Zachary Crofton, a persecuted 17th century Puritan minister (1626–1672), provides ten steps for those who want to repent of their sin and turn to God:
- Sit with care, constancy and conscience under the word of truth and gospel of grace
- Study the nature of God…acquaint yourself with His attributes – His holiness, power, justice, mercy, etc. Your souls will never be drawn from sin, or driven into a course of true repentance until God becomes your dread
- Sit close to the work of self-scrutiny…The worst of men, by a short conference with their own soul, would see the necessity of repentance
- Hold the world loosely…those who are truly repentant are pilgrims on earth
- See the brevity of life…Hopes of a long life, and thoughts of repenting later in life, help many a soul to hell
- Seriously expect approaching judgment
- Seriously apprehend the possibility…of pardon…it is a certainty if received with a prostrate soul, and asked for by serious repentance
- Soak the heart in the blood of Jesus – take every turn of meditation to daily contemplate the cross of Christ
- Speed will facilitate repentance – Linger not in what you will give up; for the longer you linger, the harder it will become
- Plead earnestly for repentance at the hands of God
“We sinners cannot change our own hearts, but we can employ means of grace (e.g., spiritual disciplines) through which God changes the heart. A new penitent habit of heart will be proof positive that in and through Christ you have passed from death to life.” – J I Packer
(Re-posted from: James‘ Mirror – Christian Discipleship Guide)
Thomas Watson (1620-86) wrote:
The Moral Must Repent
Repentance is necessary for civil persons. These have no visible spots on them. They are free from gross sin, and one would think they had nothing to do with the business of repentance. They are so good that they scorn a psalm of mercy. Indeed these are often in the worst condition: these are they who need no repentance (Luke 15:7). Their civility undoes them.
They make a Christ of it, and so on this shelf they suffer shipwreck. Morality shoots short of heaven. It is only nature refined. A moral man is but old Adam dressed in fine clothes. The king’s image counterfeited and stamped upon brass will not go current. The civil person seems to have the image of God, but he is only brass metal, which will never pass for current. Civility is insufficient for salvation.
Though the life be moralized, the lust may be unmortified. The heart may be full of pride and atheism. Under the fair leaves of a tree there may be a worm. I am not saying, repent that your are civil, but that you are no more than civil. Satan entered into the house that had just been swept and garnished (Luke 11:26). This is the emblem of a moral man, who is swept by civility and garnished with common gifts, but is not washed by true repentance. The unclean spirit enters into such a one. If civility were sufficient to salvation, Christ need not have died. The civilian has a fair lamp, but it lacks the oil of grace.
(Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance, quoted HERE)