The Difference between Attrition and Contrition

“We can distinguish between two kinds of repentance: attrition and contrition. Attrition is counterfeit repentance, which never qualifies us for forgiveness. It is like the repentance of a child who is caught in the act of disobeying his mother and cries out, ‘Mommy, Mommy, I’m sorry, please don’t spank me.’ Attrition is repentance motivated strictly by a fear of punishment. The sinner confesses his sin to God, not out of genuine remorse but out of a desire to secure a ticket out of hell. True repentance reflects contrition, a godly remorse for offending God. Here the sinner mourns his sin, not for the loss of reward or for the threat of judgment, but because he has done injury to the honor of God.” -R.C. Sproul

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