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Sounding the Alarm
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Dr Houston




 False repentance leads to endless counselling and prayer.

It leads to hypocritical concealment. The individual who has exercised true repentance is willing to have it known that he has repented, and willing to have it known that he was a sinner. He who has only false repentance, resorts to excuses and lying to cover his sins, and is ashamed of his repentance. When he is called to the anxious seat, he will cover up his sins by a thousand apologies and excuses, trying to smooth them over, and extenuate their enormity. If he speaks of his past conduct, he always does it in the softest and most favourable terms. You see a constant disposition to cover up his sin. This repentance leads to death. It makes him commit one sin to cover up another. Instead of that ingenuous, open-hearted breaking forth of sensibility and frankness, you see a palavering, smooth-tongued, half-hearted mincing out of something that is intended to answer the purpose of a confession, and yet to confess nothing.



Where repentance is genuine, the driving force to repeat sin is gone.

If you have truly repented, you do not now love sin; you do not now abstain from it through fear, and to avoid punishment, but because you hate it. How is this with you? Do you know that your disposition to commit sin is gone? Look at the sins you used to practice when you were impenitent. How do they appear to you? Do they look pleasant, and would you really love to practice them again if you dared?--If you do, if you have the disposition to sin left, you are only convicted. Your opinions of sin may be changed, but if the love of that sin remains, as your soul lives, you are still an impenitent sinner

To one who truly repents, sin looks very different than it does to him who has not repented. Instead of looking desirable or fascinating, it looks odious and detestable. He is astonished that he ever could have desired such a thing. Impenitent sinners may look at sin and see that it will ruin them because God will punish them for it. But it still appears in itself desirable. They love it. If it could end in happiness, they would never think of abandoning their sin

But one who truly repents looks at his own conduct as perfectly hateful. He looks back and exclaims, "How detestable and worthy of hell my sin was."

Sinners don't see why God threatens sin with such terrible punishment. They love it so much that they cannot see why God thinks it is worthy of everlasting judgment. When sinners are strongly convicted, they see sin in the same light as a Christian does. Then all they need is a corresponding change in feeling to be saved.

Many sinners reflect on their relationship to God and know that they deserve eternal death, but their heart doesn't agree with God's opinions. This is the case with the demons and wicked spirits in hell. A change of opinion is indispensable to true repentance and always precedes it. There may be a change of opinion without repentance, but no genuine repentance occurs without a change of opinion.
















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Dealing with false repentance

Dr Houston

How many times have you heard this recently?

"Oh our Praise and Worship band are great, our song leader is wonderful, the multi - media is brilliant as well as all the new stage lighting at our church. We're on the internet, God Tube, You Tube and our pastor is on My Space, Face Book and Twitter! Hey! Our pastor is so cool coz he wears tee shirt and shorts, brings his starbucks on stage and he tells how wonderful God thinks we are, from his laptop. He even gets his talk done in ten minutes so that we are out of there within the hour. That's why our church is so great and so many more young people are joining every week."

But, why has the Church got a majority of its so called "Christians" who are not truly saved at all but are on their way to hell. Why are these "Christians" so anti-righteousness and feel as if it was a great impossibility to become Holy living Christians? Why do they rely on their eternal insurance policy of a "one time sinner's prayer", "a false security message" as they continue to act like unbelievers? A false understanding of Grace!

They think it a great trial or theologically impossible to give up their sins. Whereas, if they had true repentance, they would not think it any cross to give up their sins. This is all owing to a mistake respecting the true nature of their repentance. They do not understand that true repentance leads to an abhorrence of those things that were formerly loved. True "Saved" Christians, feel an abhorrence for parties, and sinful amusements, and the love for these things is crucified within them.
You see now why convicted so called Christians are afraid to pledge themselves to give up their sins. They love them.
These "Christians" tell you they dare not promise to give up sinning, because they are afraid they shall not keep the promise. There you have the reason. They love sin. The "Christian" drunkards knows that they love drink, and though they may be constrained to keep their promise and abstain from it, yet their appetite still craves it. So it is with the convicted sinner. He feels that he loves sin, that his hold on sin has never been broken off, and he dares not promise. These "Christians" will tell you that you are legalistic if you confront them with the necessity of living a holy life and giving up sin. They will tell you that, and watch the misquote, "that they are not under the law but under grace and that Jesus has paid for all of their sins, past present and future, even the ones that they have committed since they have been "born again" and, as they have "given themselves to Jesus", then they believe that God will forgive them, turn a blind eye and that He actually doesn't see their post salvation sin.

Dr Houston


 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice as a trumpet and shew my people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins. Isaiah 58:1

False repentance produces only a partial reformation of conduct.

The reformation that is produced by worldly sorrow extends only to those things of which the individual has been strongly convicted. The heart is not changed. You will see him avoid only those cardinal sins, about which he has been much exercised.

Observe that young convert. If he is deceived, you will find that there is only a partial change in his conduct. He is reformed in certain things, but there are many things which are wrong that he continues to practice. If you become intimately acquainted with him, instead of finding him tremblingly alive to sin every where, and quick to detect it in every thing that is contrary to the spirit of the gospel, you will find him, perhaps, strict and quick-sighted in regard to certain things, but loose in his conduct and lax in his views on other points, and very far from manifesting a Christian spirit in regard to all sin. 

The individual is continually relapsing into his old sins. The reason is, the disposition to sin is not gone, it is only checked and restrained by fear, and as soon as he has a hope and is in the church, and gets bolstered up so that his fears are allayed, you see him gradually wearing back, and presently returning to his old sins. This was the difficulty with the house of Israel, that made them so constantly return to their idolatry and other sins. They had only worldly sorrow. You see it now every where in the church. Individuals are reformed for a time, and taken into the church, and then relapse into their old sins. They love to call it getting cold in religion, and backsliding, and the like, but the truth is, they always loved sin, and when the occasion offered, they returned to it, as the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire, because she was always a sow.

These people are awakened, and convicted, and by and by they get to hope and settle down in false security, and then away they go. Perhaps, they may keep so far on their guard as not to be turned out of the church, but the foundations of sins are not broken up, and they return to their old ways. The woman that loved dress loves it still. The man who loved money loves it yet, and soon slides back into his old ways, and dives into business, and pursues the world as eagerly and devotedly as he did before he joined the church.

Go through all the departments of society, and if you find thorough conversions, you will find that their most besetting sins before conversion are farthest from them now. The real convert is least likely to fall into his old besetting sin, because he abhors it most. But if he is deceived and worldly minded, he is always tending back into the same sins. The woman that loves dress comes out again in all her glory, and acts as she used to. The fountain of sin was not broken up. They have not purged iniquity from their heart, but they keep iniquity in their heart all the time. 

Their reformation produced by a false repentance is not only a partial reformation, and a temporary reformation, but it is also forced and constrained. The reformation of one who has true repentance is from the heart; he has no longer a disposition to sin. In him the Bible promise is fulfilled. He actually finds that "Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." He experiences that the Saviour's yoke is easy and his burden is light. He has felt that God's commandments are not grievous but joyous. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb. But this spurious kind of repentance is very different: it is a legal repentance, the result of fear and not of love; a selfish repentance, any thing but a free, voluntary, hearty change from sin to obedience. You will find, if there are any individuals here that have this kind of repentance, you are conscious that you do not abstain from sin by choice, because you hate it, but from other considerations.

Modernised Excerpts from Finney




Can you tell the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian? If you can't well it is because that person has not experienced true repentance.

False repentance is founded in selfishness

It may be simply a strong feeling of regret, in the mind of the individual, that he has done as he has, because he sees the evil consequences of it to himself, because it makes him miserable, or exposes him to the wrath of God, or injures his family or his friends, or because it produces some injury to himself in time or in eternity. All this is pure selfishness. He may feel remorse of conscience--biting, consuming REMORSE--and no true repentance. It may extend to fear--deep and dreadful fear--of the wrath of God and the pains of hell, and yet be purely selfish, and all the while there may be no such thing as a hearty abhorrence of sin, and no feelings of the heart going out after the convictions of the understanding, in regard to the infinite evil of sin.



I am to show how this false or spurious repentance may be known.

It leaves the feelings unchanged.

It leaves unbroken and un-subdued the disposition to sin in the heart. The feelings as to the nature of sin are not so changed, but that the individual still feels a desire for sin. He abstains from it, not from abhorrence of it, but from dread of the consequences of it.

If you are willing to give up sin, you are willing to promise to do it and willing to have it known that you have done it. But if you resist conviction and still love your sins, all your convictions will not help you. They will only sink you deeper in hell for resisting them.

Let us pray that this is the evidence that our repentance is genuine: "For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a Godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (2 Corinthians 7:11).

The unsaved sinner things it utterly incredible that sin deserves everlasting death. He may be fully changed, however, to see that sin injures himself and everybody else and that there is no remedy but universal abstinence. Even the devil knows this is true.

The word rendered "repentance" implies a change of opinion in regard to the just outcome of sin. The careless sinner has almost no right ideas about the just punishment of sin. Even if he admits; in theory, that sin deserves eternal death, he does not believe it. If he believed it, it would be impossible for him to remain a careless sinner. He is deceived if he supposes that he honestly holds the opinion that sin deserves the wrath of God forever.

The truly awakened and convicted sinner sees clearly that sin deserves everlasting punishment from God. To him it is simply a matter of fact.





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