The Problem is You Won’t Repent, Not That You Can’t Repent

Category: Questions & Answers

Question: If you have someone who for months has been saying “I just feel dead,” “No, I can’t repent,” Or, “I’m trying to repent,” Do you know what I’m talking about? Is it OK to tell them – I don’t know if what I’m telling someone is like pray for a regenerated heart? But I tell them if you feel dead go to the life giver who raises the dead. Is that the same thing as saying, well, go pray to God that you’ll be alive?

Well, see the problem with the people that say that they can’t repent, is that the real issue is they won’t repent. Again, you know what? Don’t even cater and coddle people that say I can’t repent. Because again, you know what they’ve done? They’ve shifted the blame. You know what they’re effectually saying? “I want to repent, if I could, I have a will to repent, I have a desire to repent, and I would if God would let me. He’s the problem. He’s not letting me repent. I would. My intention is good. God is bad.”

Now they won’t say it that way, but that’s really what they mean. That’s really what they’re saying. Listen, the Bible says repent. (from the room – inaudible) That’s what it is. Guarantee it. What they’re saying is, God won’t take me on my terms. They’re saying I want to manufacture repentance of my own making. I’m not willing to turn from everything. And in fact, a lot of times, it’s just a self-righteousness where they’re trying to work out a repentance, they’re trying to make God save them. Rather than when Peter is sinking, it’s just, “Lord, help!” Rather than just in utter helplessness crying out to Christ, they don’t feel utterly helpless. They’re like, ok, I’m going to clean my life up. Look Lord. Look what I’ve done. I’ve tried to make myself pretty. And He’s not saving me. Look at these things I’ve given up. Sometimes what they’re not giving up is their own self-righteousness. They want to manipulate God. They want to make God their debtor.

In other words, they want to put God in a place where He has to save them, rather than coming absolutely helpless, absolutely hopeless, and just crying out for help, falling totally incapacitated into His hands. Man is bent on offering something. And don’t you believe it – I know it’s hard. It’s hard as a pastor. You get the people coming to you. You were one of them. You get these people coming to you, and they’re all distressed and sometimes they’re in tears and they’re so frustrated. “I’m trying to repent, but I can’t.” It can get the person that’s trying to minister to the person feeling frustrated with God. Like, Lord, they want to and You’re not doing this. And see you don’t want to let the sinner turn… because I’ll tell you this, look, this does not conflict with God’s sovereignty at all. Is it God’s desire that men repent? Yes. How do I know? Because He commanded all men everywhere to repent. If He commanded them everywhere to repent, then it’s His desire that they repent. And the fact is, what can I say to the sinner? I repented.

So, it’s possible. I want you to repent. God commands you to repent. He wants you to repent. Jesus Christ came preaching, “Repent.” He wants you to repent. And the Spirit of God inspired the Word. Over and over it says to repent. Certainly, He wants you to repent. The fact is the Trinity calls upon man to repent. I’m calling upon you to repent. Many people here have repented. And you’re telling me you can’t. What I’m telling you is you won’t. The real problem is the sinner won’t. And I guarantee you every single time, you can trace it back to self-righteousness. Always.