For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me. Psalm 51:3
One of the devices of Satan is to persuade the soul that repentance is an easy work. ‘Why! Suppose you do sin’, says Satan, ‘it is no difficult thing to return, confess, beg pardon and cry, “Lord, have mercy upon me.” God will pardon your sin and save your soul.’ But repentance is a mighty work, a difficult work, a work beyond our power. You may as well seek to melt adamant stone as to melt your own heart. Repentance is a flower that does not grow in nature’s garden. It is not in the power f man to repent at leisure. Repentance is a turning from darkness to light. It effects the sinner’s whole heart and life. It changes the heart from the power of sin unto God. Every sin strikes at the honour of God, the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of a man’s conscience. A truly penitent soul strikes at all sin, hates all, and will labour to crucify all. Saul spared but one Agag, and it cost him his soul and kingdom (1 Sam. 15:9). Repentance is also a turning to all good. David fulfilled all the will of God. Repentance sees sin’s sinfulness, and how contrary it is to the blessed God. God is light, sin is darkness; God is life, sin is death; God is heaven, and sin is hell; God is beauty, and sin is deformity. True repentance understands the mischievousness of sin. It casts angels out of heaven, and Adam out of paradise. It laid the first cornerstone in hell, and brought in all the curses, crosses, and miseries that are in the world. It makes men godless, Christless, hopeless, and heavenless. Repentance breaks the heart with sighs, sobs, and groans, in that a loving God and Father is offended by sin, a blessed Savior is crucified afresh, and the sweet Comforter, the Spirit, is grieved and vexed. O that you were wise to break off your sins by timely repentance!
In this classic devotional, John Calvin urges readers to apply the Christian life in a balanced way to mind, heart, and hand. Rather than focusing on contemplative otherworldliness, the book stresses the importance of a devotedly active Christian life. In style and spirit, this book is much like Augustine’s Confessions, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ. However, its intense practicality sets it apart, making it easily accessible for any reader seeking to carry out Christian values in everyday life. Chapter themes include obedience, self-denial, the significance of the cross, and how we should live our lives today.