Repent: What It Means and Why You Must Repent



The number 1 definition of “repent” from Merriam-Websters online dictionary is as follows: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.

The Free Dictionary puts it this way:

1. To feel remorse, contrition, or self-reproach for what one has done or failed to do; be contrite.

2. To feel such regret for past conduct as to change one’s mind regarding it: repented of intemperate behavior.

3. To make a change for the better as a result of remorse or contrition for one’s sins. 

In the context of the Bible, “repent” means to turn away from one’s sins and begin obeying the Creator. Sin is breaking the Creator’s commandments/laws.

1 John 3:4  Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

To repent, therefore, means to turn away from breaking our Creator’s laws and to begin obeying them.

In Old Testament times, many of the people of Israel turned away from worshipping their Creator, Almighty Yahweh, and began worshipping idols made of gold, silver, wood and stone. They were also committing disgusting, abominable acts like offering their own children to those false gods in sacrificial fires. Yahweh called them to repentance.

Ezekiel 14:6  Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord Yahweh; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

Once again He called them to repentance for all their transgressions.

Ezekiel 18:30  Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord Yahweh. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

Yahweh wanted them to repent (turn away from their wickedness and evil deeds) because He knew their sins/iniquity would be their ruin. 

Ezekiel 18:4  Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die. 

The Apostle Paul echoed those words when he wrote, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a). Whenever a person sins or breaks Yahweh’s laws his payment or wages will be death. However, Yahweh did not leave us hopelessly doomed to death because of our sins. Paul went on to write in the same verse: 

but the gift of God is eternal life through Yeshua (Jesus) Messiah (Christ) our Master. (Romans 6:23b)

When Messiah Yeshua came to Israel about 2,000 years ago, his message to them was 

Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3:2)

This was a warning to the people to turn away from their sins or they would not enter the coming Kingdom of Yahweh.  However, turning away from sin is only the first step. It must be followed by obedience which John the Baptizer called “fruits”.

Matthew 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits in keeping with repentance:

 Yeshua said one of his primary purposes in coming was to call sinners to repentance.

Matthew 9:13  But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Yahweh is an Elohim (God) of love. He loves all the people He has created. He loves us so much that He was willing to allow His only begotten Son, Yeshua, to die on our behalf so that we could live.

John 3:16-21  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. 

Those that do not “come to the light” or come to Yeshua (the light of the world) are those that refuse to repent and turn away from their sins. 

Yeshua said, “. . . except you repent, you shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3

Yahweh is giving people plenty of time to repent because He loves sinners and does not want them to perish. 

Yahweh is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

At this time, Yahweh is overlooking the ignorance of people that don’t know the difference between right and wrong.

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent: (Act 17:30)

Repentance is not optional. If there is no repentance, there will be no forgiveness of sin. The unrepentant will simply perish for all eternity. 

Act 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yeshua Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Act 3:19  Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Master;

In spite of all these warnings and future judgments intended to persuade men to repent, they will still refuse to repent.

Revelation 9:20-21  And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Revelation 16:9  And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of Yahweh, which has power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory.

Revelation 16:11  And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

Failure to repent of one’s sins comes with a high price. Not only do you risk judgment, but ultimately you will lose your life and forever be separated from your Creator who loves you and wants the best for you.

My hope is that you will repent of your sins, if you haven’t already, and believe on the Master Yeshua to save you and grant you eternal life in his Kingdom forever.

May it be so.

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