What is repentance in the Bible?
Biblical repentance is a change of mind and heart about sin. It’s a change of mind about who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for you and it leads to a turning away from sin. Is repentance a work? No, does repentance save you? No, but you can’t place your faith in Christ for salvation without first having a change of mind. We must be extremely careful that we never understand repentance as a work.
We are saved by faith in Christ alone, apart from our works. It is God who grants us repentance. You can’t come to the Lord unless He brings you to Himself.
Repentance is the result of true salvation in Christ. True faith will make you new. God commands all men to repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Genuine repentance will lead to a different relationship and attitude towards sin. False repentance never leads to a turning away from sin.
An unregenerate person says that Jesus died for my sins who cares I’ll rebel now and repent later.
Repentance does not mean that a Christian can’t genuinely struggle with sin. But there’s a difference between struggling and diving head first into sin, which shows that someone is a false convert. These repentance Bible verses below include KJV, ESV, NIV, NASB, NLT, and NKJV translations.
Christian quotes about repentance
“Because it has been so united with the devil it is vital for man to receive from God a change of mind before he can receive a new heart.” Watchman Nee
“Many mourn for their sins that do not truly repent of them, weep bitterly for them, and yet continue in love and league with them.” Matthew Henry
“True repentance begins with KNOWLEDGE of sin. It goes on to work SORROW for sin. It leads to CONFESSION of sin before God. It shows itself before a person by a thorough BREAKING OFF from sin. It results in producing a DEEP HATRED for all sin.” J. C. Ryle
“Repentance is as much a mark of a Christian, as faith is. A very little sin, as the world calls it, is a very great sin to a true Christian.” Charles Spurgeon
“Four marks of true repentance are: acknowledgement of wrong, willingness to confess it, willingness to abandon it, and willingness to make restitution.” Corrie Ten Boom
“True repentance is no light matter. It is a thorough change of heart about sin, a change showing itself in godly sorrow and humiliation – in heartfelt confession before the throne of grace – in a complete breaking off from sinful habits, and an abiding hatred of all sin. Such repentance is the inseparable companion of saving faith in Christ.” J. C. Ryle
“God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.” Augustine
“People who cover their faults and excuse themselves do not have a repentant spirit.” Watchman Nee
“I cannot pray, except I sin. I cannot preach, but I sin. I cannot administer, nor receive the holy sacrament, but I sin. My very repentance needs to be repented of and the tears I shed need washing in the blood of Christ.” William Beveridge
“Just as the angel’s announcement to Joseph declared Jesus’ primary purpose to be to save His people from their sins (Mt. 1:21), so the first announcement of the kingdom (delivered by John the Baptist) is associated with repentance and confession of sin (Mt. 3:6).” D.A. Carson
“A sinner can no more repent and believe without the Holy Spirit’s aid than he can create a world.” Charles Spurgeon
“The Christian who has stopped repenting has stopped growing.” A.W. Pink
“We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin.” CS Lewis
“Repentance is a change of willing, of feeling and of living, in respect to God.” Charles G. Finney
“True repentance will entirely change you; the bias of your souls will be changed, then you will delight in God, in Christ, in His Law, and in His people.” George Whitefield
“No pain will last forever. It is not easy, but life was never meant to be either easy or fair. Repentance and the lasting hope that forgiveness brings will always be worth the effort.” Boyd K. Packer
“The true penitent repents of sin against God, and he would do so even if there were no punishment. When he is forgiven, he repents of sin more than ever; for he sees more clearly than ever the wickedness of offending so gracious a God.” Charles Spurgeon
“Christians are commanded to warn the nations of the world that they must repent and turn to God while there is yet time.” Billy Graham
What does the Bible say about repentance?
1. Luke 15:4-7 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep. In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”
2. Luke 5:32 “I have not come to call righteous people, but sinners, to repentance.”
True repentance Bible verses
True repentance leads to regret, godly sorrow, and turning from sin. Counterfeit leads to self-pity and worldly sorrow.
3. 2 Corinthians 7:8-10 “For even if I grieved you with my letter, I do not regret it—even though I did regret it since I saw that the letter grieved you, yet only for a little while. Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn’t experience any loss from us. For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death.”
4. True – Psalm 51:4 “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.”
5. False – “Matthew 27:3-5 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man. “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.”
God grants repentance
Out of God’s grace, He grants us repentance.
6. 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.”
7. John 6:44 “For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.”
8. 2 Timothy 2:25 “correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.”
9. Acts 5:31 “God has exalted to his right hand this very man as our Leader and Savior in order to extend repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.”
God commands every man to repent
God commands all men to repent and put your faith in Christ.
10. Acts 17:30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.”
11. Matthew 4:16-17 “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
12. Mark 1:15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
Without repentance there is no forgiveness verse.
13. Acts 3:19 “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.”
14. Luke 13:3 “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well!”
15. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
Repentance is the result of your true faith in Christ.
The evidence that you are truly saved is that your life will change.
16. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
17. Matthew 7:16-17 “You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit.”
18. Luke 3:8-14 “Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” “What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him. He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages.”
God’s kindness leads to repentance
19. Romans 2:4 “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
20. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
The need for daily repentance
We are at constant war with sin. Repentance does not mean that we can’t struggle. Sometimes we feel broken over sin and we hate it with a passion, but we can still fall short. Believers can rest upon the perfect merit of Christ and run to the Lord for forgiveness.
21. Romans 7:15-17 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.”
22. Romans 7:24 “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”
23. Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Can Christians backslide?
A Christian can even backslide, but if He is truly Christian, he will not remain in that state. God will bring His children to repentance and even discipline them if He has to.
24. Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
25. Hebrews 12:5-7 “And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives. Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?”
God is faithful to forgive
God is always faithful and cleanses us. It is good to confess our sins daily.
26. 1 John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
Examples of repentance in the Bible
27. Revelation 2:5 “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
28. Revelation 2:20-21 “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.”
29. Acts 5:31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.
30. Acts 19:4-5 “Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
31. Revelation 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.”
32. Revelation 16:11 “and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God.”
33. Mark 1:4 “And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
34. Job 42:6 “Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
35. Acts 26:20 “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.”