Late in his ministry, D.L. Moody expressed regret for his shallow dealings with sinners and for not being more careful to look for a true work of God in conversion.
Consider the following candid statement:
“When a man is not deeply convicted of sin, it is a pretty sure sign that he has not truly repented. Experience has taught me that men who have very slight conviction of sin, sooner or later lapse back into their old life. FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS I HAVE BEEN A GOOD DEAL MORE ANXIOUS FOR A DEEP AND TRUE WORK IN PROFESSING CONVERTS THAN I HAVE FOR GREAT NUMBERS. If a man professes to be converted without realizing the heinousness of his sins, he is likely to be one of those stony ground hearers who don’t amount to anything. ... I BELIEVE WE ARE MAKING A WOEFUL MISTAKE IN TAKING SO MANY PEOPLE INTO THE CHURCH WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN TRULY CONVICTED OF SIN. Sin is just as black in a man’s heart today as it ever was” (Moody, “Results of True Repentance,” from The Overcoming Life and Other Sermons, 1896).
This warning from America’s most prominent evangelist of the last 200 years needs to be heeded by every pastor, preacher, and evangelist of our day. A major reason why churches are floundering, mixed multitudes of saved and lost is because of a failure to preach repentance after the fashion of Paul, and the failure to look for and require the fruits of repentance after the fashion of Paul. He preached that sinners “should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Ac. 26:20). This was John the Baptist’s demand of Israel, “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Mt. 3:9). Some fundamental Baptists say that doing works meet for repentance is works salvation, but Paul preached salvation by grace alone without works, and he also preached repentance with works meet for it. Doing works “meet for” repentance is not salvation by works, it is works as evidence of salvation. Biblical repentance is not works; it is not a change of life; it is a radical change of mind that results in a change of life. The failure to understand these simple Bible truths on the part of so many is the product of heresy, man-centeredness, ignorance, and carnality.
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