What is True and False Repentance?

“For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death.”

-2 Corinthians 7:10.

Our repentance has eternal consequences.  It’s extremely important that we understand true and false repentance because it’s a matter of life and death!

Paul was giving the Corinthian church a wakeup call, repent!  But what’s the difference between true repentance and false repentance?

False repentance or worldly sorrow is feeling sorry for oneself.  It has regrets and guilt.  Its sorrow is self-focused.  It is not sorry enough to hate sin and love God.  It doesn’t trust in Christ for necessary change.

However, true repentance and godly sorrow is turning away from sin and turning to Christ for salvation, forgiveness, and cleansing.  It is turning from a sinful way of life to a Christ-honoring way of life.  It is a change of mind and heart to that which honors Christ!

Tears cannot take away our sins, only Jesus’ perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection can atone for our sins!  Jesus commands us to repent or we too will perish.  (Luke 13:5).

Godly sorrow leads to salvation, but worldly sorrow leads to death.  Repentance isn’t the Savior, it’s the right response to hearing the call to turn from our sins and trust in Christ alone for salvation.

When Judas sinned he had the wrong response.  He had a false repentance as he tried to return the blood money to the priests.  As a result of his regret and guilt he killed himself.  His shame was totally selfish.

But when Peter sinned, he had the right response; he wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75).  Peter wanted to change, he hated his sin, and he never denied Jesus again.

True repentance desires to conform to the will of God.  It doesn’t trust in self, good works, or even religious rituals for forgiveness.  It totally trusts in Jesus Christ for deliverance and righteousness!  And it desires to exalt the name of Christ and live in a right relationship with Him and with others!

As a result of receiving life and salvation, true repentance will continue to be practiced by the Christian who longs to honor Christ, and extend the same mercy and grace they have received from Christ to others (no matter who they are, or what they’ve done) because they know the length Christ went to rescue them!

Has godly sorrow produced true repentance in your life which has lead you to be born again, and causes you to live a holy life and a life of Christ-like love toward others?

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About Pastor Douglas Graham

Dr. Douglas Graham started MadeToFish in 2007. MadeToFish is about "Growing and helping others grow in the Gospel." Doug is the Pastor of Cedarville Nazarene Church. Our church website is: MadeToFish.com
This entry was posted in forgiveness, Grace, Holiness, Jesus Christ, Repentance, Salvation, Sin, The Gospel. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What is True and False Repentance?

  1. savedbygrace says:

    well said.

    true repentance are not that from fear or despair
    rather “true repentance” are a result of God’s goodness

    “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and
    forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s
    kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”
    – Romans 2:4

    – grace and peace”

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