Evidence of Repentance
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. — Matt 3:8
There is only one way to prove that we have truly; repented. It will not be enough to tell people that we have; they will wait to see the evidence in our lives. suppose a wicked man joins the Church and then goes back on Monday morning to his old wicked ways, will anybody credit his Sunday’s profession? He must go on Monday morning to a new life if his repentance is to pass for any thing. Everybody knows what is right in such a case. None are quicker to cry out against the insincerity and unreality of the man’s profession than wicked men themselves, when they see him continue in his old evil ways. Even bad men know what it is to be good; thus they pay high compliment to Christianity. Repentance amounts to nothing whatever if it produces only a few tears, a spasm of regret, a little fright as a flash from eternity reveals to a man his guilt and danger, and then a return to morrow to the same old wicked ways. What are the works that are worthy of repentance?
A grocer went home from the meeting one night where he had heard a sermon about false weights and measures. and burned the “bushel” he had been using to cheat his customers. A father who had been living carelessly in his home, when awakened to the truth took down the old family Bible and confessed to his household his neglect, and reestablished the family altar. These are illustrations of work worthy of repentance. In short, we must leave the sins we repent of, and must visit them no more, and we must walk in the new clean ways of holiness. The heart is the important matter in all spiritual life, but the heart makes the life; and if the life be yet evil the heart can be no better, whatever external profession of betterment it may have made. The way to prove to men that we have really repented, is really to repent, and the fact will soon speak for itself.