What Is True Repentance?

true repentance

It’s recorded in the Old Testament when the Ninevites learned that God had decided to bring down disaster to destroy the city of Nineveh, they truly confessed their sins and repented to God, and thus received God’s mercy and tolerance—God no longer destroyed the city and they survived. Nowadays, the various manifestations of people’s evil, depravity, and resistance to God are worse than those of the Ninevites before repentance. All kinds of disasters are now warning us to hurry to come to God and truly repent as the Ninevites did. Only thus can we win God’s mercy and tolerance. Then, what is true repentance?

God says, “The reason why God’s decision—to spare the Ninevites from catastrophe—was so swift is that God observed the heart of every person of Nineveh. He saw what they held deep within their hearts: their sincere repentance and confession for their sins, their sincere belief in Him, their deep sense of how their wicked acts had enraged His disposition, and the resulting fear of Jehovah God’s impending punishment. At the same time, Jehovah God also heard their prayers, which came from deep within their hearts, entreating Him to no longer be angry at them, so that they might avoid this catastrophe.”

“God used His attitude to tell people the following: It is not that God does not tolerate people, or that He does not want to show mercy to them; rather, it is that they rarely truly repent to God, and it is rare that people truly turn away from their evil ways and abandon the violence in their hands. In other words, when God is angry with man, He hopes that man will be able to truly repent, and indeed He hopes to see man’s true repentance, in which case He will then liberally continue to bestow His mercy and tolerance upon man.”


“This ‘evil way’ does not refer to a handful of evil acts, but to the evil source from which people’s behavior springs. ‘Turning away from his evil way’ means that those in question will never commit these actions again. In other words, they will never again behave in this evil way; the method, source, purpose, intent and principle of their actions have all changed; they will never again use those methods and principles to bring enjoyment and happiness to their hearts. The ‘abandon’ in ‘abandon the violence in their hands’ means to lay down or to cast aside, to fully break with the past and to never turn back. When the people of Nineveh abandoned the violence in their hands, this proved and represented their true repentance. God observes people’s outward appearances as well as their hearts. When God observed the true repentance in the hearts of the Ninevites without question and also observed that they had left their evil ways and abandoned the violence in their hands, He changed His heart. This is to say that these people’s conduct and behavior and various ways of doing things, as well as their true confession and repentance of sins in their hearts, caused God to change His heart, to change His intentions, to retract His decision and not to punish or destroy them. Thus, the people of Nineveh achieved a different outcome for themselves. They redeemed their own lives and at the same time won God’s mercy and tolerance, at which point God also retracted His wrath.”

From God’s words, we see that true repentance comes from deep within one’s heart. It requires that we truly admit our sins and evil deeds are at odds with God’s will, that we understand what God’s attitude towards sin is, that we have real knowledge of the substance and harm of sins, have genuine awe and fear of God, and have real remorse and hatred for the sins from the bottom of our hearts, and that we begin to turn over a new leaf and live in accordance with God’s words.

The world is beset by disasters and the Lord’s day is upon us. The Lord Jesus said, “Repent: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). It can be seen that only those who truly repent can enter into the Kingdom of heaven. So, what’s true repentance? How can we achieve true repentance? Click here to discuss with us

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