What Does The Bible Say About Repentance? A Christian Study

by Derek Hill · Print Print · Email Email

Repentance is defined in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary as “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.”  Repentance is a choice that believers make to regret the sins that we have made and to turn away from them.  What does the Bible say about Repentance?  Is it necessary to have a repentant heart?  Let us see what God, Himself, breathed into the living Word.

Nations Who Chose To Not Repent

Matthew 11:20-24 says, “Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his (Jesus) mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.  ‘Woe to you, Chorazin!  Woe to you, Bethsaida!  For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.  And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven?  You will be brought down to Hades.  For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.  But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.’”

Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum all chose lives of sin and loved it.  They basked in their own “man-made” glories and disregarded what Christ had done in their cities.  Christ made it quite clear that if repentance is not expressed, there will be eternal death in Hades.  This doesn’t mean that someone who forgets a sin they committed and doesn’t repent one time is going to hell.  This means that someone who chooses a life of sin over a life in Christ and has no remorse or willingness to repent will suffer eternal damnation in the very place where God is not present, which is hell.

Some other verses that go along with this are:

  1. Luke13:3 – “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
  2. Jeremiah 18:11 – “Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’”
  3. Jeremiah 15:6 – “You have rejected me, declares the Lord; you keep going backward, so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you— I am weary of relenting.”

People Who Choose To Repent

Psalm 86:5 – “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”

“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.  None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live.” (Ezekiel 18:21-22)  These are literally God’s own words that He spoke to Ezekiel.  I must say that we do have such an awesome God!  Every sin you and I have ever committed are gone if we have remorse and repent of our sins.  There isn’t a “works-based” format that we must follow.  We don’t have to do any acts of service to gain God’s favor in repentance.  It is only that we acknowledge that we have done wrong and apologize to God and ask forgiveness of Him.  We have assurance that we will live eternally with our Father in heaven when we embrace a repentant heart.

Other verses that showcase God’s love in repentance are:

  1. 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  2. Acts 3:19 – “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.”
  3. Psalm 86:5 – “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”

Are There Sins Not Forgivable In Repentance?

There is one sin that is not forgivable called the “unpardonable sin” or “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”.  This can be found in Matthew 12:31-32, as it says, “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.  And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines blaspheme as “to speak of or address with irreverence.”  This occurs when God has done something in your life and you give credit to Satan instead.  God hands out His blessings plentifully, but if you attribute these blessings to have come from Satan, then you have committed the unpardonable sin.  When I was in Christian college, my professor taught on this and the whole class was wondering, “What if I have committed this sin?  How do I know if I have?”  He addressed this issue by saying to us, “The fact that you are concerned about this already shows that you haven’t.  A person who has committed this sin will never feel God drawing them to Him.  A person who has committed this sin will grow in rebellion towards God.”  So, I encourage you not to panic if you are concerned.  Your concern has done you well and you can be sure that you have not committed this sin.


Repentance is a must in every believer’s life.  Repentance is our way of apologizing and saying, “I’m sorry,” to our merciful and gracious Father in heaven.  Our God is absolutely amazing and the fact that He is willing to forgive us every single time we sin (with exception of the unpardonable sin) shows us how patient He is and just how much He absolutely loves us all!  I hope and pray that if you are struggling with telling God, “I’m sorry,” that you would let go and say it.  You never know when your last breath will happen or when Christ is coming back.  Don’t miss out on an eternity of paradise with our Father, Jesus, and fellow brothers and sisters.  God bless you in your daily walk with the Lord!


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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