In one sense it is a giant step of intellectual faith, because it asks that you trust that something completely invisible to you will be able to satisfy and make happy your soul more than those things which are tangible, visible, immediately gratifying, culturally preferred, and are very much capable of entertaining the soul for a lifetime of intense pleasure.
On the other hand, it does not require so much intellectual faith, so long as we believe that there is a God who created us, for then we might think it obvious that the one who created pleasure itself (the one, who, for example, created sex), and created our souls, would Himself know best how to maximize the potentiality of pleasure in our souls. That is to say, if anyone knows what will make us most happy, surely it would be the one who created us with body and soul, and therefore has the secrete to our pleasure tucked away in His infinite knowledge of our make-up as human beings. Therefore, when He tells us that we should do this or that (such as repent), unless we think that God is a demoniac who wishes to make us miserable, we can safely conclude that God has our highest pleasure in mind.
Besides this, everyone knows the consequences of sin—wrecked marriages and relationships (this includes all broken hearts), sexual perversion (which leads some to become pedophiles or entertained by shameful sexual practices such as bestiality), all DUI related accidents which have claimed a sea of souls in our culture, the disfunctionality which comes from alcoholism and drug-addiction, the unpleasantries which result from jail time and/or the restraints and punishments related to drug charges (such as probation, difficulty in getting hired due to criminal records, etc.), all sorts of depression, early death (from drug overdose or drug abuse over time), murder (how many people have been murdered because of something sinful they were caught up in?)—just to mention a few.
Jesus’ first sermon was this: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 3:2). His departing words were this: “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witness of these things.” (Lk 24.46-48, cf. Acts 1:8). Repentance is the most fundamental step toward true happiness and superior pleasure—a foundational grace (Heb 6:1). Since faith and repentance are inseparable experiences of grace, it is the necessary hinge on which the door of eternal blessings turns.
Thomas Watson, a Puritan minister of the seventeenth century, has a book entitled, “The Doctrine of Repentance.” This book is freshly published by Banner of Truth Trust. It has stood the test of time, first published in 1668, and having been republished ever since, Banner of Truth Trust has reprinted it several times in the recent past (1987, 1994, 1999, 2002). It is full of vintage Puritan expression, terse exactitude of definition, and logical amplification. A must read for a true Christian Hedonist who desires to rid himself of all pleasures which get in the way of the ultimate and supreme pleasure of knowing God.
Watson understood his own intention in calling people to repent as his wishing for their happiness. He was a true Christian Hedonist. He closes his introduction like this: “I will not launch forth any further in a prefatory discourse, but that God would add a blessing to this work and so direct this arrow, that though shot at rovers, it may hit the mark, and that some sin may be shot to death, shall be the ardent prayer of him who is The Well-wisher of your soul’s happiness. – Thomas Watson” (9).