Anatomy of Insincere Repentance

King Saul's insincerity, repentance, Samuel, King Saul's lies
1 Samuel 15 gives us a good, bad example:

King Saul is caught red-handed with plunder God commanded he destroy. Having violated the clear and direct orders of God, he:
  • Commends himself for obedience.
  • Excuses himself with lies.
  • Blame-shifts his sin onto his soldiers.
  • Claims his selfish plundering is an act of worship.
  • Finally admits guilt and asks forgiveness of Samuel (not God).
  • Immediately shows the insincerity of his repentance by asking Samuel to honor him publicly.
Why look at this bad example?

Because insincere repentance is far more prevalent than sincere repentance, and many of us employ these same techniques. 
  • We flatter ourselves with high views of our character.
  • Excuse sin based on our "good" motives.
  • Blame others (or societal pressures).
  • Remain arrogant. 
That's why 1 John 1:8-10 warns us: "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves ... If we claim we have not sinned, we make [God] out to be a liar and his word is not in us." 

For a thorough look at Saul's insincere repentance, do this 5 minute Bite Size Bible study: Good Sin and afterward, read the Insights for the study.

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  1. Once again, Gail, you've gotten to the heart of the matter in few words but with high impact. Thank you for your faithfulness.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how you write so much with such few words, getting an important and convicting point across. Thanks Gail.


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All Scripture references NIV unless otherwise noted.