Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Husbands should be the leading repenters in the home. This does not intimate that he does so merely to earn a prideful title. Rather, it means that out of every person in the home, the husband must be the one who leads the entire household in a proper understanding of God which will lead him to a proper understanding of self which will then cause him to realize a deeper understanding of his sin which will then catapult him to a regular lifestyle of repentance. The husband must lead his wife by repenting first. The husband should lead his family by repenting honestly, humbly, and quickly.

This requires, however, that the man have a proper understanding of the biblical doctrine of repentance. Some suggest that repentance means no more than a change of ‘mind.’ Though repentance certainly includes a changing of the mind, true repentance always includes much more. To repent is the vomit of a soul over a sin as it is seen in comparison with the blazingly holy character of God. To repent means that the penitent sinner views his sin rightly. It means that he hates his sin vehemently. It means that he mortifies his sin violently. It means that he turns from his sin decisively. It means that he replaces that sin with godliness. It means that he journeys on toward Christlikeness continually. To repent is synonymous with ‘turning around’ in the Bible and ‘changing one’s ways.’ 

The husband following after Christ seeks to model repentance in the home. He sets the example for the rest of the family to see. He shows how to repent. He shows what godly mourning is like. He exemplifies what godly sorrow and true repentance really is. How can be demand his wife and children to do that which he himself does not do? Thus, a biblical husband is a repenting husband. He rightly believes that repentance is at the very heart of the gospel call to salvation and that the only proper response to the gospel call is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance toward God. Like the call of John the Baptist, the biblical husband bears fruits in keeping with repentance!

The biblical husband knows also that our flesh and sinful tendencies within us cause us to want to ignore sin, or refuse to deal decisively and violently with such sins -- even so called ‘respectable sins’ -- and for this reason, he sets himself on course to teach and instruct repentance in his household. He must not only model it practically in the home but he must instruct doctrinally so that everyone understands what God says in the Bible about this most important -- yet often misunderstood -- doctrine. He teaches during family worship. He instructs before and after church services weekly. He uses practical occasions with his wife (or, children) to instruct on what true turning really involves. He goes after the heart, not merely the actions.

Because he loves Christ so supremely, he ensures that no sin remains unchecked and unrepented of in his own heart. Then, he ensures that sin does not go ignored or shoved aside at home. He keeps short accounts with God as he seeks to confess quickly and repent decisively and exchange sinful habits for godly habits zealously. He knows that the true repenter is one who continues to see Christ as glorious and sufficient and as he does this, he sees his own sins and shortcomings. As this happens, he comes again and again to the cross for mercy and grace (which always is lavishly available for God’s people) which drives him to heartfelt and worshipful mourning over his sin and a resolve to follow hard after Christ.

Still all the while, the man of God who loves his bride seeks to honor Christ by repenting of sin and living a holy life, all of which is only able to occur through the Spirit’s enabling grace. The godly husband loves Christ so much that he hates sin intensely. He pursues holiness vigorously so he repents continuously and regularly. Repentance, rather than being a momentary act at the initial moment of saving faith, continues to be a lifelong discipline for the Christian who grows in conformity to the likeness of Jesus Christ. Repentance is a painfully joyful and necessarily growing opportunity for Christian men to love Christ supremely and put off sin in the context of their own homes. May God equip and enable all truly converted men to serve Christ and their wives by repenting diligently.

More articles in this Husband's Handbook and the full eBook will be available soon at his website.


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