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Shorter Catechism

𝒬 87. What is repentance unto life?

𝒜. Repentance unto life is a saving grace,1 whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ,2 doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God,3 with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.4

  1. Acts 11:18

    When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

    2 Timothy 2:25

    correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, (ESV)

  2. Psalm 51:1-4

    51:1 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
    according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

    For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
    Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
    so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.

    Joel 2:13

    and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
    Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
    and he relents over disaster.

    Luke 15:7

    Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

    Luke 15:10

    Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

    Acts 2:37

    Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (ESV)

  3. Jeremiah 31:18-19

    I have heard Ephraim grieving,
    ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined,
    like an untrained calf;
    bring me back that I may be restored,
    for you are the Lord my God.
    For after I had turned away, I relented,
    and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh;
    I was ashamed, and I was confounded,
    because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

    Luke 1:16-17

    And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

    1 Thessalonians 1:9

    For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, (ESV)

  4. 2 Chronicles 7:14

    if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

    Psalm 119:57-64

    The Lord is my portion;
    I promise to keep your words.
    I entreat your favor with all my heart;
    be gracious to me according to your promise.
    When I think on my ways,
    I turn my feet to your testimonies;
    I hasten and do not delay
    to keep your commandments.
    Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
    I do not forget your law.
    At midnight I rise to praise you,
    because of your righteous rules.
    I am a companion of all who fear you,
    of those who keep your precepts.
    The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
    teach me your statutes!

    Matthew 3:8

    Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

    2 Corinthians 7:10

    For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (ESV)

Larger Catechism

𝒬 76. What is repentance unto life?

𝒜. Repentance unto life is a saving grace,1 wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit2 and Word of God,3 whereby, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger,4 but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins,5 and upon the apprehension of God's mercy in Christ to such as are penitent,6 he so grieves for7 and hates his sins,8 as that he turns from them all to God,9 purposing and endeavoring constantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience.10

  1. 2 Timothy 2:25

    correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

    Acts 11:18

    When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” (ESV)

  2. Zechariah 12:10

    “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. (ESV)

  3. Acts 11:18

    When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

    Acts 11:20-21

    But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. (ESV)

  4. Ezekiel 18:28

    Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

    Ezekiel 18:30

    “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.

    Ezekiel 18:32

    For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

    Luke 15:17-18

    “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.

    Hosea 2:6-7

    Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns,
    and I will build a wall against her,
    so that she cannot find her paths.
    She shall pursue her lovers
    but not overtake them,
    and she shall seek them
    but shall not find them.
    Then she shall say,
    ‘I will go and return to my first husband,
    for it was better for me then than now.’ (ESV)

  5. Ezekiel 36:31

    Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations.

    Isaiah 30:22

    Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!”

    Philippians 3:7-8

    But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (ESV)

  6. Joel 2:12-13

    “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
    “return to me with all your heart,
    with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
    and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
    Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
    and he relents over disaster.

    Psalm 51:1-4

    51:1 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
    according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

    For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
    Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
    so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.

    Luke 15:7

    Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

    Luke 15:10

    Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

    Acts 2:37

    Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (ESV)

  7. Jeremiah 31:18-19

    I have heard Ephraim grieving,
    ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined,
    like an untrained calf;
    bring me back that I may be restored,
    for you are the Lord my God.
    For after I had turned away, I relented,
    and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh;
    I was ashamed, and I was confounded,
    because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

    Psalm 32:5

    I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
    I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (ESV)

  8. 2 Corinthians 7:11

    For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. (ESV)

  9. Luke 1:16-17

    And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

    1 Thessalonians 1:9

    For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

    Acts 26:18

    to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

    Ezekiel 14:6

    “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

    1 Kings 8:47-48

    yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name, (ESV)

  10. 2 Chronicles 7:14

    if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

    Psalm 119:57-64

    The Lord is my portion;
    I promise to keep your words.
    I entreat your favor with all my heart;
    be gracious to me according to your promise.
    When I think on my ways,
    I turn my feet to your testimonies;
    I hasten and do not delay
    to keep your commandments.
    Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
    I do not forget your law.
    At midnight I rise to praise you,
    because of your righteous rules.
    I am a companion of all who fear you,
    of those who keep your precepts.
    The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
    teach me your statutes!

    Matthew 3:8

    Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

    2 Corinthians 7:10

    For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

    Luke 1:6

    And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. (ESV)


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Based on Calendar of Readings in the Westminster Standards by Dr. Joey Pipa. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.