Luke 3:3 – 4 Fake Repentance


Luke 3:2-6 February 17 2013

Charles e Whisnant, Pastor/Lumberjack/ Teacher/Historian

Now today we come to the man who is going to announce the Messiah to the world.  And Luke as an historian is going to give us some great facts.  You know God is a God of purpose.  History is on purpose.  God has a plan and He is working out that plan in precision. God is the writer of history.  History is unfolding  step by step.  And as we have stated the purpose of history and its human population is the salvation of sinners. As we have said, God brought into existence this creation, this universal, this population of people for the express purpose that He might redeem sinners.  And recorded history of the Bible is primarily His Story, it is the story of redemption.

We are transported back in John’s day, and in Israel and caught up in this religion they had.  First you were trained to believe that if you do ceremonies and you do the sacrifices and you do what you’re thought to do is right and you make great effort to keep the law of God, and you are in the Temple each Sabbath, and you don’t take trips to another city and you don’t carry your burden, you keep the law and all the Jewish traditions as much as you can, and you believe that will get you into the kingdom of God.

Some people are experts at repentance — they know just how to do it.  They can cry a river of tears at the flip of a switch, so everyone will know just how sorry they are.

If a repentance expert is famous (a politician or preacher?), he might get on television (where emotion rules and facts are disposable) for his tearful apology.  He’ll be praised for “vulnerability” or “transparency” — and he knows where “vulnerability” lovers hang out.  He’s not only good at repentance, he’s good at choosing his repentance audience.

But there’s always the uncomfortable questions:  did anything really change?  Why do I get the feeling you are trying to gain sympathy?  Why are you working so hard to make us “understand”?  Why did you choose that venue?  Why don’t you choose accountability with someone who would actually be tough enough to hold you accountable?

Feeling Sorry is not Repentance

II Corinthians 7:8-10

Wrong Thinking

If someone does wrong, they were thinking wrongly.  They were almost certainly thinking one or more wrong thoughts like these:

  • What I’m doing isn’t wrong.
  • What I’m doing is wrong, but I can’t help it.
  • What I’m doing is wrong, but it isn’t THAT bad.
  • What I’m doing is wrong, but I can get away with it.
  • What I’m doing is wrong, but my circumstances are special.
  • What I’m doing is wrong, but God will let me off because of other good stuff I’ve done.
  • What I’m doing is wrong, but God doesn’t care because He loves me.
  • What I’m doing is wrong, but I want to do it anyway, so I’m going to.

Changed Thinking

The New Testament Greek word translated “repentance” is metanoia, from meta (after) and nous (mind) or noeo (to think).  If we look at the root words, then, the idea is to think again afterwards.  Biblically, this would mean that, after the fact of our sin, we “think again,” thinking about our sin the way God thinks about it.  It means we put aside all those wrong thoughts I mentioned above, and any other wrong thoughts, and adopt God’s way of thinking about our sin.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Advice for Fake Repenters

Matthew 3:1-2 Matthew 3:7-8 as well as Luke 3

‘’ Isaiah 55:6-7, Ezekiel 18:30; , “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn away from all your transgressions so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions which you’ve committed. Make yourselves a new heart, a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel?”


Well, it’s not an intellectual change of mind about what you believe, it’s not some level of superficial remorse about the consequences of sin or the effects of sin.

It is a radical turning in one’s mind that causes a person to see the reality of his own sinfulness…its effect, its ugliness, its dishonor of God, its shame before men and its eternal consequence. It’s when you really turn around and see your wicked condition and then you say, “God, there is no hope for me to correct this, I have to ask you to forgive me, I cannot make it right, I can’t do enough things to cancel out the bad things. I can’t do anything righteous. It’s all sin.”  MacArthur

It’s a radical recognition that you are sinful at the core and you see the ugliness and the effect and the dishonor and the shame and the judgment that’s connected to that sin and you come to God and you say, “I’m hopeless.”


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