Impenitent Hearts

impenitence, repentance No Comments

Consider the following words from the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds” (Rom. 2:4-6). The word impenitent means “without a change of mind.” The impenitent will not turn away from sin to serve the true and living God. Repentance is a change of heart that affects a change of life. This change is in God’s direction and is always for the better. Repentance is a universal command of God (Acts 17:30). Failure to obey this command results in a state of hardness and impenitence.
There are several features of impenitence that Paul reveals. The first is ingratitude. The impenitent despise God’s goodness. The goodness of God is seen in many ways, but especially in the unspeakable gift of His Son (John 3:16). When men refuse to repent, they manifest ingratitude for redemption through Jesus Christ. God’s forbearance and longsuffering provide opportunity for man to repent. However, the impenitent do not take advantage of this opportunity. Second, there is hardness of heart. The human heart can be hardened through unbelief and the practice of sin (Heb. 3:12). A hardened heart resists God’s Will. The hard hearted rebell against God. Third, there is contentiousness and disobedience (Rom. 2:8). The impenitent fight against God and refuse to obey the truth. Impenitence produces an antagonism against God. The impenitent become the enemies of God.
Notice some causes of impenitence. The first cause that we must consider is pride. Pride is inordinate self-esteem. It is unreasonable conceit of superiority. It is thinking of oneself more highly than what should be done. A good synonym for pride is arrogance. Pride is at the root of every sin man commits. When we sin, we are saying that we will do things our way rather than God’s way. Second, impenitence is caused by a lack of godly sorrow. In I Cor. 5:2, Paul reveals the apathy of the Corinthian brethren regarding the sin of fornication that was present in the church. He states, “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” Pride and lack of godly sorrow for sin were the cause of the toleration of sin in the church. Godly sorrow produces repentance. Repentance is an essential aspect of salvation (II Cor. 7:10). The impenitent fail to mourn their sins. Another cause of impenitence is ignorance of sin. Ignorance of sin is dangerous because it results in a false sense of security. Paul persecuted the Lord’s church because of ignorance (I Tim. 1:13). The Jews crucified Jesus because of ignorance (Acts 3:17). Closely related to ignorance is unbelief. When we act in ignorance, we often manifest unbelief (I Tim. 1:13). Paul, before his conversion, rejected the truth that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and consequently, he consented unto the death of the saints and imprisoned them. His zeal against the Lord’s church was miguided and wrong. Unbelief causes men to turn away from God and turn against God.”
The cure for impenitence begins with brokenness. Brokenness is the result of a combination of humility, sorrow and pain caused by sin (Luke 4:18). Brokenness destroys pride. It produces godly sorrow. Impenitence can be cured through the knowledge of the truth. Truth destroys ignorance and convicts of sin (John 16:8-9). We must be convinced of our need for Christ. Impenitence can be overcome by faith. Faith involves being convinced of righteousness. The human mind must be informed in the right ways of God or there is no motivation to change. The Word of God provides us with the necessary content of the knowledge of God and produces faith in God (Rom. 10:17). Impenitence can be overcome with hope. Faith and hope go together. Where there is faith in God, there is hope in God. There is a better way to live life than in the pursuit of wickedness. Following Jesus points us in a better direction and gives us a better future–a future with God (Heb. 8:6; 6:18-19). Finally, impenitence can be overcome by considering the righteous judgment of God. God’s wrath and punishment will fall upon the unrighteous. God will render to every man according to his deeds. There is a reward for the righteous and punishment for the disobedient. The impenitent will face the wrath of God. This should be sufficient to turn them away from sin to God (Rom. 2:7-10).
The impenitent heart will never see God. The way of the transgressor is hard. You can choose this path for your life or you can choose to follow Jesus. We can change our lives for the better if we choose to walk with God.