on.

A view of part of Mafakathini town.

On Sunday we had a closing service, mostly for the family. It is very special and a blessing in God to be with His children in their times of sorrow. I am so thankful to God for granting me the grace and mercy to be able to do something meaningful for those He loves and cares for. What would we be without the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ? How will we be comforted, if not comforted by God the Spirit. How will we die, if we don’t die in the Lord and go home to be with our loving heavenly Father?

Soli Deo gloria! To God be the glory!

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