What is Repentance?

This month’s theme on our radio broadcast has been forgiveness. We have had wonderful questions on the topic, plus some lively discussion.

There is strong push back to the liberating truth of our total and complete forgiveness in Christ. Behind most of that push back is the concept of repentance.

I throw this question out: how do you define repentance?

Let me tell you what is not before you answer. Repentance is not asking God for forgiveness when you sin. Yet, this is the most commonly held belief. When asked, ”what do you do when you sin?” those who hold this belief answer, ”you repent, you confess your sin and ask God to forgive you.”

Lot’s of people, both believers and unbelievers, follow this formula, but nothing changes in their lives.

Repentance is a big word that carries profound implications. That said, what is your definition of repentance?

I look forward to reading your posts. Tune in this Thursday for the radio broadcast as we take a closer look at this life-changing word.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • steve knigge

    Repentance is not “when you sin you repent of that sin”. Repentance is a complete change of heart and mind —with out repentance one would not turn to Christ for forgiveness and life to begin with. In our state of repentance we agree with God concerning sin and our condition of spiritual death and turn to Jesus Christ for life and in that life we have the forgiveness of sin.

    • http://firstlifethenchange.com Bob

      Well said Steve. Thanks for joining the conversation.

  • William

    First, the word repent is an English word and was never associated with the scriptures until King James had the Bible translated into English in 1611. The Greek word that was translated as repent was the word metanoia, which means to change your mind.

    For biblical evidence of this, one need to look no further than Psalm 110:4 “The Lord has sworn, and will not “REPENT”, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizadek.” King James Version.

    The New King James Version replaces the word “repent” with the word “relent”. The New International Version has a better rendering that reads, “The Lord has sworn and will not “CHANGE HIS MIND….”

    So, according to the original King James translation, the Lord will not feel sorry for his sins, or turn from his sins or stop sinning. All of which are ridiculous.

    When one learns the true meaning of repent, verses like Mark 1:15 “…Repent and believe the good news.”, becomes “Change your mind and believe the good news.” This is much more understandable. If Jesus is telling us to change our mind and believe, then we are changing our mind from not believing to believing. This is biblical,

    John 3:17 “Whoever “BELIEVES” in him is not condemned, but whoever does not “BELIEVE” stands condemned already because he has not “BELIEVED” …..

    John 3:36 “Whoever “BELIEVES” in the Son has eternal life,but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

    John 16:8,9 “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt,(prove the world wrong) in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement. In regard to sin, because men do not believe in me:”

    To repent is to change your mind, in regard to sin, it means to change your mind from not believing in Jesus to believing.

    • http://firstlifethenchange.com Bob

      William, wonderful information in your comment. Like the way you substituted “change your mind” for repent. Brings the meaning into clearer focus.

  • Ron

    I just read a book titled “The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee. He defined repentance as the following: (Para phrasing) Things that used to seem fun are no longer fun. Things that used to seem not desirable are now disirable. We now agree that what God says is sin, is sin WITHOUT trying to justify it. (That was my problem for a while and I searched a long time to try to justify my sin) In short, as said previously, it is a change of mind.

    I just listened to the CD “Driving the Stake” because I wanted to be 100% sure of my salvation.(A little off subject, though I believe repentance is tied to salvation) I am no longer a 95-5 man. Thanks Bob for the assurance. I guess I never needed to go anywhere but the word of God for it afterall, did I?

    Priase God!!

    • http://firstlifethenchange.com Bob

      Ron, thanks for sharing Nee’s definition of repentance. Also, glad. To hear that you have driven the stake concerning your assurance of salvation.

  • Jasen

    Repentance is dealing with an unbeliever coming to Christ. It has to do with changing our minds about salvation. It’s an attitude of the heart that God calls upon for change in our lives. That it would no longer be obtained by the law anymore, but by faith in Christ Jesus. Now as a believer I can’t repent anymore because I already have fully repented (changed my mind) about salvation. True repentance is dealing with our hearts.

    • William Holt

      That’s right, Jasen. No one can be saved by observing the law, but only through faith in Jesus.

      Gal 2:16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law NO ONE WILL BE JUSTIFIED.

  • Jasen

    Nice Bill, good stuff.

    • William Holt

      Yeah Jase, here’s another:

      Galatians 3:21….For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

      In other words, no law had been given that could make you alive, which is salvation. Therefore if you could keep ALL of the law, you still would not be saved, because you would still be dead.

  • Howard Schultz

    Repentance:

    Changed my mind and now believe God did it all with Son in Charge, at the cross for me, so no longer convicted for forgiveness, as there is no forgiveness ever without shedding of blood

    John 16:9-11v
    Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
    9 of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
    I found out being convicted of sin over and over again was keeping me in sin, and I am not saying I will never sin again, can’t predict future. I can say through walking in the Spirit as Christ walked there is no sin, and how, by trust in Father, being led by the Holy Spirit of Father as Christ was.
    So I say then walk by the Spirit of God and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. How to do that, consider thyself dead to the flesh with Christ at Christ’s death in the flesh, and then see what God has done for you in the life of the Spirit of God, done through the Son Jesus, and a big WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! goes out to the crowd