Continual Repentance

O God of Grace,
Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute,
and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul,
clothing me with bridegroom’s robe,
decking me with jewels of holiness.

But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;
my best prayers are stained with sin;
my penitential tears are so much impurity;
my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin;
my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance;
I need my tears to be washed;
I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,
no loom to weave my own righteousness;
I am always standing clothed in filthy garments,
and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,
for thou dost always justify the ungodly;
I am always going into the far country,
and always returning home as a prodigal,
always saying, Father, forgive me,
and thou art always bringing forth the best robe.
Every morning let me wear it,
every evening return in it,
go out to the day’s work in it,
be married in it,
be wound in death in it,
stand before the great white throne in it,
enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.

The Valley of Vision pg. 136
Be Blessed,

4 thoughts on “Continual Repentance

  1. What most don't know is that Paul was well aware of the term "impute" but never used it in any of the senses most people claim and think (e.g. the way the song lyrics you quote use the term).In my study on this topic of imputed righteousness, the Greek term “logizomai” is the English term for “reckon/impute/credit/etc,” (all terms are basically equivalently used) and when I look up that term in a popular lexicon here is what it is defined as:—————-QUOTE: “This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.”—————-The lexicon states this term first and foremost refers to the actual status of something. So if Abraham’s faith is “logizomai as righteousness,” it must be an actually righteous act of faith, otherwise (as the Lexicon says) “I am deceiving myself.” This seems to rule out any notion of an alien righteousness, and instead points to a local/inherent righteousness.The Lexicon gives other examples where “logizomai” appears, here are some examples:——————-Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude [logizomai] that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.Rom 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted [logizomai] as a gift but as his due.Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon [logizomai] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.Rom 8:18 For I reckon [logizomai] that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.——————-Notice in these examples that “logizomai” means to consider the actual truth of an object. In 3:28 Paul ‘reckons’ faith saves while the Law does not, this is a fact, the Law never saves. In 4:4 the worker’s wages are ‘reckoned’ as a debt because the boss is in debt to the worker, not giving a gift to him. In 6:11 the Christian is ‘reckoned’ dead to sin because he is in fact dead to sin. In 8:18 Paul ‘reckons’ the present sufferings as having no comparison to Heavenly glory, and that is true because nothing compares to Heavenly glory.To use logizomai in the “alien status” way would mean in: (1) 3:28 faith doesn’t really save apart from works, but we are going to go ahead and say it does; (2) 4:4 the boss gives payment to the worker as a gift rather than obligation/debt; (3) 6:11 that we are not really dead to sin but are going to say we are; (4) 8:18 the present sufferings are comparable to Heaven’s glory.This cannot be right.So when the text plainly says “faith is logizomai as righteousness,” I must read that as ‘faith is reckoned as a truly righteous act’, and that is precisely how Paul explains that phrase in 4:18-22. That despite the doubts that could be raised in Abraham’s heart, his faith grew strong and convinced and “that is why his faith was credited as righteousness” (v4:22). This is also confirmed by noting the only other time “credited as righteousness” appears in Scripture, Psalm 106:30-31, where Phinehas’ righteous action was reckoned as such. This is confirmed even more when one compares another similar passage, Hebrews 11:4, where by faith Abel was commended as righteous.

  2. Hi Nick. It seems to me you are suggesting faith is not a gift but an act of righteousness and that humans have some kind of inherent good in them … is this correct? I will come out and say I'm not very knowledgeable of Greek. The only very tiny parts I am vaguely familiar with are from helping my boyfriend study for his Greek classes in seminary. That being said, my question to you is how do you square the idea of faith as an act of righteousness (a good work?) and people have some kind of local good in them with the rest of Scripture? We see in Romans 3, that this is not the case. "9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:“None is righteous, no, not one;11 no one understands;no one seeks for God.12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;no one does good,not even one.”13 “Their throat is an open grave;they use their tongues to deceive.”“The venom of asps is under their lips.”14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;16 in their paths are ruin and misery,17 and the way of peace they have not known.”18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." We know that in Isaiah and through out the Psalms among other places we see over and over again the theme of man's inherent sinfulness not goodness.

  3. Hi, I would say faith is a gift, but it's a gift God infuses into man. When man makes proper use of that gift, it is pleasing in God's sight (Heb 11:6). Think of the parable of the talents.When man falls into sin, he is (obviously) unrighteous, and only forgiveness can restore righteousness to that repenting individual. In the case of Romans 3, esp 9-20, Paul is not saying man can never be righteous, but rather exposing the hypocrisy of the Judaizers who considered only the Gentiles to be "sinners". As you correctly pointed out, Paul is quoting from the Psalms and Isaiah in verses 10-18. We know Paul was not ripping OT scriptures out of context, so it's important to read those quotes in their context to see what Paul was really getting at. For example, Paul quotes Psalm 5:9 and 36:1 and 140:3, which were all written by David, but these Psalms are not about sin in general. Rather, it's about "righteous" men, specifically David (5:12; 36:10; 140:13) who are living in fear for their life from the wicked Jews who seek to kill him. When the Judaizers see this, Paul has proven his point: Jewish history shows they were acting more reprehensibly than the Gentiles they looked down on! Their greatest King, David, spent a large percentage of his life living in fear for his life from the Jews, not the Gentiles (who had been militarily subdued). The Isaiah quote highlights the fact that the Jews as a nation were in exile by God precisely because of their sin on a national scale. This brings texts like Rom 3:9,19 to greater light, for when Paul says "are we better than they?" Paul is really saying: "are we Jews better than the Gentiles?"…to which 3:10-18 shows: NO! His point is not the inherent sinfulness of men, but rather that the Jews have blood on their hands just as the Gentiles do.

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