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Close up of an 17th-century depiction of the 28 articles of the Augsburg Confession by Wenceslas Hollar.

Repentance is a theological term that describes a stage in Christian salvation where the believer turns away from sin. As a distinct stage in the ordo salutis its position is disputed, with some theological traditions arguing it occurs prior to faith and the Reformed theological tradition arguing it occurs after faith.[1] In Roman Catholic theology repentance is part of the larger theological concept of penance.[2] Generally in the Old Testament the term 'repentance' comes from the Hebrew word group that means "turn away from."[3] Sometimes this word group is employed to request a turning from sinful activity (Jeremiah 8:6). In the New Testament the metanoeo word group can mean remorse but is generally translated as a turning away from sin (Matthew 3:2).[4] Theologically 'repentance', the turning away from sin is linked to a corresponding turn to faith in God.[5]

Repentance is acknowledging that you have done something wrong, and you are remorseful about it. Accepting that you have committed a sin and you are willing to confess and hope for forgiveness from God. According to Christianity in order to obtain salvation you must first repent from your sin.[6]. Jesus began to preach saying, "repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mathew 4:17). Jesus is believed to be the son of God according to Christianity[7]. Jesus preached repentance to the people of Israel, encouraging them to turn away from sin for the Kingdom of God is near. The kingdom of God refers to heaven. According to Christianity whoever believes in Jesus and accepts him as their eternal Lord and Savior will make it to heaven[8]. "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them" (John 3:36). This was Jesus preaching to the Israelite. When we repent and commit our lives to God, he brings us out of imprisonment and cleanses our soul. He cleanses us by showing us love and acceptance. Repentance is a very important stage in every Christian’s life. Everybody is predestined to fall short of God’s glory; only by repenting can you attain his love and mercy back[9]. Most of the well known prophets in the bible preached about repentance. Apostle Paul who was one of Jesus disciples preaches a lot about repentance according to the bible[10]. Acts 2:38 says “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of our sin” Apostle Paul was basically preaching about repentance to the people of Israel emphasizing the fact that they have to commit their lives to Christ. After the death of Jesus, Paul and the other disciples set the platform for the word of God to be spread. Before Jesus there was a prophet called “John the Baptist”. His purpose was essentially to prepare for the coming of Jesus. He also preached about repentance, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8). John was preparing the Israelites for the coming of Jesus Christ. He was telling the people to repent of their sins and commit their lives to God to prevent punishment. God must punish all sinners or He is not just (2 Thessalonian 1:6) [11]. The story of the prodigal son is a Great example of repentance from the bible. In brief it’s about a boy who left his father’s house with all his personal belongings to live a life on his own. For a while he was fine, but over time he lavished through all his property and could not sustain himself. He realized what he did was wrong, went back to his father to repent and confess his sins and his father welcomed him in with open arms. Jesus used this example to illustrate the power of repentance to people of Israel. (Luke 15:1-32). Sin is very difficult to escape so we should always learn to seek repentance from God.



  1. ^ Bruce Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation (Wheaton: Crossway, 1997): 38-39.
  2. ^ Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 37.
  3. ^ T.C. Mitchell, 'Repentance' New Bible Dictionary (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1996): 1007.
  4. ^ Mitchell, 'Repentance', 1007.
  5. ^ Mitchell, 'Repentance', 1008.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Cumming, Joseph. "Is Jesus Christ the Son of God?". Responding to the Muslim View of Jesus. 
  8. ^ Ryrie, Charles (1989). So great salvation. SP piblication, Inc. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

Category:Christian theology Category:Christian terminology