How to Repent of Your Sins

I believe everyone has seen at least one cartoon depicting a city street corner with a straggly-haired person in a monk’s habit, holding a sign stating, “Repent, the End is Near.” They are usually portrayed as a kind of crazy person publicly announcing what no one else accepts as true. They get no respect and are looked upon as just some crackpot that is out of step with reality.

Most don’t realize that such cartoons, although expressed in a humorous way, are really mocking John the Baptist, when he proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near,” (Matthew 3:2, NRSV).1 And Jesus said the same thing a little later, after John the Baptist was arrested. That is when our Lord started his own ministry (Matthew 4:17).

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I wonder if that cartoon is how people looked upon Noah, as he spent years building an ark because God told him the end of the age was near, that life on earth was going to pass away by flooding. Well, folks, according to God’s word, the end of another age (the Age of Grace) is upon us and the vast majority of people do not recognize this fact. The coming end won’t be by flood but by fire, and that time is indeed very near.

To be saved we don’t need to build some sort of ark, but only believe that Jesus Christ is the promised Savior the Bible has predicted, and that we must repent of our sins and live by the instructions our Lord preached.


What is Sin and what does Repent mean?

by Ron Leishman / used by ‘fair use’ copyright for teaching

Although the Holy Bible describes sin as a transgression against the divine law of God, throughout the ages it has been assumed that any breach of immoral, selfish, shameful, harmful, or illegal acts is sinful. The Bible says sin is lawlessness: “Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness,” (1 John 3:4). So, when we perform an action against someone — or against society in general — or perform in a way against established biblical law, that is considered immorality and is termed a sin. And to claim you are a Christian, you must repent for any sins.

We are all aware that sin can overtake us at any time, so we must always be on the defensive. Consider the Genesis event when Cain’s offering to God was rejected but his brother Abel’s gift was accepted. God said to Cain, “if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it,” (Genesis 4:7). He was giving Cain a warning; he was giving him a chance to correct his ways before allowing his jealousy and anger to influence his thoughts and actions.2

We all know how that turned out; instead of repenting, Cain murdered Abel. So acting in an irrational way can lead to destruction — both for us and for others. If you are presented with a situation of right and wrong, generally choosing right will bring you a reward, while choosing wrong will bring you punishment. Fully obeying God will keep sin under control.3

‘Repent’ and ‘repentance’ are words used in this world as terms indicating a change in behavior, but it is most used as a religious term and there is a particular method to the process. In all the Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — repentance typically requires the following: (1) an admission of guilt for committing a wrong or for omitting to do the right thing, (2) a confession of this sin to God and making a promise that you resolve not to repeat the offense, and (3) an attempt to make restitution, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong, or the omission, if it is possible.4

If you stop sinning, but do not go through those steps mentioned, then you are not repenting. For instance, if your sin did not produce the results you wanted and your actions were exposed, you may decide to not do it again. So if one makes any correction only to avoid getting caught, there is no godly sorrow for sin.

True repentance isn’t figuring out how to successfully accomplish a sinful act, but is a deep-seated realization that we were wrong in wanting to do what we did. The only proper solution is sincerely turning away from such actions by changing our mind, heart, and actions to please God. To do the right thing is to be spiritually tuned-in to everything we do.

If we ever have an odd feeling deep within us (unusual perception, vague feeling of guilt, etc.) when we do something wrong or even think of doing so, that gut feeling may be a spiritual message from our Lord. It could be an inward response to a sin of which we are thinking. How can that be true? Scientific studies show that people who generally have a more intuitive process in problem solving tend to believe in God, whereas those who theorize over their choices don’t. Having faith and believing in God could be because our intuitions lead us to see a divine purpose behind ordinary events that don’t have obvious causes.5

When Jesus preached of the kingdom of God, he taught that repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin: by repentance, one turns away from sin; by faith, one turns toward God in accepting the Lord Jesus Christ. This twofold turning, or conversion, is necessary for entrance into the new kingdom.6 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 18:3).

These intuitive feelings, sometimes called ‘gut feelings’, could very well be God’s Holy Spirit empowering your decision making process. Being spiritually in-tune with God can be enhanced through faith, practice, and maturity. For more on this particular subject, see the link to another article on this website. “Is that Gut Feeling a Message from God?” is listed in References & Notes.7

But if you are a new Christian, or you just haven’t been a serious follower of our Lord Jesus, you may not yet be experiencing this closer relationship, so what do you do? Well, studying the Bible closer is a good start, and if you repent of any sins that are now apparent, you will be well on the way to perfecting your spiritual abilities, and saving your life too. Eventually a newcomer will understand that a change of mind leads to a change of action. This will involve a sincere turning away from evil to serve God and that includes sorrow for, and confession of sin, and — if possible — restitution.8

Common dictionaries suggest repentance is simply regret for sin or wrongdoing.9 However, that is not a satisfactory explanation for the meaning in religious contexts. For religion, the linguistic context of ‘repentance’ is to review one’s actions and feel shame, sorrow, or regret for something one has done or omitted to do. It is to acknowledge the sinfulness of one’s past action or conduct, by showing sincere remorse and undertaking earnest and conscientious efforts to reform in the future.10

For a Christian, to repent is to change how we live. It will change how we think, talk, feel, and act about something. More than just a mental thought, it is a decisive change in moral direction which leads to a change of values.11

And even within religious contexts, the concept of repentance differed slightly in ancient times between the Hebrew and Greek minds, but the emphasis was always upon consistent righteous behavior. While no Hebrew word is an exact equivalent for the English term ‘repentance’,12 this minor difference can be noticed within the old and new testaments.

In the older Hebrew scriptures, repentance was mostly directed to the whole nation of God’s people, but there can be found some reference to New Testament events too. For instance, certain verses in Ezekiel are known as the “new heart and new soul” texts (Ezekiel 11:14-21; 18:30-32; 36:23-38) which are attentive to the undertones referenced from Exodus traditions. That reference is to a ‘second exodus’ yet to occur, a prophecy pointing to the Messianic salvation at the end of the this current Age of Grace.13

In the newer Greek scriptures, it is repentance of the individual who is in focus.14 In fact, the New Testament focuses upon repentance as one of its main teachings, as these Greek scriptures begin (Matthew 3:2) and end (Revelation 3:19) with a summons to repentance.15 And the important points of the process are: (1) the dying-away of the old self and the coming to life of the new, and (2) to be genuinely sorry for sin — to hate it and run away from it.16

We are in the time of the final decision making process, before this age ends and the current evil civilization is destroyed. I pray that many will make it into the new age, when righteousness will be the standard social norm. Our Lord has delayed the coming earth cleansing, so as to save as many as possible; he is giving everyone enough time to repent and turn to him.

I urge everyone reading this article to repent of your sins, privately confess them to our Lord in seclusion, and turn your heart and mind toward Godly living. Encourage your loved ones and friends to do the same, so they will make it into the new Millennial Age with you. I know not everyone will accept your message; most in my extended family have not done so either. Don’t be discouraged for even our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, had the same family problem. Originally, Jesus’ family was skeptical of his ministry: “Not even his brothers believed in him,” (John 7:3).17 So, if at first you are rejected, you still stand in very good company.



In the Bible, repentance refers to a deeply seated and thorough turning from pleasing our self to pleasing God as the most important reason for our existence. It is a call to absolute surrender and living for him, not ourselves; it is required for everyone. Jesus said, “I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish,” (Luke 13:3). Repentance causes great joy, not only in our self and our Lord, but to all creatures in heaven. Jesus said, “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance,” (Luke 15:7).18

Sometimes repentance is easy, other times not so easy. But one thing is certain, humankind’s destiny (and duty) is to be with God as God is with us, and it is within the power of every human to redeem itself from sin by resolutely breaking away from it. You can be assured that God’s loving kindness is always extended to the returning sinner.19 God desires us to conduct our lives in a way pleasing to him, but he won’t force us to do so — we must make that choice by exercising our own free will. The need for repentance in Jesus’ message is the inner change that gives rise to new God-centered, Christ-exalting character traits.20

Someone once asked me if reputation and character are just different words for the same thing and I replied by quoting Thomas Paine, an American Founding Father (1737–1809). He said, “Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”

What he was implying is that “reputation is a concept that occupies a significant place in our daily lives. It encompasses what others perceive and think of us — that image we project to the world. On the other hand, character delves deep into the essence of whom we truly are, untouched by the opinions of men and women.”21 I figure that reputation may not help build your character, but proper character will definitely improve your reputation.

Until God’s chosen people enter into their new home on a renewed earth under the righteous rule of Jesus Christ, we continue longing, preaching, and anticipating as we try to awaken those we love to the ending of this Age of Grace. With those thoughts in mind, the music video chosen to accompany this article is “Soon and Very Soon” performed by American soul singer Chris Blue. This young man’s performance includes vocal hints similar to the old-time, foot-stomping, and gospel preaching of the American southern states. Selected lyrics are below and a link to the music video is listed in References & Notes.22

Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King.
Should there be any rivers we must cross,
Should there be any mountains we must climb,
God will supply all the strength we need,
Until we reach the other side.

No more dying there, no more crying there,
No more sinning, no more saying goodbye there.
Jesus shed his blood and washed our sins away,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Soon and very soon,
We’re going to see the King.

Copyright © 2024, Dr. Ray Hermann

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References & Notes

  1. All scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989). Used by permission.
  2. Hermann, Ray, “A Bible Murder Mystery: Genesis 4 — The Story of Cain and Abel”, (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 1 September 2019),
  3. Ibid.
  4. “Repentance” (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 May 2024),
  5. Pappas, Stephanie, “Belief in God Boils Down to a Gut Feeling,” (Live Science, September 21, 2011),
  6. Youngblood, Ronald, et al. (Eds.), Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995).
  7. Hermann, Ray, “Is that Gut Feeling a Message from God?” (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 21 October 2018),
  8. Manser, Martin. H., Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies, (London: Martin Manser, 2009).
  9. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).
  10. Unterman, Jermiah, Justice for All, (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2017), p. 109.
  11. “What is Repentance? How Do We Repent?” (Christianity, 19 June 2023),
  12. Kennedy, B., “Repentance” in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, (Ed.) J. D. Barry, et al., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
  13. Strine, C. A., “The Role of Repentance in the Book of Ezekiel: A Second Chance for the Second Generation”, (The Journal of Theological Studies, October 2012), vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 467-491. Also see,
  14. Morgan, W., “REPENT, REPENTANCE,” in A Dictionary of the Bible: Dealing with Its Language, Literature, and Contents Including the Biblical Theology, (Ed.) J. Hastings, et al., (New York; Edinburgh: Charles Scribner’s Sons; T. & T. Clark, 1911–1912), vol. 4, p. 226.
  15. Hoekema, Anthony A., Saved by Grace, (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994), p. 121.
  16. Brannan, Rick, Historic Creeds and Confessions, (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2001), chapter: “Heidelberg Catechism”, Q88, Q89.
  17. “What Happened to Jesus’ Brothers?” (Christianity Today, retrieved 5 June 2024),
  18. Palmer, C., “Repentance,” in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (Ed.) C. Brand, et al., (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), p. 1375.
  19. Singer, I. (Ed.), The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, (New York; London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1901–1906), vol. 10, p. 376.
  20. Piper, John, “Thoughts on Jesus’s Demand to Repent”, (Desiring God, 19 April 2006),
  21. “Thomas Paine Quote Interpretation”, (The Socratic Method, retrieved 4 June 2024),
  22. “Soon and Very Soon”, Artist: Chris Blue; CD/DVD: The Hymns of My Heart, 2023; recorded live at Gaither Studios, Alexandria, IN; (© 2023 Gaither Music Group, LLC). Used under ‘fair use copyright’ for teaching under Section 107 of United States Copyright Act of 1976 – MUSIC VIDEO:
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