Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Repentance, Substitution and Replacement

Here are a few thoughts to add to yesterday's post on Psalm 32:8 . . .

Repentance is turning, not just FROM SIN, but also TO CHRIST. In repentance, we turn from "irresistible" sin to an irresistible Savior. We draw back from the fleeting pleasures of sin and run headlong into the eternal joys of Christ. He becomes the object of our pursuit, the Friend from Whom we cannot bear to be distant, the delight and satisfaction of our souls. As we were smitten with sin, and willing to give all for it, we are now smitten with HIM and willing to give all for this Wonderful One. He amazes us! Repentance leads us to Christ, not merely as the Substitute Who was punished in our place, but as the replacement for the sin that we formerly cherished. Every desire we have had for sin should rightly have been directed toward Him. Every enjoyment of earthly pleasure should have been an enjoyment of Him. All the love we have had for worldly things should have been love for Him. The self-importance with which we puffed ourselves up should have been ascribed to Him as glory and honor and worship. The proud confidence we have wasted on ourselves should have been dependence on His grace and faith in His goodness. All the service and submission we have given to sin should have been His. Rather than slavishly laboring for sin, we should have surrendered to His sovereign lordship. Repentance says these things.

By our sin, we have expressed a low view of Christ. Now, in repentance, we again see Him enthroned, glorious, exalted, worthy, attractive, beautiful, capable, wise, desirable and perfect. He is the SUBSTITUTE for the sinner and the REPLACEMENT for the sin. He captivates us!

We are not to begin repentance by replacing sin with good works. We are to begin by replacing our love for sin with love for Christ, and we are to replace our acts of sin with acts of devotion to Him. As you read these words, do you see in yourself a lack of zeal and devotion for Jesus Himself? Do you seem to fall short of this high view of Him? Dear friend, do not despair - simply fall before Him and tell Him what you lack. Tell Him you don't even know what you lack. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him, and He will give you whatever you need. He will BE whatever you need!

As we come to Christ in this way, new desires are born in us. We begin to taste the goodness of God and sin becomes less appetizing (and eventually downright disgusting). As I Corinthians 1:30 declares, Christ "has become for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption . . ." and whatever else we may need. It is all in Him. Until this truth becomes real to us, our repentance remains incomplete. But once it is embraced, the embrace is forever! You'll find it in the arms of Jesus, as He becomes more to you than He ever was before.


  1. Derek,

    Hello Brother! This is Josh Rittenhouse from Truth Matters. What an excellent, edifying post! This was brought to my attention by my uncle and being short on time I posted it very quickly. I should have asked you first and for this I apologize! I had some "down" time and so wanted to drop you a line and I also was able to go back and add your link.



  2. Josh,

    No problem. I was quite taken aback that anyone would re-publish this. I'm glad if God uses anything I write to draw anyone to Himself. I place it here free of charge and it's free for distribution and copying. Of course, a link is always appreciated, and I wouldn't want anyone to give the impression that the material is written by someone else. But that's obviously not your intent.

    Incidentally, I graduated from Elizabethtown Area High School back in the early 90's, and also attended Palmyra High School for a year. Great to hear from good old Lancaster County in Central PA. I was able to drive through E-town about three years ago, and it brought back so many great memories.

    Grace & peace,

  3. Derek,

    I graduated from Manheim Central in the early 90's. Small world, eh? So where are you located now? I am still here in Manheim. It's nice to have met you. Do you have a facebook? I look forward to visiting your blog more often!


    PS If you wouldn't mind, drop me a line some time so I have your email address. Mine is


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