Remorse vs. Repentance

I appreciate deep thinkers and students of the Bible who open my eyes to understand things better. Maybe you do, too.

Had you ever thought of the difference between remorse and repentance? I invite you to meditate on Psalm 51:11 and these related comments by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

“Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” ~ Psalm 51:11

“I do not hesitate to assert that this is perhaps the most subtle and delicate test as to whether we have repented, or where we are: our attitude towards God. Have you noticed it in the psalm? The one against whom David has sinned is God, and yet the one he desires above all is God. That is the difference between remorse and repentance. The man who has not repented, but who is only experiencing remorse, when he realizes he has done something against God, avoids God…. The man who has not been dealt with by the Spirit of God and has not been convinced and convicted, tries to get away from God, to avoid him at all costs. He does not think, he does not read the Bible, he does not pray; he does everything he can not to think about these things. But the extraordinary thing about the man who is convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit is that though he knows he has sinned against God, it is God he wants –‘Be merciful to me, O God.’ He wants to be with God—that is the peculiar paradox of repentance, wanting the one I have offended!”

The quote is from Out of the Depths by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones pp 57 -58 quoted in A Tale of Two Sons. by John MacArthur. pp 97 – 98.

Related Posts:
Click here to read a beautiful story of repentance illustrated by Jesus’s parable of the Prodigal Son.
Click here to read about Jesus’s response to our repentance.

The engraving by Albrecht Dürer, The Prodigal Son (Der verlorene Sohn), can be found on Wikimedia Commons.

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