A Jagged Contention: Repentance

“For contrition that precedes faith is nothing but suffering on the part of man. It consists of anguish, pain, torment, a feeling of being crushed; all of which God has wrought in man with the hammer of the Law. It is not an anguish which a person has produced in himself, for he would gladly be rid of it, but cannot, because God has come down on him with the Law, and he sees no way of escape from the ordeal. If a person sits down to meditate with a view of producing contrition in himself, he will never gain his object that way. He cannot produce contrition. Those who think they can are miserable hypocrites. They seek to persuade themselves that they have contrition, but it is not so. Genuine repentance is produced by God when the Law is preached in all sternness and man does not willfully resist its influence.”

-CFW Walther, Law and Gospel. Pg 250


Question:

How does Walther’s view that repentance is a product of the Law differ from other ways you’ve heard repentance taught? What does it look like for a preacher to call for this sort of repentance? Should a preacher ever emphasize the sincerity of repentance or not?

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