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A turning away from sin, disobedience, or rebellion and a turning back to God (Matthew 9:13; Luke 5:32). In a more general sense, repentance means a change of mind (Genesis 6:6-7) or a feeling of remorse or regret for past conduct (Matthew 27:3). True repentance is a "godly sorrow" for sin, an act of turning around and going in the opposite direction. This type of repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person's relationship to God.

Matthew 9:13
13 Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [that is, readiness to help those in trouble] and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims. For I came not to call and invite [to repentance] the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin). [Hosea 6:6.] AMP

Luke 5:32
32 I have not come to arouse and invite and call the righteous, but the erring ones ( those not free from sin) to repentance [to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins]. AMP

Genesis 6:6-7
6 And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart.
7 So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground not only man, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them. AMP

Matthew 27:3
3 When Judas, His betrayer, saw that [Jesus] was condemned, [Judas was afflicted in mind and troubled for his former folly; and] with remorse [with little more than a selfish dread of the consequences] he brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, [Exodus 21:32.] AMP


In the Old Testament the classic case of repentance is that of King David, after Nathan the prophet accused him of killing Uriah the Hittite and committing adultery with Uriah's wife, Bathsheba. David's prayer of repentance for this sin is found in Psalms 51.

Psalms 51
51:1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bathsheba.

HAVE MERCY upon me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to the multitude of Your tender mercy and loving-kindness blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly [and repeatedly] from my iniquity and guilt and cleanse me and make me wholly pure from my sin!
3 For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is ever before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and faultless in Your judgment. [Romans 3:4.]
5 Behold, I was brought forth in [a state of] iniquity; my mother was sinful who conceived me [and I too am sinful]. [John 3:6; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:3.]
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.
7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean [ceremonially]; wash me, and I shall [in reality] be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness and be satisfied; let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my guilt and iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted and return to You.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness and death, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness (Your rightness and Your justice).
15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You delight not in sacrifice, or else would I give it; You find no pleasure in burnt offering. [1 Samuel 15:22.]
17 My sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise.
18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then will You delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, justice, and right, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then bullocks will be offered upon Your altar. AMP

In the New Testament the keynote of John the Baptist's preaching was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). To the multitudes he declared, "Bear fruits worthy of repentance" (Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8). When Jesus began His ministry, He took up John's preaching of the message of repentance, expanding the message to include the good news of salvation: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel" (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15).


Matthew 3:2
2 And saying, Repent ( think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. AMP

Matthew 3:8
8 Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart]; AMP

Luke 3:8
8 Bear fruits that are deserving and consistent with [your] repentance [that is, conduct worthy of a heart changed, a heart abhorring sin]. And do not begin to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father; for I tell you that God is able from these stones to raise up descendants for Abraham. AMP

Matthew 4:17
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, crying out, Repent ( change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. AMP

Mark 1:15
15 And saying, The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ( have a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct for the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel). AMP


In Jesus' preaching of the kingdom of God is seen the truth that repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin: by repentance, one turns away from sin; by faith, one turns toward God in accepting the Lord Jesus Christ. Such a twofold turning, or conversion, is necessary for entrance into the kingdom (Matthew 18:3). "Unless you repent," said Jesus, "you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3,5). This is the negative, or judgmental, side of Jesus' message. The positive, or merciful, side is seen in these words: "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10).

Matthew 18:3
3 And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. AMP

Luke 13:3
3 I tell you, No; but unless you repent ( change your mind for the better and heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), you will all likewise perish and be lost eternally. AMP

Luke 13:5
5 I tell you, No; but unless you repent ( change your mind for the better and heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), you will all likewise perish and be lost eternally. AMP

Luke 15:10
10 Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one [especially] wicked person who repents ( changes his mind for the better, heartily amending his ways, with abhorrence of his past sins). AMP


After Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, His disciples continued His message of repentance and faith (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 20:21; 26:20). Repentance is a turning from wickedness and dead works (Acts 8:22; Hebrews 6:1) toward God and His glory (Acts 20:21; Revelation 16:9), eternal life (Acts 11:18), and a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25).


Acts 2:38
38 And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. AMP

Acts 3:19
19 So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord; AMP

Acts 20:21
21 But constantly and earnestly I bore testimony both to Jews and Greeks, urging them to turn in repentance [that is due] to God and to have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ [that is due Him]. AMP

Acts 26:20
20 But made known openly first of all to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the whole land of Judea, and also among the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works and live lives consistent with and worthy of their repentance. AMP

Acts 8:22
22 So repent of this depravity and wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, this contriving thought and purpose of your heart may be removed and disregarded and forgiven you. AMP

Hebrews 6:1
6:1 THEREFORE LET us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God, AMP

Acts 20:21
21 But constantly and earnestly I bore testimony both to Jews and Greeks, urging them to turn in repentance [that is due] to God and to have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ [that is due Him]. AMP

Revelation 16:9
9 People were severely burned (scorched) by the fiery heat, and they reviled and blasphemed the name of God, Who has control of these plagues, and they did not repent of their sins [felt no regret, contrition, and compunction for their waywardness, refusing to amend their ways] to give Him glory. AMP

Acts 11:18
18 When they heard this, they were quieted and made no further objection. And they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto [real] life [after resurrection]. AMP