Posted by: missionventureministries | August 8, 2011

REPENTANCE – 2 Corinthians 7:10

“For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10 

Repentance is a necessary prerequisite for salvation. No person can be saved without true repentance. When you look at John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, and see how he preached, we read in Matthew 3:2, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”  

When Jesus Christ began His ministry, we read in Matthew 4:17, “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” And the apostles also preached repentance as a necessary condition for salvation. For example, in Acts 17:30 Paul preached, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” Without repentance there cannot be salvation, because there is no restoration of our relationship with God. 

Repentance is part of the gospel. Jesus told his disciples after His resurrection in Luke 24:46-47 that they must preach repentance and forgiveness of sins to all the nations. So we need to ask the question: What is  repentance? Well, there are two kinds reflected in the Bible; true repentance and false repentance. 

First let us look at a couple of illustrations of false repentance. In the book of Matthew, chapter 27, we read about Judas who betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ. “Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed.”  However, he never repented to God of his sin.

In Exodus 10:16 we read that Pharaoh repented when the judgment of God came upon him, and he said to Moses, “I have sinned against the Lord your God; but as soon as the judgment passed, he went back to his sin. Pharaoh feared the hardships of the plagues but he did not fear the Lord to turn to Him with a true repentant heart.

True repentance is characterized by deep, godly sorrow for having offended God. We read about this kind of godly repentance in 2 Corinthians 7:10, For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.”   

True repentance is also reflected in the life of Job: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes” – Job 42:5-6. And in the life of David in Psalm 51, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.”  

In other words, true repentance is God-centered and God-focused. It is characterized by a deep, godly sorrow for having offended God by violating his commandments.  

You see such godly repentance in the life of Peter who denied Jesus Christ three times. Luke 22:61-62: The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly”. . . for having denied his Lord and his Savior. That is true repentance; so true repentance is characterized by a deep, godly sorrow for having offended a holy and majestic God.

The prodigal son is another outstanding example of one who truly repented. He extracted himself from the hog pen of sin and admitted his sinful situation was his fault. He returned to his father and said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of thy hired servants” -Luke 15:18-19. 

The biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action. If there is no hatred for that specific sin you have committed, and you are not turning from that sin, you are not repenting biblically. Without repentance there cannot be any forgiveness of sins, and without repentance no person can experience eternal life, which is fellowship with God. Worldly sorrow produces only spiritual death because the motivation (whatever it may be) is not to please God by conforming to His will. Let us make sure our repentance from sin is godly repentance, because a man or woman does not truly repent in the true sense of the word until he or she really loves Christ and hates sin.

In Acts 26:20 Paul declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” And Jesus said that “by their fruits you shall know them” – Matthew 7:20.



  1. I want to repent but I don’t feel that sorrow you are talking about. What can I do to get it?


      I’m afraid we have been guilty of building doctrines off our experience rather than the Bible. We must remember that the Bible is the principle, not man’s experience.

      I was raised in a very legalistic church that demanded sorrow for sins, and many other man made religious works to become a Christian.

      The following two verses helped me to receive total liberty, cleansing, joy, peace and the power to live a holy life, simply by trusting the finished work of Jesus for me, when He died on the cross and paid my sin debt in full.

      John 6:28-29 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
      Also: 2 Corinthians 5:21 “He knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

      We have heard well-meaning preachers tell of their experience of salvation and describe their weeping and sorrow and how miserable and low-down they felt before they were saved. In doing so, they suggest to the unbeliever that he must feel a certain amount of sorrow before he can be saved.

      If that is the case, then how much sorrow must a man feel and exactly how much must he weep and moan before God will save him? This kind of teaching suggests to us the false idea that God is basically unwilling to save sinners, and unless one softens the heart of God by his tears, then God will never accept him and grant forgiveness for sin.

      The truth is, God is more willing and ready to save than unbelievers are to simply trust Him to do it. As a matter of fact, God has done and is doing all He can to save men. Two thousand years ago He placed all our sins on His Son Jesus Christ and then punished Jesus in our place to pay the sin debt we owe so that when we die, we won’t have to pay it. That is exactly what the Bible means in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In the matter of salvation, no amount of weeping or sorrow will coax God into doing something that He has not already done.

      When Jesus was on the cross, He cried, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), which means that the price for our salvation was paid in full. Nothing can be added to it and nothing can be taken from it. We don’t need to weep, beg, or plead for God to do something He has already done. What we do is accept Him, trust Him.

      The great evangelist D. L. Moody insisted that the inquirer was not to seek sorrow but the Savior. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His shed blood is sufficient for the forgiveness of sins. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”

      Notice that forgiveness of sins is through His blood. It is not the death of Christ-plus sorrow; the death of Christ-plus tears; the death of Christ-plus mourning; or even the death of Christ-plus pleading. No, It is the death of Christ-period. The Word of God makes it clear that salvation is based entirely upon the death of Christ and the believer’s faith or trust in Him. Acts 16:31 plainly says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved.” Believe. Not believe and weep, not believe and pray, not believe and mourn, not believe and feel sorrow for your sins, but believe, only believe.

      I am glad when I see someone troubled over his sins, but we must be very careful in presenting the plan of salvation not to insist that a person have a certain degree of sorrow before he can be saved. That is not repentance, and such a requirement for salvation is not found in the Bible.

      Faith and Repentance
      Dr. John R. Rice said:

      “Sometimes the preacher does not himself fully understand the plan of salvation. He thinks of salvation as a process. First, there is a period of conviction, then a period of repentance, then an act of faith.”

      He went on to explain that when one trusts Christ as Savior he also repents.

      Dr. Rice is absolutely right. Faith and repentance are the same; they are not two separate decisions. One cannot trust Christ as Savior without repenting or changing his mind. The very fact that he trusts Christ for salvation shows that he has changed his mind regarding sin, salvation, and God.

      If one book of the Bible had to be considered “the salvation book,” it would have to be the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John is printed and distributed more than any other book of the Bible. The purpose of this book is given in John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
      According to this verse, the whole purpose of the Gospel of John is that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ and believing they might have life through His name. In other words, it is written that men might be saved. Yet “repent” or “repentance” is not used one single time in the Gospel of John. On the other hand, “believe” is used more than ninety times in the twenty-one chapters.

      The book of Romans was written to show how men are justified. After explaining in Romans, chapter 4, how men are not justified, Romans 5:1 states, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
      While “repentance” is found only twice in the book of Romans, “faith” is found thirty-nine times. Romans 3:28 states, “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” And Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God….”

      Since the word “repent” is not found at all in the Gospel of John, and “repentance” is found only twice in the book of Romans, and only one time is it used in connection with salvation, are we then to conclude that repentance is not necessary to salvation? Absolutely not!
      We have already shown the importance of repentance and its necessity.

      Now, since repentance is not found in connection with salvation in the Gospel of John and only once in the book of Romans, are we to conclude that neither of these two books tells one how to be saved or justified? Certainly not. Those who know the Bible best would have to agree that these two books of the Bible contain the clearest presentation of the Gospel and how one is to be saved.

      Since repentance is necessary to salvation, and since the word is not used at all in the Gospel of John and only once as referring to salvation in the book of Romans, then we must conclude that the word “repentance” is included in the words “believe” and “faith” which are found repeatedly in these two books.

      Following is a list of verses that show that salvation/justification is by faith.

      1. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

      2. Romans 3:22, “even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.”

      3. Romans 3:24, “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;”

      4. Romans 3:26, “for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

      5. Romans 3:28-30, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”

      6. Romans 4:3, “For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

      7. Romans 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,”

      8. Romans 5:1, “therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

      9. Romans 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

      10. Romans 9:30, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith.”

      11. Romans 10:9-10, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

      12. Romans 11:6, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”

      13. Galatians 2:16, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”

  2. Thanks for teaching on this! Lots of people love to hear about the love of God but hate the lessons on repentance. May God bless this ministry.

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