J. C. Philpot
Today’s Daily Words For Zion’s Wayfarers
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you–and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
This “new spirit” is a broken spirit, a soft, tender spirit, and is therefore called “a heart of flesh,” as opposed to “the heart of stone,” the rocky, obdurate, unfeeling, impenitent heart of one dead in sin, or dead in a profession. And how is this soft, penitent heart communicated? “I will put my Spirit within you.” The same divine truth is set forth in the gracious promise–“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” But what is the immediate effect of the pouring out of the spirit of grace and of supplications? A looking to him whom they have pierced, a mourning for him as one mourns for an only son, and a being in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. This is evangelical repentance, as distinguished from legal; godly sorrow working repentance to salvation not to be repented of, as distinct from the sorrow of the world which works death.
These two kinds of repentance are to be carefully distinguished from each other, though they are often sadly confounded. Cain, Esau, Saul, Ahab, Judas, all repented; but their repentance was the remorse of natural conscience, not the godly sorrow of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. They trembled before God as an angry judge, were not melted into contrition before him as a forgiving Father. They neither hated their sins nor forsook them, loved holiness nor sought it. Cain went out from the presence of the Lord; Esau plotted Jacob’s death; Saul consulted the witch of Endor; Ahab put honest Micaiah into prison; and Judas hanged himself.
How different from this forced and false repentance of a reprobate is the repentance of a child of God–that true repentance for sin, that godly sorrow, that holy mourning which flows from the Spirit’s gracious operations. This does not spring from a sense of the wrath of God in a broken law, but of his mercy in a blessed gospel; from a view by faith of the sufferings of Christ in the garden and on the cross; from a manifestation of pardoning love; and is always attended with self-loathing and self-abhorrence, with deep and unreserved confession of sin and forsaking it, with most hearty, sincere, and earnest petitions to be kept from all evil, and a holy longing to live to the praise and glory of God.