Reflections on Repentance


Tim Keller was quoted on Twitter the other day (March 6, 2012), and it immediately grabbed my attention. He stated, “Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. Joy-based repentance makes us hate sin.” Simple, brilliant and true.

This has given me much to think about and pray about, the effect of which are some musings that amplify, from my vantage point, Tim’s statement. Consider the following; I’m interested in any feedback.


Responds to condemnation Responds to conviction
Is largely about “CYA” Is largely about “See the lies!”
Wants to blame God, even if such blame is never spoken Wants to agree with God
Is about self-pity and defensiveness Is about a godly sorrow
Leads to “sin-management” Leads to “soul-rest”
Is “me-centered” Is “Christ-centered”
Fears repeated failure Is confident in Holy Spirit’s care
Flesh Spirit
Law Freedom
I grovel before God I glorify God
Hardness of heart Tenderness of heart
Confusion Peace
Clamor Quiet
Shame Honor
Guilt Grace
Fear Power
Filth Purity
See me See God
Failure Father
Cowering Courage
Regret Remorse
Fig Leaves Skins that Cover
Hide from God Hide in God
Concerned I’ve hurt myself or reputation Concerned I’ve hurt God and his reputation


  1. Matthew says:

    John . . . . thanks. It’s an honor to be on the journey with you. By the way . . . . I’m really proud of you, and thankful for the man that you are. It’s great to keep up with you on FB. “Further up and further in!”

  2. John Ford-Dunker says:

    It’s been really refreshing reading your blog, sir. “Further up and further in!”

    God Bless.


  3. Matthew says:

    Thanks Geoff. I’m thankful that in the end your reflection has encouraged you. Good caution too about the legalistic thing. Not the intention, of course, but I share your concern.

  4. Geoff Lowe says:

    Matthew, it was a serious eye opener when you posted Tim’s original comment on FB. I had to take a moment – a few actually – and make sure I wasn’t fear-based. Lots of prayer and reflection later – plus reviewing this list – helps me see that God is dominant in my life and I take great joy in that.

    Not that I don’t need help in some, OK, a lot, of areas . . . . .

    One thought, though. Lists like this can lead some people to a legalistic view of salvation. Yeah, speaking from personal history here.

    My immediate thoughts and $.02.

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