How Do You Repent In Christianity

Repentance is essential in Christianity, but it’s a concept often misunderstood. It’s not just feeling sorry or paying your dues. Although repentance has a deep spiritual component, it’s such a vital element of a Christian’s life, and it’s so key to understanding the Bible, that understanding repentance is essential to comprehending Christianity.

Simply put, repentance means “to turn” or “to turn away” from the life of sin, the life without a relationship with Jesus. Repentance is a crucial part of Christianity’s message of hope and rescue, because it joins belief to behavior, faith to works, words to acceptance of the sacrifice made in order for us to freely receive salvation.

The Bible talks about repentance a great deal. In the old Testament, the word ‘Teshuvah’ in Hebrew is often used and translated to ‘repentance’ in English (of which there are many variations). The New Testament speaks of repentance and bearing fruit that lasts, mostly in the Gospels, which capture Jesus’ teaching about reversal and transformation.

Repentance is seen in the telling of the parables, where sinners ‘go away different’, and it’s seen in the way Jesus questions and challenges us. It’s also seen in the many conversions and stories of redemption. In Christian Scripture, we’re told to repent “of our sins, and turn to God, so that our sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19).

However, repentance goes beyond understanding the idea and learning, to actually “practicing” it. Repentance is deep and personal, it’s an all-encompassing shift in the essence of life, a fundamental reorientation of facing and accepting one’s actions, and for Christians in particular, being ready to accept the counsel and guidance of God.

Repentance requires us to come to terms with our moral defaults through introspection, to be brutally honest about how our lives compare to the ethical standards of the Bible, to be transparent about the things we’ve done and how those decisions have not only diminished the good around us, but have limited our experience of God’s blessings and goodness.

Changes in Attitude

Too often, repentance gets reduced to a simple moment of fear or guilt, but true repentance involves more than just being ashamed. Repentance is a shift in attitude toward right values that determines direction and results in transformation in our lives and in the lives of others. It’s a new way of thinking, where we recognize that we’re at a crossroad, and have the choice to follow a better path.

This attitude shift should first steer us back to the Word of God and its laws. With repentance come understanding and wisdom. The Bible is not just a moral code, it’s a source of knowledge and advice, offering us the counsel and encouragement that we need to deal with our lives wisely and successfully. Additionally, an attitude of repentance involves accepting the spiritual power of the Holy Spirit, inviting it to bring its truth and challenge our current reality, and using its guidance in overcoming the temptation to obey our carnal desires.

With repentance and a greater understanding of God’s Word also comes a renewed passion for living a life of holiness that is pleasing to God. Once a person turns away from his old way of life and moves closer to a life of holiness, he becomes aware of God’s grace and mercy and begins to live a life of loving service and obedience to His commandments. The aims of such a life strive to be to the glory of God.

Challenges of Repentance

Repentance is hard, it’s often scary and challenging, and it requires honesty and commitment to a new life. We can start to be obedient to God’s will, but it won’t last if there’s no true repentance of our heart, no turning away from sin and no willingness to go back to the Master. If a person doesn’t confess and commit to a life of obedience and revere Him, then true repentance is lacking.

One of the biggest challenges of repentance is that it involves changing the way we think and act on a daily basis, and some people struggle to make that transition without help. Repentance isn’t an emotion or one single experience, it’s a process we have to continue to walk in day after day; it’s remembering to turn away from evil and turn towards God, time and time again.

We must stay vigilant, refusing to go back to the old ways, and desperately follow Jesus for the rest of their lives. Those tempted to go back to sinful behavior should firstly seek God’s grace to resist it and should also open up to individuals and communities of faith that can guide and support them in their journey of repentance.

Desire and Motive

The gift of repentance is only made possible because of God’s grace. Before repentance, it’s not just about feeling bad for wrong behavior, or even changing the behavior itself; it’s about having a change of heart and developing a desire to turn away and seek God’s will.

God desires people to have a change of heart, not just a change of behavior, and true repentance means having a heart-change that is genuine, heartfelt and honest. This heart-change should go all the way to a person’s core, lead by a desire to truly receive God’s grace and to have a relationship with Him.

Additionally, a person should have the right motive when approaching repentance. Yes, repentance ultimately brings peace, joy, and blessings, but guilty people should possess a concern for God’s honor and accurate understanding of His holiness, more than the desire to escape from their personal pain and regret.

Examination and Confession

Repentance also requires personal examination and confession. People should identify where and when they have gone wrong, and be willing to confess their wrongs before God so that He can work with them to correct their ways.

This is easier said than done, as we are often too ashamed to admit our wrongs, or too self-reliant to turn to God, but if a person is truly sincere in their prayer and confession, God has infinite mercy, grace, and compassion to grant us forgiveness.

Confession is also essential because it opens up the spiritual gate that was previously been closed. People cannot receive God’s blessings or have a clear relationship with Him if they don’t confess their sins. Above all, confession helps us to receive God’s forgiveness and helps us to cement our trust in Him, in order to have a fulfilling, meaningful relationship that lasts a lifetime.

The Purpose of Repentance

The purpose of repentance is to realign us with God, to give us life and peace which we can only attain when we align ourselves with His ways. With the spirit of repentance, a person is changed from being middle-minded to being deeply rooted in the Lord, from being passive to doing all actions for God’s glory, and from being rebellious to cherishing a good relationship with God.

With repentance through Jesus, we become deeply connected to Him, receive His grace and obey His commandments, and consciously accept the consequences of a life without sin. With repentance comes the hope of a transformed life, and the hope is that this transformation will one day lead to eternal life with God.

Walking in Repentance

Walking in repentance does not always come naturally; it requires a conscious effort to keep striving for a life that is pleasing to God. It means avoiding things that are contrary to God’s ways, adopting good habits that ingrain in us the good and abolishing those that promote bad behavior.

This might mean making daily choices, like being mindful of personal relationships, or being aware of our attitudes towards people in difficult situations, or abstaining from certain behaviors like watching certain TV shows, or engaging in gossip or using certain language. It’s important to also accompany these changes with prayer and meditation on the Scriptures, to further clarify God’s will and keep it alive in our hearts and minds.

Ultimately, true repentance involves turning away from our sin and turning towards God and it is only through a relationship with Him can true repentance take hold and be effective in a person’s life. It is only with sincere repentance and a true desire to pursue communion with God can one start to move in a new direction, and make a transformed life possible with the help and grace of God.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

Leave a Comment