Repentance; A Change of Life That Leads to Salvation!

Repentance is a necessary desire to change one’s life that leads to salvation. In fact, a person’s change in thoughts and actions shows they are sorry, a sign of true regret! Let’s explore this together.

Updated: Sunday, September 4, 2022


Picture of a green field with trees for the repentance bible study 2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation and leaves no regret: but the sorrow of the world produces death.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (RKJNT)

True Repentance

Please allow me to introduce you to ‘true repentance’. To repent is not merely an utterance (saying) of words, but is preceded/accompanied by or associated with:

    1. A feeling of guilt for sin.
    2. Recognition and acceptance of the sacrificial-saving grace of Jesus.
    3. A heartfelt {emotional (or penitence: grief, groan)} desire to change to a life devoted to God.

Afterward, the person needs to be born again, allowing the Spirit of God to make Spirit-led lifestyle changes, resulting in godly hatred of sin (you must read “I Am A Hater – Hater of Sin“). So many are misled into believing they can repeat a prayer or say certain words, but never understand the true repentance from the heart.

2 Corinthians 7:8-10

For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret: for I perceive that the letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that your sorrow brought you to repentance: for you were made sorrowful in a godly manner, so that you suffered no harm from us. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation and leaves no regret: but the sorrow of the world produces death. (RKJNT)

NOTE: the word ‘godly’ in verse 10 comes from the Greek θεός theos (theh-os’) whatever can in any respect be likened unto God, or resemble him in any way. ‘Sorrow’ – λύπη lupe (loo’-pay) 1. sadness; pain, grief. ‘Godly sorrow’ – God knows the secrets of the heart (Psalms 44:21); sincere repentance comes from the heart. Ecclesiasticus 21:6 (KJV) He that hateth to be reproved is in the way of sinners: but he that feareth the Lord will repent from his heart {“you will make a sincere change in your ways}.”

Hebrews 4:12-13

God’s word is alive and powerful! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts. 13 Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth. (CEV) [Hebrews 4:1-13 (focus verses: 12-13)].

The sacrifice God wants is a willing spirit. God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for its sin. Psalm 51:17 (ICB)
Brothers and sisters, God has shown you his mercy. So I am asking you to offer up your bodies to him while you are still alive. Your bodies are a holy sacrifice that is pleasing to God. When you offer your bodies to God, you are worshiping him in the right way. 2 Don’t live the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NIRV)


Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
      1. Sorrow for any thing done or said; the pain or grief which a person experiences in consequence of the injury or inconvenience produced by his own conduct.
      2. In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life.
      3. Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.
        • Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.
        • Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. 2 Corinthians 7; Matthew 3.
        • Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that it has offended God.

God wants All to Repent

Picture of road to the temple for the repentance bible study 2 Peter 3:9
The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 (HCSB)

But do not forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be disclosed.

11 Therefore since all these things will be destroyed like this, what kind of people ought you to be in holy living and godliness, 12 looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, which will cause the burning heavens to be dissolved, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:8-13 (NHEB)

Your ways should change!

God wants all people to receive His salvation. Your life should change because of the Holy Spirit your helper. “Humans give life to their children. Yet only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God.” John 3:6 (CEV)

Being sorry in the way God wants makes a person change his heart and life. This leads to salvation, and we cannot be sorry for that. But the kind of sorrow the world has will bring death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 (ICB)

Jesus died to save you

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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world might be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18 (RKJNT) [read John 3:1-21 (focus verses: 16-18); reference Isaiah 45:21-23; Zechariah 9:9].

1 John 2:1-2

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. (NLT).

1 Timothy 2:1-6

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. 2 You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives—lives full of devotion to God and respect for him. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior.

4 God wants everyone to be saved and to fully understand the truth. 5 There is only one God, and there is only one way that people can reach God. That way is through Christ Jesus, who as a man 6 gave himself to pay for everyone to be free. This is the message that was given to us at just the right time. (ERV)

I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance. 10 Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting.” Luke 15:7, 10 (WEB)

Matthew 18:14 The Message (MSG) Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn’t want to lose even one of these simple believers.

Everyone must repent

Picture of a beach for the repentance bible study Acts 17:30
While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
Acts 17:30 (NRSV)

He wanted these people to search for God in hope that, by groping for Him, they might [eventually] find Him, even though He is not [really] very far from [any of] us. 28 For in [the strength of] God we all] live, move around and have our [personal] identity, just as a certain one of your [Athenian] poets [once] said, ‘For we too are His children.’ 29 Since therefore we are God’s children, we should not think that the Deity is like gold, silver or stone, to be carved [into an idol] by the design and skill of men.

30 Now God made allowance for the times when people were still uninformed about His complete will], but now [in the Gospel age] He requires all people everywhere to repent [i.e., change their hearts and lives]. 31 For He has appointed a [certain] day when He will judge the people of the world according to [a standard of] true justice by the man [i.e., Jesus] whom He has appointed [as Judge, See II Tim. 4:8]. [And] He has given assurance to all people [that He will do this] by raising Jesus from the dead.” Acts 17:27-31 (AUV)

The disciples preached repentance

For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so as to avoid spending much time in Roman Asia. He was making haste to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the Festival at the close of the Harvest. 17 From Miletus, however, he sent to Ephesus and invited the officers of the church to meet him;

18 and, when they came, he said to them: “You know well the life that I always led among you from the very first day that I set foot in Roman Asia, 19 serving the Lord, as I did, in all humility, amid the tears and trials which fell to my lot through the plots of some of the Jewish leaders. 20 I never shrank from telling you anything that could be helpful to you, or from teaching you both in public and in private. 21 I earnestly pointed both Jews and Greeks to the repentance that leads to God, and to faith in Jesus, our Lord. Acts 20:16-21 (OEBus)


Repentance in verse 21 is from Greek G3341 μετάνοια metanoia (met-an’-oy-ah) 1. (subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation) 2. (by implication) reversal (of (another’s) decision). Also translated ‘change their hearts and lives and turn to God turn from sin to God‘ || ‘to change and turn to God’ || ‘the necessity of repenting from sin

Mark 6:12

So the followers [they] went out and preached that people should change their hearts and lives [turn from sin; repent]. (EXB) [Read Mark 6:7-13 (key verse: 12)]

Repentance has been described as “a change of mind Godward that leads to a judgement of self and one’s acts.” 1 Kings 8:47; Ezekiel 14:6; Matthew 3:2; Matthew 9:13; Luke 15:7; Acts 20:21; 2 Corinthians 7:9, 10; etc. This would not be possible but for the thought of mercy in God. It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance. Romans 2:4. – Morrish Bible Dictionary

What if I do not repent?

Picture of colorful rocks at beach for the repentance bible study Luke 24:47
and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luke 24:47 (RKJNT)

Repentance and forgiveness of sin was preached first to those who assembled after the promised Holy Spirit came. That message includes water baptism in the name of Jesus [Acts 2:14-39 (38)]. It continues to be preached in assemblies today.

Unfortunately, some repeat the words of Jesus, that is to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit [Matthew 28:19]. They should follow the Apostles’ example of doing as Jesus said. “Baptize in the name of Jesus,” because Jesus is the NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Luke 24:46-49 (KJV)

God hates sin

We need to have knowledge of God’s total dislike for those who sin and do not repent. Psalms 7:10-13 and 34:16 summarize God’s feelings regarding these individual’s (particularly, but not limited to, the Israelites):

God is my shield; he saves those whose heart is right. 11 God is a righteous judge, a God who is angry at evil every single day. 12 If someone doesn’t change their ways, {shuwb – “If a man does not repent,”} God will sharpen his sword, will bend his bow, will string an arrow. 13 God has deadly weapons in store for those who won’t change; he gets his flaming arrows ready! Psalms 7:10-13 (CEB)

The face {anger} of the LORD is against {God despises; opposes} evildoers {those who do evil; who repented not}, To cut off the {to wipe out all; erase all; to eliminate even the; remove all} memory of them from the earth {he makes the world forget them}. Psalm 34:16 (NASB77) [NOTE: bracketed comments are a culmination of 92 translations]

Consequences of not repenting

Luke 13:3 (RKJNT)

I tell you, No: but, unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish. [Read Luke 13:1-5 (focus verses: 3 and 5)]

Matthew 11:20-24 (RKJNT)

Then he began to rebuke the cities in which most of his miracles had been done, because they did not repent: 21 Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the miracles which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? you shall be brought down to Hades: for if the miracles which have been done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.

Romans 6:20-23 (NLV)

When sin had power over your life, you were not right with God. 21 What good did you get from the things you are ashamed of now? Those things bring death. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin. You have become a servant for God. Your life is set apart for God-like living. The end is life that lasts forever. 23 You get what is coming to you when you sin. It is death! But God’s free gift is life that lasts forever. It is given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. [Read Romans 5:12-21 (key verse: 12); 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 (focus verses: 9-10); Revelation 21:1-8 (focus verses: 6-8)]

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says

While feeling is not the equivalent of repentance, it nevertheless may be a powerful impulse to a genuine turning from sin. A penitent cannot from the nature of the case be stolid and indifferent. The emotional attitude must be altered if New Testament repentance be experienced. There is a type of grief that issues in repentance and another which plunges into remorse. There is a godly sorrow and also a sorrow of the world. The former brings life; the latter, death (Matt 27:3; Luke 18:23; 2 Cor 7:9-10).

There must be a consciousness of sin in its effect on man and in its relation to God before there can be a hearty turning away from unrighteousness
. The feeling naturally accompanying repentance implies a conviction of personal sin and sinfulness and an earnest appeal to God to forgive according to His mercy (Psalms 51:1-2,10-14).

repent” – שׁוּב shuwb (shoob; shüv) v. – 1) to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point) 2) (generally) to retreat 3) (often adverbially) again

Repentance: Conclusion

Some are aware that they live in sin but refuse to repent. Eternal death will be the result of that choice. Please stop sinning and be sincerely sorry for your sin. God will forgive you when you are baptized in the name of Jesus. Once you receive the Holy Spirit, you become a new person. Then your life is guaranteed to change.

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” Acts 2:36-39 (WEB)

NOTE: verse 38

‘Repent’ comes from the Greek μετανοέω metanoeo (met-an-o-eh’-o)

  1. to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction)
  2. to change one’s mind or purpose for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins
  3. change the inner man (particularly with reference to acceptance of the will of God), repent. Also translated:
    • turn to God and change the way you think and act.
    • Change your hearts and lives.
    • turn away from your sins.
    • Be sorry for your sins and turn from them.

Repentance – a Change of Life That Leads to Salvation

Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick doI came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” According to the Louw and Nida Greek-English Lexicon, Jesus used the Greek word μετάνοια metanoia (me-tä’-noi-ä) meaning to change one’s way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness – ‘to repent, to change one’s way, repentance. God does not ask our opinion of His word, hopefully, we can agree that repentance for sin-going against the will and word of God-is something that God requires in order to avoid suffering the penalty-eternal death.

The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary

“…In the theological and ethical sense a fundamental and thorough change in the hearts of men from sin and toward God. Although faith alone is the condition for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10; Acts 16:31), repentance is bound up with faith and inseparable from it, since without some measure of faith no one can truly repent, and repentance never attains to its deepest character till the sinner realizes through saving faith how great is the grace of God against whom he has sinned. On the other hand, there can be no saving faith without true repentance. Repentance contains as essential elements:

  1. a genuine sorrow toward God on account of sin (2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Matthew 5:3-4; Psalm 51).
  2. an inward repugnance to sin necessarily followed by the actual forsaking of it (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20; Hebrews 6:1).
  3. humble self-surrender to the will and service of God.

Bless you, my friends—Tim.

Scriptures to read and study

2 Corinthians 7:2-12 (focus verses: 8-10); 2 Peter 3:1-13 (key verse: 9); Acts 17:22-34 (focus verses: 29-31); Luke 24:36-49 (focus verses: 46-49).

Romans 2:1-16 (focus verses: 1-4); 1 Timothy 2:1-6 (focus verses: 1-4); Luke 15:1-10 (focus verses: 7 and 10; reference Matthew 18:10-14); Acts 20:17-38 ( focus verses: 17-21); Acts 2:14-39 (focus verses: 36-39); Matthew 9:9-13 (focus verses: 10-13).

Related studies/lessons/snacks for further Spiritual growth:

Christian Life; A Life in Christ Full of Love – an estimated 32-minute read.
Changed Life: Experience Your Best Using God’s Free Gift – an estimated 19-minute read.
Born Again By The Holy Spirit; Your Spiritual Birth – an estimated 34-minute read.
Worship God In Spirit And Truth; That Pleases Him! – an estimated 5-minute read.

Question for “Repentance Is Required For Salvation”: Have you repented-changed the way you think and act, no longer living in sin?

See what is available on the Sound Truth Ministry website.


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