“Repent” is a translation from the Greek word metanoeó (Strong’s 3340) and means to repent, to change one’s mind or to change the inner man. From metá and noiéo.
Repenting doesn’t mean just saying “I’m sorry” or “I’m sorry that I got caught”, or something that we do on a daily basis. Repenting means to raise a white flag and making a decision to make the utmost to not repeat the sins again. It doesn’t mean we need to sign a legal document where we take an oath to never sin ever again as long as we live, but the aim should be to avoid sinning. If we sin, repent, sin, repent, sin, repent, it shows that we have not truly repented in the first place.
Repentance is a CONDITION for being cleansed from our sins and thus saved, so it’s important that the churches preach repentance and not only ”God loves you as you are”, or else they have missed to inform the hearers about something that is essential for our salvation . We really deserve to be punished for transgressing the law, but God is willing to pardon us, albeit not unconditionally. In order to be cleansed from our sins we must first confess our sins and repent. Not until then can we be cleansed in the blood of Jesus, and that is through the grace of God and through his mercy towards us. God would never lie and suggest that we are cleansed and forgiven if we still live in sin. Sins make us filthy and always separate us from God who is holy. Repentance always comes before cleansing and forgiveness, and not the other way around. John says that IF we sin (not WHEN we sin) we have an advocate with the Father:
John 2:1My little children, these things write I unto you, THAT YE SIN NOT. And IF any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous
Both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ started out preaching about REPENTANCE
Matthew 31In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.— 6And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. 7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”
Repentance means that our PAST sins are forgiven, and obviously not our present and/or future sins
2 Pet 1:9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been CLEANSED FROM HIS PAST SINS.
Romans 3:24, 25 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS THAT ARE PAST, through the forbearance of God.
2 Cor 7:9 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. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance LEADING TO salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
1 John 1:9 IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy
Mat 6:14,15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
2 Chron. 15:2 The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
Luke 9:23-26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels
Mat 10:33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.–Mat 26:69-75Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
Mat 18:32-35 Then the master called the servant in. You wicked servant, he said, I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. —This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.
Other verses about repentance
Matthew 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done because they repented not. 21 Woe unto thee Chorazin woe unto thee Bethsaida for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes (+ Luke 10:13)
Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgement with this generation and shall condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonas and behold a greater than Jonas is here (+ Luke 11:32)
Mark 1:15 And saying The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand repent ye and believe the gospel
Mark 6:12 And they went out and preached that men should repent
Luke 13:3 + 5 I tell you Nay but EXCEPT YE REPENT ye shall all likewise PERISH
Luke 15:7 I say unto you that “likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance“—10 Likewise I say unto you there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth
Luke 16:30 And he said Nay father Abraham but if one went unto them from the dead they will repent
Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves If thy brother trespass against thee rebuke him and if he repent forgive him 4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day and seven times in a day turn again to thee saying I repent thou shalt forgive him
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore and be converted THAT YOUR SINS MAY BE BLOTTED OUT when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord
Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at but now COMMANDETH ALL MEN EVERY WHERE to repent
Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus and at Jerusalem and throughout all the coasts of Judaea and then to the Gentiles that they should REPENT AND TURN TO GOD AND DO WORKS meet for repentance
2 Cor. 12:21 And lest when I come again my God will humble me among you and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed
Rev. 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen and repent and do the first WORKS or else I will come unto thee quickly and will REMOVE thy candlestick out of his place except thou repent
Rev. 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication and she repented not. 22 Behold I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation except they repent of their DEEDS
Rev. 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast and REPENT. If therefore thou shalt not watch I will come on thee as a thief and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee
Rev 3:19 As many as __ I love I rebuke and chasten be zealous therefore and repent
Rev. 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet REPENTED NOT of the works of their hands that they should not worship devils and idols of gold and silverand brass and stone and of wood which neither can see nor hear nor walk. 21 Neither REPENTED THEY of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their fornication nor of their thefts
Rev. 16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. 10And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their DEEDS.
Rev. 2:16 REPENT or else I will come unto thee quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
Here are verses from one of the early church fathers:
1 Clement 7:4 Let us fix our eyes on the blood of Christ and understand how precious it is unto His Father, because being shed for our salvation it won for the whole world the grace of repentance.
1 Clement 7:5 Let us review all the generations in turn, and learn how from generation to generation the Master hath given a place for repentance unto them that desire to turn to Him.
Chapter 28 “For He fore-knows that some are to be saved by repentance, some even that are perhaps not yet born. In the beginning He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative.” Justin Martyr
If God no longer draws/calls people due to their choice to harden their hearts and turn their backs on him, then they will not be granted repentance.
Repentance is granted and commanded by God to ALL men everywhere. Telling God that we feel bad about what we have done is not good enough if we make no plans to stop. Also many atheists might feel extremely bad about sins they have committed. Repentance is to cast out all filth IN ORDER to make our temples clean for the reception of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:43-45; Lk. 11:24-26; Acts 5:32). Repentance is a change of mind, inclinations and desires, which translates into a total change in conduct. It’s initiated by God through a crisis of conviction leading to a godly sorrow for sin and it means to forsake our wickedness, purge our hearts of evil and to seek the mercy of God. The passions and desires of the flesh are crucified (Ro. 6:6; Gal. 5:24) and this happens in repentance and not successively afterwards. Old things pass away and all things become new. If a husband is cheating on his wife, the wife would expect the husband to stop sleeping with another woman. What would she think if he said, “I really love you, honey, and I am *willing* to stop sleeping with the other woman, but it may take some time.” We would not accept such excuse from our partner. Why do people expect that of God?