Posted by: missionventureministries | November 28, 2019

WHAT IS REPENTANCE? – 2 Corinthians 7:10

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Repentance is found throughout the Bible and it involves a change of direction, a transformation of decision. It is not only a change of mind, it constitutes in willingness or determination to abandon a stubborn disobedience and surrender the will to Christ.

We need to understand that a change in behavior does not represent repentance, because real repentance alters the character of the whole person as Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote:

“Repentance means that you realize that you are guilty, a vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, that you are hell-bound. It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, that you long to get rid of it, and that you turn your back on it in every shape and form. You renounce the world whatever the cost, the world and its outlook as well as its practice, and you deny yourself, and take up the cross and go after Christ.”

Repentance is not a one-time act. The repentance that takes place at conversion begins a progressive, lifelong process of confession (1 John 1:9). This active, continuous attitude of repentance produces the poor in spirit, mourning, and meekness Jesus spoke of in the Beatitudes (Mathew 5:3-6). It is a mark of every true believer.

Being sorry and being repentant are two different things. Judas felt remorse, but he didn’t repent (Matthew 27:3). Yes, Judas changed his mind, and he was sorry; what he didn’t do was to repent and ask the Lord for mercy for the sin that he had so horrendously committed.

As with Judas, one of the hardest things for a person to do is to repent of their sins. Repentance is a direct challenge to man’s will power. It demands that he humble himself before God, and give up everything that is contrary to his will; therefore, the holy demands of repentance have kept many out of the kingdom of God.

Repentance is a plain command of God throughout the Bible, and any man that refuses to repent will have to bear the responsibility that that comes with it. When Jesus gave the world-wide commission, He said, “That repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). And Paul said that, “God commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

As we see no one can be saved without repentance.

We need to understand that repentance is not simply being afraid. Paul convicted Felix of his sins, Felix trembled with fear but he did not repent (Acts 24:25). There are many people today who are afraid when they think of their sinfulness, but they, like Felix, refuse to repent, and die without hope.

As mentioned before, repentance is not simply and solely a change in behavior, a person may quit sin and yet not repent. Thus, the person may change their life for selfish reasons, but such reformation is not repentance. Simply stated, repentance is a change of mind or will based upon godly sorrow as Paul states: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Our Lord gave us an example of repentance which we can all understand, He said, “A certain man had two sons; and coming to the first, he said: Son, go work to day in my vineyard. And he answering, said: I will not. But afterwards, being moved with repentance, he went” (Matthew 21:28-29). This son began to reflect on what he had done, and he realized that he had disobeyed his father, he became conscious of the fact that he sinned against his father, who was responsible for his very existence, and when he came to himself, he acknowledge that wrong, and then corrected it. He changed his mind (repented) and did that which he said he would not do. This is a perfect example of repentance.

Thus true repentance recognizes the sinfulness of one’s heart and realizes that I am powerless to correct the situation because of the weakness and corruption of my flesh. So I cry out to God for a new heart, and He graciously provides what I cannot do. He imparts a new nature to me that loves righteousness and longs to obey Him. He gives me His Holy Spirit to empower me to walk in His ways. Just as a tree bears fruits according to its nature, so the truly repentant soul begins to bear fruits according to this new nature, fruits that please God and are observed by others.

The repentant heart is the one that God can use. Peter repented, and he became a powerful leader in the structure of the early Church. David repented, and his joy broke forth in the music of the Psalms. Jonah repented, and a great city heard the Gospel and turned to God. Jacob repented and God made him an ancestor of the Messiah, our Savior. Paul repented, and God used him to take the light of the Gospel to a pagan world.

If the world ever needed a spiritual awakening, it is now. The destiny of nations and individuals has changed when men and women boldly repented of their sins and turned to Jesus Christ by faith. Sin has morally corrupted many civilizations, and at this moment in history it threatens to destroy ours.

There is hope though, but it is only in God. There is forgiveness, but it can only be found at the foot of the cross, where Christ died for our sins. “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). This is God’s promise.

Have you repented? Have you changed? Is your life different from how it used to be? Remember only “godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

The Sovereign Lord takes no pleasure in the death of anyone. He said: “Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32)



  1. Diane asked me to thank you for your mailings and tell you that your recent articles have been superb.

    In Christ, — R

    • Thank you for your kind words, all honor and glory go to our heavenly Father. God’s blessings to both of you.

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