“Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…” – 2 Corinthians 7:10
To repent means to change one’s attitude towards sin and God. It’s a change that must occur in both the mind and the heart.
In Matthew 27:3 Judas repented in his mind but not his heart. In other words, he had a sense of regret or remorse, but he remained in his sin instead of turning to God for forgiveness.
Repentance of the mind and the heart leads to salvation and consists of three steps:
Step 1 – Recognize Your Guilt
The idea here is that we understand who we are and where we stand before God. 1 John 1:8 tells us that “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” While Romans 6:23 tells us the “wages of sin is death”.
The first step in repenting involves understanding that we are sinners and stand under God’s judgment.
Step 2 – Trust That God Will Forgive You
In Psalm 51 David wrote, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.”
Repentance is not only acknowledging our sin, it’s also recognizing that God is willing and able to forgive our sin.
We’re promised in Hebrews 8:12 that God will “forgive our wickedness and will remember our sins no more.”
The second step in repenting involves believing that God will forgive us.
Step 3 – Turn From Sin, To God
Once we realize that we stand before God guilty of sin, and that He is willing to forgive us, we must then come to Him to receive that forgiveness. We come to God the Father though Jesus Christ, who is God the Son.
John 3:16 declares that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 1 John 4:10 tells us that Christ is “the propitiation [or payment] for our sins.”
Because Christ paid for our sins, Romans 3:24 tells us that we have been “justified freely” through Him, and we now stand before God innocent.
The final step in repenting involves calling on Christ to save us from the penalty of sin. Acts 2:21 promises that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.”
Once we have repented and come to Christ for forgiveness Ephesians 2:19 tells us we are “no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”