Hermas is visited by and Angel, during his conversation with the angel he explains the punishments for the pleasures of sin, of indulging in luxuries and the difference between death and corruption. He also describes the importance of walking in the commandments and true repentance.
The angel of repentance explains to Hermas the process of repentance that is necessary to purify our hearts from all evil. The angel of punishment is sent to afflict us to humble us so that we may come to a deep and pure place of repentance, repenting with the whole heart. There is no true repentance without affliction.
Hermas, in his 2 nd vision, is chastised for failing to admonish his talkative wife, his lustful sons, and his own character. He makes it clear that one must repent with all their heart and drive out all doubts from their minds for forgiveness to be granted. In regard to God’s elect, if any one of them sin after a certain day which has been fixed, he shall not be saved as there are limits to the repentance of the righteous. The saints are given many chances to repent, but to the unbelievers or heathens, repentance will be possible even to the last day. Hermas is directed to tell those who preside over the Church, to direct their ways in righteousness that they may receive the full promises/inheritance.
Fasting was a way to deal with sin in the church. When someone had caused an offence in the church that person was put on a fast between 2 to 7 weeks, depending on the offense. They understood that fasting afflicts the soul to refrain from sin. Fasting is one of the most effective ways to get rid of sin. When they completed their fast, they inspected them to see if the sin was dealt with, if they truly had repented, they were allowed back into the body.