Repentance is one of the first signs of a genuine believer. In his book, "The Doctrine of Repentance" Thomas Watson helps us to see what true, biblical repentance really is. I thought it might be helpful to relay what I have learned thus far, so as to help edify and sanctify us all.
Mr. Watson gives us 6 ingredients to genuine repentance:
1) Sight of sin
2) Sorrow for sin
3) Confession of sin
4) Shame for sin
5) Hatred of sin
6) Turning from sin
Since getting into all 6 of these today might make for a long post, I'll start with the first one: Sight of sin.
A beautiful thought that I loved from Watson, was the reminder that the first creation in the world was light. Without the light, we all just stumble around, completely unaware of what we truly look like.
Scripture tells us that once we walked in darkness. "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined" (Isaiah 9:2). Without the light, our eyes are veiled. As Newton says, "I once was lost, but now am found, twas blind, but now I see." What does he see? He sees his sin. It was veiled before his conversion. "Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:15-18).
That is the reason for the law; the law is like God's mirror, showing us how we've broken His law. The law gives us knowledge of the standards God requires of us, showing us our need for a Savior. We see it is impossible to keep even one of the commandments, knowing that we've broken every single one of them.
The sight of sin leads us on the pathway to God's Truth. Seeing ourselves the way God see's us, as vile, wretched, and filthy sinners, is the first step to life in Christ.