Repentance and Remission of Sins

"...And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." - Luke 24:47

What is the message of the gospel? Jesus made it very clear: Repentance and remission of sins.


What Repentance is Not

Repentance is not earning salvation.

The true doctrine of repentance declares that nothing can be added to the finished work of Christ. No good work or reformation can help a sinner in the least. Repentance is simply a turning away from sin and to the Lord Jesus.

Repentance is not “penance”.

Many think repentance is the sinner sitting in a pit of despair lamenting over sin his sin. Real repentance is a turning to look to Jesus Christ who can pull you out the pit of sin to follow him. Repentance is not for you to punish yourself. Jesus has already been punished on the cross on behalf of sinners. Repentance is simply turning from your sin to follow Jesus Christ.

What Repentance Is

Repentance is by faith

True repentance believes and true faith repents. Repentance and faith always accompany each other, and you cannot have one without the other.

Mark 1:15 (Jesus said) “…repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Acts 20:21 - “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Some today say that repentance is only for the Old Testament Jew. Acts 20:21 and many other Scriptures prove them wrong. Repentance is a plain and vital doctrine of New Testament salvation by grace.

Definition of Repentance

Repentance is defined as, "a change of thought and purpose, to change one's mind, heartily to amend with abhorrence (hatred) of one's past sins."

Repentance is a 180 degree turn. Somebody asked, "How do you know you're not going to hell?" The man replied, "Because I'm not headed in that direction!"

Repentance is not a fear of judgment alone. It is a willingness to turn from sin. It is a changed mind and heart about sin, and a resolution to follow Jesus.

James A. Stewart said in his book, "Evangelism Without Apology,"

"God commandeth all men everywhere to repent. There are those who would be saved in our meetings from the consequences of their sin, who do not want to be saved from the love of it. Repentance is a change of mind toward God and Christ which results in a change of attitude and action. God-given repentance makes men grieve in their inmost souls over the sin they have committed, and works in them a gracious hatred of evil in every shape and form. It is a change naturally accompanied by deep sorrow for past sin, and naturally leading to a change of the outward life."

Lester Roloff said concerning repentance,

"Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Repentance is a forsaking of sin. Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore. Repentance is permanent. It is a lifelong and an eternity-long experience. You will never love the devil again once you repent. You will never flirt with the devil as the habit of your life again once you get saved. You will never be happy living in sin; it will never satisfy; and the husks of the world will never fill your longing and hungering in your soul. Repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is absolutely essential if you go to heaven." (Lester Roloff, Repent or Perish, 1950s)

B.H. Carrol said this concerning repentance:

"The preacher who leaves out repentance commits as grave a sin as the one who leaves out faith. I mean he must preach repentance just as often, and with as much emphasis, and to as many people as he preaches faith. I submit before God, who will judge the quick and the dead, that to preach faith without repentance is to sow among thorns. To leave out or minimize repentance, no matter what sort of a faith you preach, is to prepare a generation of professors who are such in name only. I give it as my deliberate conviction, founded on twenty-five years of ministerial observation, that the Christian profession of today owes its lack of vital godliness, its want of practical piety, its absence from the prayer meeting, its miserable semblance of missionary life, very largely to the fact that old-fashioned repentance is so little preached. You can't put a big house on a little foundation. And no small part of such preaching comes from a class of modern evangelists who desiring more for their own glory to count a great number of converts than to lay deep foundations, reduce the conditions of salvation by one-half and make the other half but some intellectual trick of the mind rather than a radical spiritual change of the heart."

Christ himself preached repentance

See Matthew 9:13, 4:17, Mark 1:15, Luke 13:3.

Christ came to call sinners to repentance

Matthew 9:13 - "...I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

The Lord Jesus Christ preached repentance

Matthew 4:17 - "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Mark 1:15 - "And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."

Christ commended Nineveh for its repentance

Matthew 12:41 - "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."

Just before his ascension, Christ commanded us to preach repentance

Luke 24:47 - "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

The Apostles of Jesus Christ Preached Repentance

When Jesus sent out the twelve,

Mark 6:12 - "And they went out, and preached that men should repent."

Apostle Peter preached repentance

Acts 3:19 - "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;"

Apostle Paul preached repentance

Acts 20:20-21 - 20 "And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
Acts 26:20 "But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judæa, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance."

Paul preached repentance both to the religious Jews and pagan gentiles. Listen to his message to pagans at Lystra:

Acts 14:15 - "And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:"

Hear Paul's message to pagan Greeks at Mars Hill in Athens:

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

Repentance Is Necessary For Salvation

Acts 11:18 - "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”
II Corinthians 7:10 "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”
II Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

Even the rich man in hell knew that his brothers must repent to avoid going to hell.

Luke 16:30 "And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent."

Bible Examples of Repentance

The Prodigal son repented when he left the hog pen and went to the father's house. Remember the woman taken in adultery. Jesus told her to "go and sin no more." The dying thief at first mocked Christ with other thief but then had a change of mind and heart. (see Mark 15:32, Luke 23:40)

Repentance Is A Positive Doctrine

I think of the old song that so shows the beauty of a changed life in Christ. "Thanks to Calvary I am not the man I use to be. Thanks to Calvary things are different than before..."

Repentance means you don't have to perish. Repentance means you don't have to stay who you are, in a wretched sinful condition. You can be changed by God's saving grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Repentance Causes Great Joy in Heaven

Luke 15:6-7 - 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth..."
Luke 15:10 "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."


"Repent." Jesus preached it at the beginning of his ministry. At very end before ascension he commanded us to preach it.

"Repent." It was the message of the resurrected Christ to five of the seven churches of the revelation. It was the final message that Jesus gave to the church at Laodicea. (Revelation 3:19)

Have you repented of your sins? If so, you'll have an attitude of repentance all your life.

Remission of Sins

Definition of "Remission of Sins"

  1. release from bondage or imprisonment
  2. forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty
  3. freedom, deliverance, forgiveness, liberty

References on "Remission of Sins"

All of the following references use the same Greek word for "remission".

Matthew 26:28 - (Jesus said) "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
Luke 24:47 -“ And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Acts 10:43 "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
Hebrews 9:22 "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Acts 5:31 "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”
Acts 26:18 "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
Ephesians 1:7 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
Colossians 1:13-14 - 13 "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”
Romans 6:17-18 18 "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."