A. THE DEFINITION OF REPENTANCE.
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of” (II Corinthians
Repentance is “godly sorrow for sin.” However, sorrow for sin alone is not repentance
although it might work repentance. Repentance is not only feeling sorry but it is a dying to sin,
a right about face. One little boy said, “Being sorry enough to quit.” The writer has seen
individuals who showed real sorrow because of sin and shed many tears, but did not quit their
sinful way. Such individuals have not repented.
B. THE IMPORTANCE OF REPENTANCE.
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to
repent” (Acts 17:30).
“But is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come
to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
These Scriptures reveal the great importance of repentance. The person who does not repent
will perish. He must repent if he desires to not perish. This shows that repentance is absolutely
The importance of repentance may also be seen by the prominent place it had in the ministry of
all New Testament preachers.
Matthew 3:1-2 – John the Baptist preached repentance.
Matthew 4:17 – Jesus preached repentance.
Luke 24:47 – Jesus commanded the twelve to preach it.
Luke 10:9 – Jesus commanded the seventy to preach it.
Acts 2:38 – Peter preached repentance.
Acts 20:21 – Paul preached repentance.
C. THE NATURE OF REPENTANCE.
1. REPENTANCE IS A CHANGE OF MIND (Matthew 21:29).
This concerns the intellect of man. In salvation man is completely changed. This change
and transformation must include his mind.
2. REPENTANCE IS A GODLY SORROW (II Corinthians 7:7-11).
This concerns the emotions of man. The publican beat upon his breast indicating sorrow
(Luke 18:13). There must be a certain amount of heart sorrow even if there is little evidence
of it outwardly. It is not only a heart broken because of sin but it is a heart BROKEN
3. REPENTANCE IS A DECISION (Luke 15:17-18).
This concerns the will of man. It is a decision to turn completely around. It is a decision to
turn from sin to Jesus. The prodigal not only was sorry but he arose and turned his
Man must FORSAKE that which he wishes God TO REMIT.
4. REPENTANCE IS A CONFESSION OF SIN (Luke 15:21).
It is absolutely impossible for a man to repent if he tries to cover his sin. An
acknowledgment of sin is essential to true repentance (Luke 18:13).
5. REPENTANCE IS A FORSAKING OF SIN (Proverbs 28:13).
To repent man must forsake sin. It is impossible for him to repent if he tries to cling to sin
in his life.
6. REPENTANCE IS A TURNING TO GOD (Acts 26:18).
It is not enough to forsake sin but man must turn to God (I Thessalonians 1:9).
7. REPENTANCE IS A DEATH (Romans 6:3).
In salvation a person is identified with Jesus in death, burial and resurrection. By
repentance he can be identified with Jesus in death.
Repentance is an actual death to sin, self and the world. Death is never pleasant and brings
suffering. Likewise a man may suffer much agony as he dies to the world.
D. HOW REPENTANCE IS PRODUCED.
1. REPENTANCE IS A DIVINE GIFT.
“Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18).
“…For to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).
“…If God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (II
Repentance does not originate within man but comes from Jesus. God grants repentance
2. REPENTANCE IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY CERTAIN MEANS.
“Not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation
Several agents produce repentance. The following all produce repentance:
a. Preaching of the gospel produces repentance–not any preaching but the preaching of
the true gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Jonah 3:5-10, I Thessalonians 1:5-10).
b. The goodness of God produces repentance. (II Peter 3:9).
c. The chastisement of God produces repentance. (Hebrews 12:6-11)
d. Christian reproof produces repentance. (II Timothy 2:24-25).
E. THE RESULTS OF REPENTANCE.
“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that
repenteth” (Luke 15:10).
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38).
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19).
There are many results which take place following repentance. Let us consider a few:
a. Heaven is made glad. Angels are interested spectators when a sinner repents. They
understand what happens when a sinner repents and rejoice.
b. Repentance brings pardon and forgiveness of sins. Repentance does not merit
forgiveness but is a condition for it. Repentance qualifies a man for a pardon, but it
does not entitle him to it.
c. Repentance qualifies one for regeneration – for water baptism and the gift of the Holy
Ghost. Repentance is necessary before a person is baptized.
“Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any
man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:8).
“Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and
then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:24).
To what extent does restitution enter into repentance? Honor and moral principle call for
restitution in as far as it is possible. The Lord will not do for us what we can do for ourselves.
The penitent will endeavor to obey the Lord in making wrongs right. However, it must be
remembered that there is absolutely nothing we can do about most of the sins committed except
to confess them and have them blotted out by the blood of the Lamb.
SELF HELP TEST
Write out in full one Scripture with the reference to prove each one of the following truths.
1. Heaven is made glad when a sinner repents.
2. Repentance is godly sorrow.
3. Repentance is a confession of sin.
4. Repentance is a death.
5. In repentance, there will be restitution as far as possible.
6. Repentance qualifies a person for regeneration.
7. Jesus commands everyone to repent.
8. The preaching of the gospel produces repentance.
9. Repentance is a divine gift.
10. Repentance is essential to salvation.