Biblical Repentance

Scripture Reading: Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. — Acts 3:19

Definitions:
Repent: To change one’s mind; heartily to amend, with abhorrence of one’s past sins (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).

Repentance: Contrition or regret for past wrong accompanied by a change of mind that involves a turning away from or a reversal from sin and a turning toward that which pleases God.

Summary: All sinners are called of God to repent and turn away from sin. The message of the gospel is to reject and forsake all ungodliness and to follow Jesus in holiness. Without repentance there is no true salvation.Read more

Biblical Repentance

Turn away from sin, reject the wrong, and be saved by the power of God. Wherever the message of Jesus Christ is preached, the message of true repentance must be heralded; for without repentance, there is no true salvation.
Turning Around

Repentance occurs when one is sorry for past sin and turns away from it in pursuit of Christ. It involves actively turning away from that which is wrong and a decision to never go back. Repentance infers a reversal or a change of direction. Many professed Christian churches are preaching Jesus Christ as the atonement for sin but are not preaching the message of repentance. It is one thing to accept Christ, but it is another to make a change and quit doing those things which are displeasing to God. While salvation is not attained by good works and is a divine gift of God, we also have personal responsibility. The apostle Peter told the people, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). God will only forgive people who are serious about their salvation to the extent that they are willing to completely forsake all ungodliness.Read more

Of What Value is Repentance to Salvation?

Repentance is unequivocally tied to an experience of salvation throughout the scripture. Jesus said to “repent…and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). God made provision for our salvation through the death of Jesus on the cross. He is willing and ready to forgive us our sins and to give us the gift of eternal life. However, that gift is only given to those who are sorry for their wrong and make a conscious decision to turn away from their sins.

Those that ask God for salvation but do not have godly repentance, will not have a true life-changing experience. There must be a desire above all else to leave sin and follow Christ. Jesus once told a rich, young man who desired to follow Him that he should go and sell all his possessions first. This man’s obedience would have been fruit of repentance and an indication that he was willing to forsake everything for the cause of Christ. Unfortunately, this young man was not willing to turn from the things of this world.

Often people confess their belief in Jesus Christ, and yet they continue in their sins. These people are not truly saved, for salvation is only given to the repentant heart. There might be an initial change of desire, but people that seek salvation without true repentance are plagued with up-and-down experiences. There must be an acknowledgment of wrong done and a godly sorrow for displeasing God. There must be a desire to forsake the sin of the past; if there is not, those same sins will creep back in. People then think that God’s work of salvation was not sufficient. It is not the work of God that is insufficient, it is the lack of repentance prior to salvation. Hence, repentance is of great value to getting saved, for without it one cannot be truly delivered from the power of sin.

The sinner must first open his heart to God and reject all unrighteousness. This paves the way for God to work the miracle of salvation that will enable an individual to walk in newness of life. It is for this reason that Jesus instructed the multitudes to count the cost. Consider what it means to take up your cross and follow Jesus. Give serious thought before making the decision. When you decide that you are willing to go all the way for God in repentance, you open the door to receive the fullness of God’s grace of salvation.

Is Feeling Bad About My Sin the Same as Repentance?

No. An unrepentant person can feel bad or sorry about doing something sinful, but there will be no lasting change. Consider the abusive husband that cries and tells his wife he is sorry after abusing her in a drunken rage. That sorrow only lasts until he gets drunk again, and the story is repeated. This is the sorrow of the world. Godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10) is that which galvanizes the sinner to change no matter what the price. When someone is under conviction of the Holy Spirit they might feel bad and even cry because they know they are living in sin. However, tears or feelings of regret are not sufficient. There must be sorrow of a godly sort due to the recognition of wrongdoing accompanied with a purpose never to return to that life of sin. This is the only kind of sorrow that will bring true repentance.

Repentance of Nineveh

When Jonah preached in Nineveh that the city would be overthrown in forty days, the people believed God and proclaimed a fast. No living being in the city, neither man nor beast, ate food or drank water. Man and beast were covered with sackcloth in a sign of contrition and repentance. God spared the city! (Jonah 3:4-10).