"To be truly repentant, we have to believe that we are truly deserving of judgement." ~Mark RushdoonyTo believe that we are truly deserving of judgement requires that we have the highest view of our sinful condition, which requires that we view our sin in the worst possible light, the highest offence in God's economy. This is in contrast to believing that we are not truly deserving of judgment because we hold a low view of our sin, viewing our sinful condition in the best possible light, of little offence to God in the grand scheme of things.
As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 7:10, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."
But how is it possible to be truly repentant, truly aware of deserved judgement, when the heart is deceitful and beyond cure, as Jeremiah 17:9 tells us?
The deceitful heart will provide justification for sin, all day long, as long as life endures. And it is because of this unrelenting justification of our sin, this constant belittling of our fallen condition, this "flesh giving birth to flesh" that we are unable to see the glorious kingdom of God.
So to ask again, how is it possible to be truly repentant, truly aware of the deserved judgement when the heart is deceitful and beyond cure?
In reply, Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." John 3:3The awakening rescue comes in this wonderful truth which Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, "the Spirit gives birth to spirit". John 3:6
Being born again by God's Spirit occurs when your deceitful heart is made aware of its own crafty lies and deception, bringing you to believe that what God says about you is true: you are a sinner that deserves nothing but judgement. Now fully awake and alive, the justification of sin halts and the awareness and belief of your truly deserved judgement begins.
And this is why the gospel is called Good News, because we are not left by God's Spirit writhing in the guilty and tortuous agony of knowing we deserve nothing but judgement for our wretched sinfulness.
Oh no! Awake and alive, we are then ushered into God's glorious kingdom of no judgement or condemnation, because God's Spirit has taught us and enabled us to repent and believe in the One who bore the judgment for us! How glorious is that truth! How amazing is that rescue!
"But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done, has been done through God." John 3:21And what, in His kindness, has God done? He has led us to repentance!
"Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" Romans 2:4From start to finish, our rescue from certain and deserved judgement is God's Trinitarian work, planned and carried out by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead working together to have a people "who are God's possession--to the praise of His glory". Ephesians 1:14
"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen." Romans 11:36