The word “repent” is an old nautical term for when a sailing ship is sailing against the wind.
A sailboat cannot sail directly into the wind. It must take an angle against the wind for a time and then turn 180 degrees to the opposite angle against the wind.
When the captain decides to turn the ship one hundred eighty degrees, he orders the crew to “repent!”
This brings us to what the Bible says about Repentance.
This word “repent” describes somebody who takes a one-hundred-eighty-degree turn. It’s exactly what they do when they recognize they made a mistake and decide to go the opposite direction.
Repentance is God’s requirement for everyone living on the surface of the earth, especially for those who need His help and blessings.
And here’s why:
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” –Romans 3:23
This is God’s verdict concerning man. Adam -the first man He created- was supposed to fill the whole earth with his kind.
But before he even got started, Adam committed the first sin by eating the forbidden fruit. He listened to his wife who was deceived by the devil and disregarded God’s instruction.
God was angry with them and threw them out of the beautiful garden where He placed them.
By this singular act, Adam and Eve succeeded in filling the world with humans born as sinners.
We are all sinners by birth!
So we begin our earthly sojourn headed in exactly the wrong direction. And the only way to please God is to turn around and go the exact opposite way.
God saw the bondage man had put upon himself. He moved in to help by sending Jesus into our world to die for our sins and free us from the terrible bondage.
When Jesus started His ministry, His first message to the people was “Repent ye for the kingdom of God is at hand.” It was a message of hope. Many listened, believed, and accepted Him and received eternal life and total freedom from the bondage of the devil.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Repentance is the only way to life. It’s the way back to the Father.
What Does Jesus Say About Repentance?
Jesus encouraged people to repent of their sins so that they can inherit eternal life.
When some of the Jews condemned Him for associating with sinners and eating with them, Jesus told them:
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32
That verse alone summarizes his whole earthly ministry.
After He died and was resurrected, the disciples were devastated. They lost all hope because they believed that was the end of their master and all that He came for.
When some of them announced that they encountered the resurrected Christ, they were further confused.
In the midst of that Jesus appeared to two of them on the way to a city called Emmaus and further confirmed His stand on the issue of repentance.
He told them, this is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:46-48
From that time till now, anointed messengers of God have been carrying the message of repentance from sin to people all over the world. The results are phenomenal; the blood of Jesus had not been shed in vain!
What Are the Four Steps of Repentance?
There are specific steps that any sinner can take to repent of his or her sins and get forgiveness from God. They are:
1. Recognize you are a sinner.
You would need to agree with God on this issue. You may have your reasons for doing wrong things, but they don’t count before God. Remember, Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed Satan. They both tried to justify their actions, but God did not accept their claims. They suffered for their sins.
2. Confess your sins to God.
Tell God with your mouth those wrong things you have been doing. Know that He sees everything, and you cannot hide anything from Him. The book of Romans 10:9 says “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
3. Ask for forgiveness.
After confession, go ahead and tell God to forgive you those sins. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
4. Forsake your sins.
After receiving forgiveness, you must ensure that you do not go back to your sins again. Now that you have become a new person, you have the power to resist sin and live a victorious Christian life for the rest of your life.
Jesus told some people to go and sin no more, it is the same message He is sending to you.
What is Repentance Bible Verse
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
A man who was born lame was healed by Peter and John using power in the name of Jesus, as the man was leaping and jubilating, those who used to know him as the lame man by the Temple gate marveled at the new transformation, but Peter told them that the name of Jesus (see Why Did Jesus Heal on the Sabbath?) whom they rejected and killed had given the man the miracle they were seeing.
He told them to repent and be refreshed by God.
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
Everybody needs to repent, regardless of their birth or nationality. The Jews are the direct descendants of Abraham the father of faith, yet they need repentance.
Where in the Bible Does It Say to Repent Daily?
Daily repentance is not supported by the Bible. We are expected to confess our sins, repent and forsake them, and never go back to them.
1 John 3:9
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.
Anyone still living habitually in sin to the point of needing repentance on daily basis is not a child of God. Such a fellow has not been saved and needs to go back to God and genuinely repent of his sins. The Bible says the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sins. If you call upon the Lord and genuinely seek Him for your salvation, He will respond to you, for He says He will not cast anyone out.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Does it mean after someone is forgiven he cannot sin again? He can still sin but not habitually, not what the Bible calls “living in sin.” For such God has made a provision.
1 John 2:1-2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
What is True Repentance?
True repentance means to realize that you are a sinner and turn away from your sins. When you come to terms with your sinful life, you should be remorseful and ashamed of them to the point of wanting to drop them.
If you have been a drunkard before, after repentance you will not drink again. If you have been stealing from others, this will not continue after repentance.
When Zacchaeus repented, he promised Jesus that he would restore all the money he had collected wrongly from people fourfold, for he was a tax collector. Luke 19:8.
100 Bible Verses About Repentance
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
And saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
2 Timothy 2:25
Correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,
But declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
Testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
2 Corinthians 7:9
As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.
Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”
And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,
So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.
Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.
And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”
And rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10
As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. …
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
And then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.
2 Chronicles 30:9
For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”
And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.
Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
And said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. …
But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.
2 Peter 3:8
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
And if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. …
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old—
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.
Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,
I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
I have heard Ephraim grieving, ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the Lord my God. For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’ Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 1:9
For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
God considers the time that we spent in sins in the time past before we come in contact with the gospel of Christ as a time of ignorance. Just like a child who cannot differentiate between right and wrong, we never knew we were doing what was wrong in the sight of God, but from the day we hear about the saving grace of Jesus Christ, we are no more living in ignorance.
God is urging everyone who knows the love and suffering of Jesus for humanity to repent of their sins, otherwise, they will face the wrath of God.
Repentance is simple but powerful. It does not take time, nor cost money, even a little child can do it. God made it so, that everyone no matter their situation can have access to it.
On the day of judgment, the only thing God will be looking for is the evidence of repentance, because only those who have repented would have their names written in the book of the Lamb, having been washed in His blood.
Have you repented of your sin?
Is your Faith Founded on Fact?
Have you committed to follow Jesus?