To cut off the sinner from all reliance upon himself, his merits and his powers; and throw him, naked and helpless, into the hands of the Holy Spirit to lead him to Christ in faith; should be the one great aim of the ministry.

Sinners certainly ought to repent, for God commands them to repent. But in my opinion, he does not design to have them understand his command, as having respect only to their own ability to repent, and not having respect to the proffered aids of the Holy Spirit. Such aids constitute one grand ground on which his command is obligatory, and sweep away every possible excuse. No man ever did repent without the Holy Spirit, or ever will; and this is no small amount of proof that no man ever can. Nothing seems to be gained by making a sinner believe that he is able to repent without divine assistance. Such a belief will be very likely to mislead him to a reliance upon his own shattered strength And as to his conviction of criminality for not coming to repentance, surely there is strong ground for such conviction, since God offers him all the ability he needs, — in me is thy help,let him take hold on my strength that he may make peace with me.

In this Article of the Month for June, Ichabod Spencer brings to us answers to the tension which many find so difficult to deal with in the matter of salvation; i.e., God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. What we are given is a marvelous retelling of a situation where a sinner struggles with the reality that he, in and of himself, is totally incapable of repentance, yet it is required of him to do so in order to be saved. How is one who is spiritually dead and without even the desire to repent of his sins to do this? In dialog format, Spenser speaks to such a man who struggled with his inability to do what God requires and sets right many of the erroneous ideas that he concluded.

Read this article here: I Can't Repent.

For later reading you can find this article in both the "Article of the Month" section of The Highway's home page or in "Calvinism and the Reformed Faith" in the "Soteriology" section.

In His service and grace,

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simul iustus et peccator

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