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I previously asked this question: Is the Holy Spirit a necessary presupposition for repentance?

What became apparent from that question, however, is that there are many opinions or views on what "repentance" exactly means. So we need find out:

  1. What is repentance?
  2. What are the various types of repentance?

Here are what I can come up with, but feel free to correct me or provide your own definitions.

  1. Repentance as a Non-Believer/Separated from God

    To declare a new-found faith in God, confess sins, express genuine remorse, seek God's forgiveness, and commit to transforming one's life according to God's will.

    • Example: A person who has lived without faith comes to believe in God, acknowledges their past wrongdoings, asks for divine forgiveness, and begins to live in accordance with biblical teachings.

    • Biblical Example: The Sinful Woman Anointing Jesus' Feet (Luke 7:36-50)

      A sinful woman, known in the city, comes to Jesus, weeps at his feet, anoints them with perfume, and wipes them with her hair. Jesus acknowledges her many sins and forgives her, indicating her repentance and sorrow.

  2. Repentance as a Believer with the Holy Spirit

    To be convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, confess it, express sincere remorse, seek forgiveness, and cease the sinful behavior, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen the transformation.

    • Example: A believer feels the Holy Spirit's conviction about a specific wrongdoing, confesses it, feels deep sorrow, asks for forgiveness, and relies on the Holy Spirit to overcome the sin.

    • Biblical Example: Peter's Repentance After Denying Jesus (Luke 22:54-62)

      Peter, a believer and a disciple of Jesus, is convicted by the Holy Spirit after he denies Jesus three times. He remembers Jesus' prediction, feels deep remorse, and weeps bitterly. Peter's repentance leads to a transformation guided by the Holy Spirit, ultimately strengthening his faith and resolve to follow Jesus more faithfully.

  3. Repentance as a Believer on One's Own Initiative

    To personally recognize a sin, confess it to God, show genuine remorse, ask for forgiveness, and make a conscious effort to stop the sinful behavior, seeking God's help and strength.

    • Example: A believer realizes they have sinned, confesses it privately to God, feels deep regret, asks for forgiveness, and takes deliberate steps to avoid repeating the sin.

    • Biblical Example: The Conversion of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

      The prodigal son recognizes his sinful ways after leaving his father and squandering his inheritance. He declares his newfound resolve to return to his father, confesses his sins, expresses genuine remorse, and seeks forgiveness. Upon his return, he is welcomed and forgiven by his father, symbolizing the transformation of his life under God's will.

Other Notes:

  1. Repentance is not forgiveness! Humans repent; God forgives and convicts.

  2. For each of the provided definitions above, is there another word than "repentance" whose meaning has a better fit with the definition?

  3. To repent all sins (particularly those that one is usually not aware of), conviction of the Holy Spirit is necessary.

  4. In my opinion, repentance after receiving the Holy Spirit is still necessary. The Holy Spirit does not prevent you from sinning and you can still leave God.

  5. I don't mind opinions and definitions from other denominations. While reaching consensus is difficult, we still can learn from other denominations. The accepted answer will be the one that has the most precise and the most biblically well-founded definitions.

My question: Are my definitions accurate? What other definitions of the word "repentance" are there and how valid are they?

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  • 1
    And yet we need simple definitions to know what we are talking about. Otherwise, asking questions will always result in everyone not being able to use specific words in their answers/discussions because there is no simple definition one can use. I get that definitions are difficult, but I don't know a better place to discuss a definition. Is Wikipedia better? Or some book that only a handful will read, of which 50% disagree with the book? Where would you put such a discussion that does not trivialize the subject?
    – telion
    Commented May 24 at 23:12
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    I think the question is clear and by no means should be closed. However I do feel we have just raised and answered the same essential question haha I have enjoyed the question as it made me clarify my own assumptions that I thought were obvious and yet I had no sufficient ready answers from scripture in my own mind when I first read it. These are the questions I value the most!
    – Mike
    Commented May 25 at 2:21
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    @telion I think reviewing this Wikipedia article Repentance in Christianity will give you not only the Biblical original meanings in both OT and NT, but also theological nuances according to various denominations. I think that's a good way to process various definitions so you can THEN identify the common element ("turning away from sin") and the secondary elements (including the famous metanoia when one comes to faith). If I were to write an answer, I would use this approach. Commented May 25 at 4:31
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    @telion You've added a looot of additional features to your descriptions of repentance. The simple meaning is "a change of mind." The main questions are "from what?" and "to what?" I'd argue that 'repentance from all your sins' is nowhere taught as a requirement for salvation, except insofar as unbelief is sin. And I don't understand 'confession' to mean "listing out all your sins so you can repent from them."
    – Jed Schaaf
    Commented May 25 at 10:36
  • 1
    Where did those definitions come from? The first one is clearly wrong (or at least inadequate): non-believers can and often do repent, but totally without any involvement with God or faith. Commented May 25 at 12:03

5 Answers 5

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I am quoting from the book 'The Beginning of the Gospel' Belmont Publications.


The Meaning of Repentance

The Greek word commonly translated repentance in the AV is metanoia. Meta means change. Noia means mind. But this is not what we casually refer to as a “change of mind”. What is usually meant by that is, actually, a change of opinion or, even more superficially, a change of decision. To change one’s opinions is not to repent. The superstitious barbarians on the island of Melita, Acts 28:2, first thought that Paul was a murderer when a snake bit him.

They had a superstitious opinion, unfounded on proper evidence. However they then changed their opinion when Paul remained unharmed and, again superstitiously - and now idolatrously - thought he was a god. The AV reads that they ‘changed their mind’, Acts 28:6. But this is a bad translation. The word here is metaballo, not metanoia. Metaballo is to ‘change cast’. As though, when one has an opinion about a person or an event or a scenario, one casts a net over it to encapsulate it, label it and store it in the memory as a particular thing. If circumstances change one’s opinion about that matter, one changes the cast, one casts again - a different ‘net’ - and one’s mind retains another view of that which the eyes see.

The mind is the same, unchanged. It is changed circumstances that have caused one to cast, from the mind, another net over a visible scene, that catches it up and retains its memory as an item of a certain character.

‘Pigeon-holing’, as we call it. Capturing what we see and hear, and retaining the memory in a labelled area in our mind. Then re-capturing it to place it in another ‘pigeon-hole’. Information storage and retrieval, as it might be termed. But metaballo is not repentance. Metaballo is just a change of opinion by the same, unchanged mind. The mind may retrieve many things, sort them out, re-label them and replace them in different areas. But repentance is something else altogether.

It is comparatively easy to change one’s religious opinions. But that is not what repentance means. With changed opinions may come a change in circumstances and a change of company. That is still not what repentance means.

Repentance is to have the mind itself changed, not merely its contents. Repentance is to have a different mind, with a different way of working. The beginning of the gospel is the changed mind which results from the ministry of a preparative messenger. A changed mind is suited to an honest and good heart. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, saith the Lord, Hebrews 8:10. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers. They continued not in my covenant - that is, the first covenant, the legal covenant made with natural man - and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

No, this is the covenant that the Lord makes with the house of Israel - that is the true seed, not natural Israel after the flesh - I will put my laws into their mind, dianoia, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people.

When God gives a man a new mind, in which he writes his laws; and a new heart, in which he also writes his laws; then, in such a condition, after such a baptism, is a man ready to receive the messenger of the covenant.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned, I Corinthians 2:14. Paul could not speak to the Corinthian church, at a certain time, as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. He could only speak of carnal things to them.

Just as he speaks to the Galatian churches, I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you, Galatians 4:19. And as the writer to the Hebrews in chapter six and verse one, Leaving the principles, archon, of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on…..

The ministry of John the Baptist, the preparative messenger, is a ministry that prepares the heart and mind for the coming of Christ to the soul, as conveyed in the gospel. It, itself, does not convey Christ. It prepares for that event. And if the preparation is not received, nor will Christ be received. Witness the first of Jesus’ parables in Mark, of the which he, himself states, Mark 4:13, Know ye not this parable ? And how then will ye know all parables ?

The Beginning of the Gospel ; Nigel Johnstone ; Belmont Publications p43-45


The entire book is available, free of charge on my website (see my profile). There is no charge to download the PDF and no requirement to register.

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  • In essence, then, repentance is a paradigm shift.
    – Jed Schaaf
    Commented May 25 at 10:07
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    I don't see how those are quite relevant to explaining what repentance is, unless you're taking a very mystical approach, which I think would require a lot more explanation than a simple, straight definition. Also, "camels become men"? I don't see that in Genesis 25 at all. Wrangling ten camels isn't a solo job; the servant must have brought other men with him. And did they turn back into camels so that Rebekah could ride and then jump down off of one? (Gen. 25:64)
    – Jed Schaaf
    Commented May 25 at 12:35
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    Where does it say "eleven" men? Two or three could have managed, though there were likely at least a few more to help guard the train. It's not so remarkable, just normal hospitality; foot-washing used to be a common practice, to keep the mud and filth from the road/outdoors from being tracked all over inside the house.
    – Jed Schaaf
    Commented May 25 at 12:53
  • "Ten men (camels . . . . . .) and the servant. Eleven.". You conclude that there were ten men because there were ten camels, and you conclude that the ten camels turned into men because there were ten men. Unless I'm missing something obvious, that's circular reasoning, begging the question. Where is this whole shape-shifting concept coming from, and how does it relate to repentance? Commented May 26 at 2:30
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    It's important to notice the meaning of the Hebrew word for 'camel'. And the Hebrew word for 'baby'. And to notice where the camels came from in the first place. And the difference between 'asses' and 'she-asses'. And what Rebekah does when she sees Isaac. It's all there to be noticed. It's a wonderful story.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 26 at 4:03
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Any consideration of repentance that asserts mere human moral ability apart from the ongoing grace through faith in the gospel by the enlightenment and enablement of the Spirit, needs to be repented of (John 3:6, Rom 8:17).

Repentance has only ONE meaning in scripture: the negative implication implied by the positive act of turning by faith to Christ, that is, the turning away from a life of unbelief. (When applied to a believer, this is a turning away by faith from a specific area of unbelief in a heart that is already generally believing.) When viewed from our starting position, repentance can be descriptively positioned before faith in the transfer, but when viewed from its nature and in the grand sequence from God, faith always precedes repentance. There is no repentance but that which is based on faith, drawing a person to Christ. John 6:44:

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him

Being drawn to him necessarily implies turning away from something else. Definitions #1, #2, and #3 in the OP all have the same nature as #1. Look up the word "repentance" in the New Testament and we will find that the word almost always refers exclusively to the initial conversion (Matt 9:13, Luke 15:7,10, Acts 11:18, 2 Pet 3:9, etc, etc). There are a couple of places where the word "repent" uses the more abstract / general sense: merely being mournful for sin or regretting past choice, but it is rare. In this general sense, even Judas or the devil can regret and mourn, thus not able to "repent" in the Evangelical sense because it is done without faith.

To repent without faith is simply sin. It is wicked to turn away from sin to something else, unless it is to the Good and done with firm conviction, like the prodigal son to his father (Rom 14:23). The prodigal son was moved by the Spirit to "recall the goodness and riches of his father"; otherwise, repentance would be impossible.

To receive Christ is first and foremost the denial of our own righteousness, for Jesus did not come to heal the healthy but the sick. To reject Christ is primarily to assert one's own righteousness. For what good is it to recognize the Trinity and to recognize that Jesus is both God and Man unless he was born of a virgin birth in order to be sacrificed to make atonement for sinners? When we reject Jesus we reject the Son in his ministry. The Pharisees often repented when they did not meet their own twisted views of how they ought to live (i.e. their mere natural understanding of how they did not keep the moral law) but their assertion of their own righteousness is precisely why they killed Christ. They even wanted the disciples to repent from what they thought was sin, while rejecting Christ. The essential denial of oneself by picking up our cross IS the absolute denial of our own righteousness and our ability to obey God.

Confession of sin and repentance is best illustrated on the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16:21:

21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins.

Confession and repentance happen when we put our hands on the goat. All other forms of repentance are a rejection of that goat. (When looking at it from a believer's point of view, a rejection of Christ in some particular area of our life is still caused by some measure of unbelief, even though on the whole the believer has received Christ. All Christians have received Christ as Lord, no matter how small their faith.)

"Repentance" is not repentance of outward sins. No act in the physical world can pollute a person, only unbelief can. No good act in the physical world can make a person righteous. Only faith can justify a person. Repentance is our consent in being turned away from wicked desires, not mere outward manifestation of those desires. A person can’t change their desires, this is the peculiar work of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:17, Ezekiel 36:26). The Bible does not say that we should not satisfy the desires of the flesh in order to satisfy the desires of the Spirit. Instead, we should put to death the desires of the flesh "by the Spirit". The order must not be reversed by unbelief and by self assertion.

Although "repentance" usually means our initial conversion, the concept is extended to believers with its nature unchanged. Believers are "always repenting" in that they are always resisting the flesh by the Spirit. Sometimes this is a more determined resolution of the conscious mind. We are "always confessing" in that we are always groaning inwardly to be released from the body of sin. Sometimes this confession is a more determined admission of the conscious mind. We are always being cleansed because we walk in the light by faith in the gospel, proclaiming the ongoing forgiveness of our sins. Sometimes this relief and comfort can be attributed to a more unusual revelation to the mind and to a joyful conscience.

Both negative and positive emotions are present with the repentance of faith. Sometimes the mourning, heartbreaking wretchedness of the realization of our sin and loss may be highlighted, and sometimes the indescribable joy of the corresponding salvation may be considered. However these two may be a mere nanosecond apart, essentially overlapping one another, hence we experience both sorrow and joy together at a heightened level. Fleshly minds make a big deal of and almost consider exclusively the negative aspect. The carnal minds may even imagine sorrow to be meritorious! When we read church history, there was even a practice of shameless self-punishment as a partial means of atonement. However, in the Bible, Jesus described it as a man finding a great treasure and "in great joy" he went and sold all that he had to buy the field (Mark 13:44). Of course there was sorrow as he considered the waste of all his previous investments but as he turned away from everything else (repented), the glory of this newly found treasure was exceedingly great. That is why "those who mourn are immediately comforted" and "repentance without joy is wicked despair" (Matt 5:4, Isa 61:3).

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  • In Scripture, repentance isn't always turning from unbelief to faith in Christ. In the OT, the prophets frequently called the Israelites (and sometimes others) to repent from their (evil) ways or else God would justly rain destruction on them. That wasn't a turn to Christ, per se. And God is sometimes said to repent from punishing someone who turned back to Him.
    – Jed Schaaf
    Commented May 25 at 12:45
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    @JedSchaaf - I agree. In the Old Testament there was some genuine evangelical repentance, in turning from unbelief and its associated sins to faith in the promise . However, God also treated Israel in a special manner under the theocracy where the relationship could at times be only a symbolic act to display the analogy of faith to us. In rare cases repentance can even be a word used more abstractly, not related to salvation at all. Where it is related to creating anything good in us in Christ - that is always turning from unbelief to faith in him.
    – Mike
    Commented May 25 at 13:46
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    @Mike Thank you very much for clarifying (what I think is) the Evangelical Reformed understanding of the tight and exclusive connection of "repentance" to "faith in Jesus" while eliminating any "self assertion" when reflecting on the many aspects of how a believer process their feelings and their doings surrounding repentance. I hope my extensive edit served only to make your thesis even clearer & more readable as I tried hard to preserve all the nuances you try to communicate by alternate wordings and stylistic improvements. WELCOME BACK to C.SE ! I've been reading and +1 many of your posts. Commented May 25 at 14:16
  • @GratefulDisciple - yes you did a fine job and thank you for the kind words.
    – Mike
    Commented May 25 at 14:38
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Repentance means "change of mind".

lit., "to perceive afterwards" (meta, "after," implying "change," noeo, "to perceive;" nous, "the mind, the seat of moral reflection"), VINES

to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction):—repent. Thayer's

in its fullest sense it is a term for a complete change of orientation involving a judgment upon the past and a deliberate redirection for the future. Eerdman's

So, how is this applied?

And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mt. 3:2

Change your mind about what? How to get into heaven, be saved, be in the righteousness of God.

In the Old Testament, it required a person to do the impossible.

And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us. Deut 6:25

After all that time, repent. You can't do it, but standing here is the One who can do it for you.

For Gentiles, it's the same message.

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30

You can't save yourself.

Only Christianity, in its purest form, says, Jesus Christ paid the price for all your sins, past, present, future. Repent-from thinking you can do it to humbling yourself in submission to the only One who can.

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  • Simple, clear, all encompassing. +1 Commented May 26 at 13:01
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In the question you asked previously, Is the Holy Spirit a necessary presupposition for repentance? my answer explained why only a biblical grasp of God's view of sin will enable a person to so repent that God will accept that as meeting his requirement for repentance that brings salvation. That is because the human idea of sin is not God's idea of sin. Likewise, the human idea of repentance is not God's view of repentance.

This means that the Bible boils it all down to two types of repentance. The human one is stated in 2 Corinthians 7:11 where Paul contrasts godly sorrow that works salvation unto repentance, with "the sorrow of the world [which] worketh death." Vs. 9 speaks of the believers having been made sorry to the point of repenting before God, "in a godly manner".

God's is stated in Acts chapter 11, where the Holy Spirit caused Peter to visit a Gentile household. He explained the gospel of Christ to them, which they believed (vs. 17). Proof of that was the Holy Spirit "falling on them" and then comes vs. 18 where it is declared that "God has also granted repentance unto life" to those Gentiles.

Worldly attempts to deal with the sorrow of a troubled conscience leads to death.

God deals with the sorrow of a troubled conscience by granting repentance to life.

This is as simple an answer as is possible. It is deliberately simple because all the clutter of human thinking has to be swept aside for God's word to 'speak' to us. The clarion call of Christianity is to consider Christ; to proclaim the gospel of Christ (Mark 1:1 & Ephesians 1:12-14); that is when the horror of sin begins to dawn (a work of Holy Spirit conviction) leading to repenting of that sin before God. And, as Acts 11:18 states, it is God who grants repentance unto life.

What leads to confusion about this matter can be very simply explained. It is always due to the gospel of Christ being distorted one way or another. As said here:

"False gospels, partial gospels, other gospels, always begin and end with man. And they always degenerate over time. Because with man-centered false or partial gospels the appeal is always to self-interest at the expense of divine truth. But the gospel of Christ declares the righteousness of God." Justification by Faith, John Metcalfe, p. 31, 1987, http://www.johnmetcalfepublishingtrust.co.uk/contact_us.htm

People keep going all round the houses when the need is to cut to the chase. What does God say in his word abut repentance? I suggest that Acts 11:17-18 is the most basic and essential truth that should be our starting point. Get that clear, know what the true gospel of Christ is as stated in the Bible, and respond to that in faith. God will grant repentance unto salvation.

Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. [Acts 11:17-18 KJV]

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  • I have read your answer a few times now but the main point I got was that there is human repentance and repentance from God. But I still fail to see what repentance actually is, based on your answer. Acts 11:17-18 basically says that God grants repentance to all people/nations, 2 Corinthians 7:10 basically says that " godly grief" is needed for true repentance. But if you use the word repentance I am still not sure what you exactly mean. Also, do you think that the bible uses repentance with varied meanings? Still an interesting answer, thank you.
    – telion
    Commented May 25 at 17:57
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    @telion This and my previous answer seek to show that it is repentance from sin that is required by God, and that it is deep regret - nay, abhorrance - of our sin that so agitates us that we turn to Christ to have our sin 'dealt with' by God. That is what repentance is all about. Confessing our sinful state to God and, because of what Jesus has done, seeking God's pardon. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. I'm dealing with the initial act, not subsequent repentance, as that scope is too massive for here.
    – Anne
    Commented May 25 at 18:31
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It has accurately been established that the word "repent" literally means to change one's mind or one's thinking. What the definition cannot mean solely is to "turn from sin". It is absolutely important to change our minds about sinning but remember that even God Himself "repented" and He is not capable of sin (Genesis 6:6-7, Exodus 32:12-14, Judges 2:18, 1 Samuel 15:11, 1 Samuel 15:35, 2 Samuel 24:16, Psalm 106:45, Psalm 135:14, Amos 7:3-6, Jonah 3:10).

Israel's error was rejecting Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Peter's message to "ye men of Israel" was to "repent" about who Jesus Christ was, even after Israel had Him crucified. Their promised earthly kingdom of heaven was still at hand if Peter and the eleven could convince Israel of who Christ was, their Messiah. Their post-cross sins would be forgiven at Christ's second coming to earth to establish Israel's kingdom at the "times of refreshing".

Acts 1:6

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Acts 3:12-21

And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. 17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

Christ ascended in glory made manifest to Paul (Romans 16:26, Ephesians 3:9, Galatians 1:11-12) what the mysteries of Christ's death (His shed blood for the forgiveness of sin), burial, and resurrection mean for the world today. Everyone living, since Christ's ascension, has been offered the free unmerited gift of salvation by God's grace through having faith in Christ and what He completed for us on the cross, and without having to first wait for Israel to receive their promised earthly kingdom of priests to the world.

Romans 11:11

I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

The basic repentance that Paul speaks of for us all is to realize that we are sinners by nature and in need of God's help to free us from the carnal entrapment of sin that we dwell in and come to the knowledge of the truth in Christ.

1 Timothy 2:3-7

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

2 Timothy 2:24-25

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

What is the truth that we are to acknowledge? What is the foundation that we should all, regardless of denominational origin, should build upon?

Ephesians 1:12-13

That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Colossians 1:5

For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

1 Thessalonians 2:13

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Romans 1:5

By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

Romans 16:26

But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

It is first having faith before we are capable of pleasing God. Believing the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation, is where our new spiritual life in Christ begins. It then does not begin by us first "turning from sin".

What then is the relationship between our sins and salvation?

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Romans 5:8

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Corinthians 5:19

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Colossians 1:14

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Romans 3:25

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

We learn through Paul that the relationship between our sins and salvation is our faith (believing) that God forgave us of all of our sins through Christ's shed blood, burial, and resurrection, and nothing of ourselves. This is when salvation occurs; believing that we were forgiven at the cross. The repentance that post-ascension believers are compelled by Paul to change from is the belief (or faith) that any of our own religious works of self-righteousness will add to what God has already completed on our behalf through Jesus Christ. We are complete in and by Him upon having placed ALL of our faith in Him and His finished work for us:

Colossians 2:6-10

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

The righteousness of God is imputed to us upon having placed this faith in Christ. We strive to walk in righteousness from this truth. We do not walk in righteousness to earn our salvation. It is our faith in Christ's righteousness for us that God approves of and how we are made "the righteousness of God in Him".

Romans 4:1-8

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Romans 10:3

For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Phillipians 3:3-10

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

If the moderators will allow this hypothetical question to better visualize repentance for all today, which has nothing to do with any denominations of man, but everything to do with the foundation that all Christian believers are to build upon:

What would be your case to God for Him granting you eternal salvation?

Would you claim that you were a "good" person on earth? Would you remind Him of all the religious doctrines that you followed and obeyed in order to achieve righteousness for Him? Would you tell Him that you "turned from your sins", or that you always asked Him for forgiveness when you were sometimes weak? Would you stress that you followed the earthly ministry of Christ for Him? Would He agree?

I would ask you to repent of this mindset and rather consider this:

Thank God today for what He did FOR YOU, by forgiving you of your sins through Jesus Christ's shed blood on the cross and gifting your eternal salvation through mere belief, and that He did this all by His grace and out of His love.

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

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