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tozer on penitence

I’ve been working on an upcoming sermon lately regarding the Holy Spirit’s role in prompting repentance.  In doing so, I came across this great quote from A.W. Tozer on penitence.  For those of you who don’t know, Tozer was perhaps best known for his 40+ books.  Of those, The Pursuit of God is among his best.  I have a copy on my Kindle app.

In the following quote, he talks about penitence — a word we don’t use much today.  It essentially means feeling a sense of sorrow for one’s sins (see this definition).  Here’s the quote:

“A growing Christian must have at his roots the life-giving waters of penitence. The cultivation of a penitential spirit is absolutely essential to spiritual progress. The lives of great saints teach us that self-distrust is vital to godliness. Even while the obedient soul lies prostrate before God, or goes on in reverent obedience convinced that he is carrying out the will of God with a perfect conscience, he will yet feel a sense of utter brokenness and a deep consciousness that he is still far from being what he ought to be. This is one of the many paradoxical situations in which the humble man will find himself as he follows on to know the Lord.”