《西敏信条教牧简释 15.5》

Posted on Feb 17, 2023 by admin

15.5 人不应满足于一般性的悔改,针对每一件具体的罪而努力悔改,乃是人人当尽的本分 1

1 诗19:13;路19:8;提前1:13、15。


15.5  Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man’s duty to endeavour to repent of his particular sins, particularly.1

1 Ps 19:13; Lk 19:8; 1 Tim 1:13, 15.



This paragraph deals with the subject of general and particular repentance. It tells us that no one should be satisfied with the kind of repentance that never makes mention of any particular sin. Instead, it is the duty of everyone, as much as he is able, to repent of particular sins. In other words, we should not only say to the Lord, “Please forgive me of all my sinsbut we should also say, “Please forgive me of _______” and you name the particular sin that you are repenting of.



We should not be content with general repentance for at least two reasons.



First, when Christ was crucified, He did not suffer and die in general for mankind. Rather, He paid for each of the sins of each of His people. Isaiah 53:5a says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities…” And again, 1 Peter 2:24a, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree…” And finally, when He had finished suffering for every last sin of His people, He said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)  If Christ went to the cross with every one of our sins in mind and made payment for each one, should we not also repent of every one of our sins as they are brought to our mind?



Second, we should repent of particular sins because it is very easy to hide behind vague generalities and appear to be penitent without actually repenting of anything. Professor Van Dixhoorn notes that, “Those who piously content themselves with general confessions of their sinfulness often prove to be the most stubborn sinners.” If we are truly serious and sincere about repenting of our sins, we should go beyond general repentance and endeavour to repent of particular sins. The Apostle Paul not only described himself as the chief of sinners, but he also confessed that he was once a blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man (see 1 Tim 1:13-15). Similarly, when Zacchaeus was converted, he was not vague about what his repentance involved but openly declared, “…and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Lk 19:8b).



Let us do three things by way of practical application.



First, we should examine ourselves regularly to see where we have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory be it in what we have done or not done in our thoughts, words and deeds. Second, we should name particular sins when asking the Lord for His forgiveness. It is not wrong to pray that the Lord would forgive all our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But we should also be willing and able to mention particular transgressions of His law. Third, we should be specific about what repentance of a particular sin in our life involves or looks like in practical terms. Thus for example, when the soldiers heeded John the Baptist’s call to repentance and asked him what they should do, he told them, “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14)



May the Lord enable each of us not to be content with a general repentance but to endeavour to repent of each particular sin, particularly.