C. H. Spurgeon
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83. Repentance.

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrightous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him. - Isaiah 55:7.

THIS is the great chapter of gospel invitation. How free! How full! How plain and pressing are the calls to receive grace!

Yet the necessity of repentance, in its most practical form, is not cast into the background. Turning, or conversion, is insisted on.

· Gospel provisions are presented freely (verses 1 and 2).

· A Savior is provided and proclaimed (verses 3 and 4).

· Saved nations are absolutely promised to him (verse 5).

· Men are encouraged to seek and find the Lord (verse 6).

But the call to conversion follows close after, and is intended to be the necessary inference from all that preceded it. Men must return to God: his very mercy makes it imperative.

Very earnestly, therefore, let us turn our thoughts to,—


The text makes this clear, but it may also be inferred from—

1. The nature of God. How can a holy God wink at sin, and pardon sinners who continue in their wickedness?

2. The nature of the gospel. It is not a proclamation of tolerance for sin, but of deliverance from it. It contains no single promise of forgiveness to the man who goes on in his iniquity.

3. The facts of the past. No instance has occurred of pardon given to a man while obstinately persisting in his evil way. Conversion always goes with salvation.

4. The needs of society. It would be unsafe to the common-weal of the universe to show mercy to the incorrigible offender. Sin must be punished, or else virtue will perish.

5. The well-being of the sinner himself requires that he should quit his sin, or feel its penalty. To be favored with a sense of divine pardon, while obstinately abiding in sin, would confirm the man in sin; and sin itself is a worse evil than its penalty.

6. The work of the Holy Spirit would be set aside, for he is the Sanctifier.

7. The design of our Lord Jesus would be overborne, for he comes to save from sin.

8. The character of heaven requires that a sinner's nature be renewed, and his life purged, ere he can enter the holy place where God, and holy an els, and perfect saints abide.

"Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3).


1. It deals with the life and conduct. The man's "way."

· His natural way; that into which he runs when left to himself.

· His habitual way; to which he is accustomed.

· His beloved way; wherein his pleasures lie.

· The general way; the broad road in which the many run.

This, our text says, he must "forsake." He must have done with sin, or he will be undone.

It will not suffice for him to:

· Own that it is wrong;

· Profess to be sorry for following it;

· Resolve to leave it, and end in resolve; or,

· Move more cautiously in it.

No, he must forsake it, altogether, at once, and forever.

2. It deals with the "thoughts" a man must forsake—

His unscriptural opinions, and self-formed notions—

· About God, his law, his gospel, his people.

· About sin, punishment, Christ, self, etc.

His contemplations, so far as they lead him:

· To find pleasure in evil;

· To indulge in conceit and self-sufficiency; or,

· To harbor wrong thoughts of God.

His evil resolves:—

· To continue in sin, to delay repentance, to be a free thinker, to be his own master, to defy God, etc. Such thoughts are to be forsaken; he must flee from them.

3. It deals with the man in reference to God. "Let him return unto the Lord." It bids him cease from pride, neglect, opposition, distrust, disobedence, and all other forms of alienation from the Lord. He must turn and return; wandering no further, but coming home.


l. A sure promise is made to it "He will have mercy upon him."

2. Divine power is exercised to effect it. "Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned" (Lam. 5:21). A man converts when grace converts him.

3. It is itself promised to faith in Jesus (Acts 5:31; 13:38-39).

4. The pardon which comes with it is the result of a full atonement, which renders the pardon abundant, just, safe, and easy of belief to the awakened conscience.

Oh, that the sinner would consider the need of a total change of thought within, and way without! It must be thorough and radical or it will be useless.

Total and terrible ruin must ensue if you continue in evil.

May this hour see the turning-point in your life's course! God saith, "Let him return." What doth hinder you?

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