The goal of being the chief repenter is to become less like your old self, and more like your Savior. As a Christian, you are in Christ; you are united to Him and in communion with Him (John 15:1-5; Romans 8:1). And that means that the real you, as a Christian man, is a repenter, a loather of sin, and a grower in the grace of God. We all are given opportunities to reflect that grace into the lives of those around us, and Christian men are given a special opportunity to do in their home.
In his classic book, The Doctrine of Repentance, Thomas Watson outlined six ingredients for true repentance:
- The first is the sight of sin, whereby a person comes to himself (Luke 15:17) and views his lifestyle as sinful. If we fail to see our sin, we rarely, if ever, are motivated to repent.
- The second ingredient for true repentance is sorrow for sin (Psalm 38:18). We need to feel the nails of the cross in our souls as we sin. Repentance includes both godly grief and holy agony (2 Corinthians 7:10). The fruit of repentance is revealed in genuine, anguishing sorrow over the offense itself, not just the consequences of it. Sorrow for sin is seen in the ongoing righteous actions it produces. True repentance lingers in the soul and not just on the lips.
- The third ingredient is the confession of sin. The humble sinner voluntarily passes judgment on himself as he sincerely admits to the specific sins of his heart. We must not relent of our confession until all of it is freely and fully admitted. We must pluck up any hidden root of sin within us. “Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit” (Deuteronomy 28:19).
- The fourth ingredient for true repentance is shame for sin. The color of repentance is blushing red. Repentance causes a holy bashfulness. Ezra 9:6 says, “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.” The repenting prodigal was so ashamed of his sin that he did not feel he deserved to be a son anymore (Luke 15:21). Sin makes us shamefully naked and deformed in God’s eyes and puts Christ to shame, the One who took the scorn of the cross on Himself.