*this article is in response to a question received from our website. 

The phrase “repent of your sins” from our website, I admit is a bit simplistic.  To truly understand what God requires of us when it comes to repenting, there is some groundwork to lay.  First lets notice what the Bible says about repenting.  The word is used 37 times in the Old and New Testament.  In the Old Testament repentance is generally used in the Prophet’s writing in relation to the people turning away from idolatry and returning to faithfulness with God.  In the New testament repentance is used in a similar way: i.e. turning from a sinful lifestyle and back unto God.  An example of this is Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  

For a more practical definition of what it means to repent read Matthew 21:28-31. “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father?”  This text is from the KJV.  In the NKJV the word “repent” in verse 29 is changed to “regret”.  So literally if we are commanded to “repent” and we use this parable to define what it means to repent, we are told to change our mind about what we have done (in rebellion to God), and then change our actions (do what God has commanded of us).  

So when one says to need to repent of your sins to be pleasing to God, we are really saying you need to think differently about your sinful choices, and then reflect that change of thinking in your actions.  

Acts 17:30-31, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”