When we read the gospels, we see John the Baptist and Jesus preaching about repentance (Matt 4:17, 3:6).
Even after Jesus’ accession into heaven, we still see the disciples preaching about repentance (Mark 6:12, Acts 2:38).
If Jesus preached repentance and the disciples continued to preach repentance after his resurrection, then it must be important.
In today’s post, we will cover what repentance is, how to repent, and the relationship between confession and repentance.
What is the Biblical Definition of Repentance?
Two types of repentance are described in the Bible: repentance for salvation and a life of repentance.
Before we can talk about the two types of repentance we must first define what it means to repent.
The Greek word for repentance is metanoia, which means to change one’s mind. It can also mean turning with great sorrow or remorse from sin to God.
What is Salvation Repentance?
In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.Acts 17:30-31
Jesus went to the cross for mankind to save us from our sins. The only way we can be saved is by putting our faith and trust in Jesus.
In essence, when we get saved we repent or change our minds about who Jesus is and who we are.
We believe and accept him as the Son of God, that God raised him from the dead, and that through him we have eternal life.
We realize that we are sinners in need of a savior and that savior is Jesus Christ.
All Christians experience repentance that leads to salvation.
What is a Life of Repentance?
The second type of repentance is a life of repentance.
As Christians, we’ve made the conscious decision to turn away from the world and the lust of the flesh to follow Christ.
Once we surrendered our lives to him all of our past sins were forgiven and all of our future sins are forgiven.
We are new creations in Christ, but we still have to live in this sinful world and fight against our sinful flesh.
For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. (Gal 5:17)
Now we must choose to pick up our cross and follow Christ daily, which means we must make a choice every day to turn from our worldly sinful desires.
How Do You Repent
As long as we live in this world we will never be perfect, we will sin daily. However, if we truly repent God is faithful and just to forgive our sins (1 John 1:9). What are the steps to repentance?
What Are the 4 Steps of Repentance
Step 1: Confession (1 John 1:9)
The first step to repentance is confession. Confession is one of the lesser-known spiritual disciplines, but confession and repentance go hand in hand.
Confession is the public acknowledgment of sin or wrongdoing. If you are unwilling to confess your sin or see what you’re doing as sin then you can not repent.
Before we came to Christ we did not believe that we were sinners, which made us unable to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s love for us.
Step 2: Renew Your Mind (Ro 12:2)
The second step is renewing your mind. Romans tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Renewing our mind to what? To God’s standards of righteousness and holiness.
As mentioned before the word repent means to change one’s mind or to have great sorrow or remorse for sin. We can confess and ask God for forgiveness, but if we are not thoroughly convinced that we have sinned we will continue to live in it.
We renew our minds by devoting ourselves to reading and meditating on the word of God and spending time in prayer.
As we renew our minds it will begin to produce godly sorrow in us towards sin.
Step 3: Submission (Js 4:7)
The third step is to submit our lives to Christ and listen to the Holy Spirit.
No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matt 6:24
As, Christians we cannot serve the world and Christ. We must submit ourselves wholeheartedly to His leadership. When we submit ourselves to God whatever temptations we are facing will flee according to James 4:7.
Step 4: Repent/Turn
The final step is to repent or turn from your sin. God doesn’t just want lip service from us, He wants us to take action.
What are you going to do to turn from your sin? How are you going to lessen the temptation? What sacrifices are you willing to make to not fall into sin again? Do you need an accountability partner? Do you need to separate from some people or things?
Take logical steps to flee from sin. Ask the Holy Spirit what you need to do.
Living a life of repentance doesn’t mean that you have to constantly be on the lookout for sin in your life, but we must be sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit convicts you then follow the steps of repentance and move forward.
As believers, when you confess your sin and ask God to forgive you, you are forgiven. You don’t need to try to earn His forgiveness.
Turn from your sin and keep pressing forward in Jesus. This is all part of the sanctification process. As long as we live in these bodies and on this earth we will struggle with sin and temptation.
We will never be sinless, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can still live a life that is holy and pleasing to God.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about the spiritual discipline of repentance. Share your thoughts with me in the comments section.
As always, keep Jesus in the center of everything you do.
Your Sister in Christ,