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Thomas Watson's Six Ingredients of True Repentance
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this little Puritan Paperback from Banner of Truth Trust called “The Doctrine of Repentance” by Thomas Watson (1620-1686). It has been so helpful to me over the years.
For those who don’t know, Thomas Watson was a Puritan preacher with a strong intellect and a keen ability to diagnose the human condition. Any time I read something he’s written I am struck by his precision both doctrinally and pastorally. This short book on repentance may be one of the most helpful books published on the subject, I recommend it regularly to people.
Below is a list of the ingredients that, according to Watson foster true repentance.
Sight for sin. Thomas Watson says, “A man must first recognize and consider what his sin is, and know the plague of his heart before he can be duly humbled for it”
Sorrow for sin. “A woman may as well expect to have a child without pangs as one can have repentance without sorrow… he that can repent without sorrowing, suspect his repentance.”
Confession of sin. “In our confessions we tax ourselves with pride, infidelity, passion, so that when Satan, who is called ‘the accuser of the brethren’, shall lay these things to our charge, God will say, They have accused themselves already; therefore, Satan, thou art non-suited; thy accusations come too late.”
Shame for sin. “Every sin makes us guilty and guilt breeds shame.”
Hatred for sin. “till sin be bitter, Christ cannot be sweet.”
Turning from sin. Watson describes this as a “perpetual fast” from sin.