William Stout / General

Biblical Christianity  / Repentance; Salvation; Sin

Scripture stresses the necessity of repentance from sin if individuals and communities are to have full fellowship with God. It also uses the term to refer to God’s relenting of sending judgment on his people, usually in response to human repentance.



The Bible stresses the necessity of repentance from sin if individuals and communities are to have full fellowship with God. It also uses the term to refer to God’s relenting of sending judgment on his people, usually in response to human repentance.

  • Today we shall discuss
  • The Necessity of Repentance
  • What it means to repent (and what it isn’t)
  • The blessedness of repentance
  • The reward of repentance


Definition of repent:



1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life

2 a: to feel regret or contrition

b: to change one’s mind


  • The Biblical sense of Repentance includes all three of these characteristics:
  • One must feel regret or contrition over their sins, and change their mind about it, and actually turn from that sin, dedicating theirselves to a new way of life
  • Sorrow and regret without a turning is not repentance
  • agreeing that sin is wrong without turning is not repentance
  • turning from sin, without changing one’s mind is also not repentance (many people do this legalistically)


Repentance required for fellowship with God


2 Kings 17:13 NKJV

Yet the Lord testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.”


1 Thessalonians 1:9 NKJV

For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,.


Acts 14:15 NKJV

and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them,

  • John the Baptist preached repentance




Matthew 3:1–2 NKJV

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

  • Jesus also began His ministry preaching repentance


Matthew 4:16–17 NKJV

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,

And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death

Light has dawned.”

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Many other places illustrate this point.

See also Ps 34:14; Is 55:7; Ac 14:15; Jas 4:7–10

Repentance involves turning from sin

  • One of the best examples of this is Paul


Acts 9:20–22 NKJV

Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”

But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

  • all of the apostles had been sinful men
  • they turned and followed Jesus
  • The people of Bethsaida and Capernaum we criticized by Jesus because they would not repent or turn from their sins


Sorrow for sin

  • A person who is not sorry for doing wrong will likely do it again – that is not repentance
  • People who turn from sin only to avoid punishment or gain a reward, have not completely repented
  • Some people think they will do exactly that – waiting until they have had their fun and then get saved
  • If this is the case, there is no sorrow, then the inward person must actually believe that sin is right
  • that is the opposite of believing God, and leads to resentment of God
  • Consider the attitude of David


Psalm 51:17 NKJV

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,

A broken and a contrite heart—

These, O God, You will not despise.


and Paul’s writing


2 Corinthians 7:8–10 NKJV

For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while.

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

  • Whenever we really come to the understanding of sin and all its cost and opposition to God, we must be sorry.
  • Too many people are only sorry for the consequence, or that they got caught, but not sorry for the sin itself
  • Consider a thing so bad that one as wonderful as Jesus would have to die for it; especially the terrible death He suffered
  • How could we find pleasure in such a thing?

Ps 51:17; 2 Co 7:8–10

See also Job 42:6; Ps 34:18; Is 57:15; Is 66:2; Joe 2:12–13; Lk 18:13

Confession of sin

  • This changing our mind
  • admitting that we have sinned, and that it is wrong

1 John 1:8–9 NKJV

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • Consider the example of the prodigal son

Luke 15:17–19 NKJV

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’

  • Here he “admitted” that he was wrong
  • He was certainly sorry for his choices
  • and he turned back from those sins
  • This is repentance – Biblical repentance
  • And Like the father received him, Our father will always receive us when we come in genuine repentance

See also Le 5:5; Ps 51:1–3; Pr 28:13; Ho 14:1–2

Forsaking specific sins

  • Repentance involves more than just a general turning from sin
  • We each have specific areas, and specific instances that we must repent of
  • When Jesus called us to “repent” He was calling us to a life of repentance”
  • Repentance must be ongoing – we all fall short
  • Sometimes we drift from the standard we had
  • other times we learn that we had been missing it all along
  • either way, we must be willing always to repent as the Lord reveals to us the need
  • How terribly sad it is for those who cannot admit wrong
  • Much like a prison is the life of those who cannot repent

Ezr 10:10–11; Eze 14:6; Ac 15:19–20

Making appropriate restitution

  • repentance also involve making things right when we are able

Luke 19:8 NKJV

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”


Nu 5:6–7; Lk 19:8

Repentance involves turning to God

  • Here is the true blessing of repentance
  • If it only involved all the “shall nots” that we have to turn from it might well be the negative that some people think it is
  • But the real heart of repentance is turning “to” the one true and living God who loves us
  • The reason we must repent from sin is because it separates us from Him
  • He is the reason
  • He is our all in all – and He dwells in righteousness
  • Like the man finding the pearl of great price, we sell all that we have (turn from the old life) to get it.

Faith in God

  • Through repentance, we turn to a life of faith in God


Isaiah 30:15 NKJV

For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:

“In returning and rest you shall be saved;

In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

But you would not,

See also Lk 22:32; Ac 11:21; Ac 20:21; Ac 26:18


  • repentance involves obedience to God
  • this is better than sacrifice


Ezekiel 18:21–23 NKJV

“But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

See also Mal 3:7–10

Repentance demonstrated by actions


Acts 26:20 NKJV

but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

See also Is 1:16–17; Da 4:27; Mt 3:8; Lk 3:10–14

Repentance must be sincere


Jeremiah 3:10 NKJV

And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord.

See also 1 Ki 8:46–50; Ps 78:34–37; Ho 6:1–4




The repentance of God

  • There is a judgement of death over each of us
  • If we will repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ, He will repent of this judgement of death


Jeremiah 26:3 NKJV

Perhaps everyone will listen and turn from his evil way, that I may relent concerning the calamity which I purpose to bring on them because of the evil of their doings.’

See also Ex 32:14; Ps 106:45; Ho 11:8; Joe 2:13; Am 7:1–6



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