What is Repentance?

September 12, 2022 in Today's Devotion by TGV

God’s will for You: Repentance
145B-001, (Romans 2:4)


Key Text: “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4, NLT)


Repentance is the central theme of Scripture. I looked up the word “repentance” in the NKJV, which appears 68 times in 64 verses. The gospel of Mark, for example, begins with the appearance of John the Baptist, who comes out of the wilderness announcing the approach of the kingdom of God. His message to the people of Israel was straightforward: he called them to repentance. Just a short time after this, Jesus began His public ministry, preaching the exact same message: “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14–15, NKJV)

The disciples preached the same message: “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 10:7), and “they went out and preached that men should repent” (Mk 6:12). In Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, he declared Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38, NKJV) Compare Acts 3:19; 20:21; 26:18.

This theme recurs throughout the New Testament. When people listened to Christ or the Apostles’ preaching, they often responded by asking, “What should we do?” The answers assumed a similar form—“Believe in Christ,” “Believe and be baptized,” or “Repent and be baptized.” Since this concept of repentance is so central to the Apostolic preaching, it’s essential that we fully understand it.

This is an introductory lesson, so we are highlighting a few things that will be magnified as we move along in the series. First, repentance is described as “turned/ or turning” (Acts 9:35), “repent” (Acts 8:22), “return” (1 Sam. 7:3), and “conversion” (Acts 15:3).

There are about five categories of repentance in the Bible: national/corporate (Joel 3:5–18), personal/ internal (Ps. 51:10–13), true repentance (Acts 9:1–20), insincere repentance (Ex. 9:27–35) and fruitless repentance, for example, Esau: “Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.” (Hebrews 12:16–17, NLT)

It is important also to note that repentance is derived from God. It is a gift from God (Acts 11:18), from Christ (Acts 5:31), and the Holy Spirit (Zech. 12:10).

Three things lead us to Repentance — God’s longsuffering (2 Pet. 3:9), God’s goodness (Rom. 2:4), and the Conviction of sin (Acts 2:37-38).

What are the benefits of repentance? Remission of sins (Mark 1:4), a new spirit (Ezek. 18:31), a new heart (Ezek. 18:31), Joy: “more joy in heaven,” “Joy in the presence of the Angels of God” over one sinner who repents! (Luke 15:7, 10), and Life, “repentance to life” (NKJV); the ultimate life—the everlasting life: “receiving eternal life” (NLT) Acts 11:18.

Lastly, there are three signs of repentance –reformation of life (Matt. 3:8), restitution (Luke 19:8), and godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:9-10).


Devotional Implication: Repentance is a change of mind leading to a change of action. It involves a genuine turning from sin to serve God. Genuine repentance includes sorrow for, and confession of, sin and, where possible, restitution.

Repentance is not a suggestion [which is a proposal offered for acceptance or rejection]. In Matthew 3:2, for example, John the Baptist is not issuing a “multiple choice!” to the crowd. No, he is giving a divine command!

This reminds me of the phrase “take it or leave it!” John is not giving them options; he urges them to repent! Repentance is the one side of the coin (so to speak) balanced by the other side, which is fruit-bearing (Mt 3:8, 10). Genuine repentance will be evidenced by “fruits” –serving to authenticate whether one has genuinely repented or just felt sorry about their sin (sorry they got caught!) with no change of heart or mind.

Lastly, there can be no true repentance without faith. C. H. Spurgeon wrote, “Repentance and Faith must go together to complete each other. I compare them to a door and its post. Repentance is the door which shuts out sin, but faith is the post on which its hinges are fixed. A door without a doorpost to hang on is not a door at all, while a doorpost without the door hanging on it is of no value whatever. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder, and these two he has made inseparable—Repentance and Faith!”

Beloved, repentance is not optional but mandatory! If we truly strive to enter the kingdom of God [the kingdom of glory], we must repent our sins at once! And have faith in Jesus Christ. Would you?


Reflection: Apostle Paul wrote– “I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:21, NLT)

“But constantly and earnestly I bore testimony both to Jews and Greeks, urging them to turn in repentance [that is due] to God and to have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ [that is due Him].” (Acts 20:21, AMP)


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