Repentance, which in Greek is the word metanoia, means to literally “change one’s mind.” On a foundational level, to repent is to change our minds about God, the gospel, and everything else it encompasses. Even more so, it means to change our minds about sin—we go from loving sin to hating sin; to cherishing sin to abhorring sin.
But there’s also another part to repentance that is equally as important: remorse. A devotional at Ligonier Ministries says this:
To have metanoia — to have true repentance — involves feelings of regret and remorse. Repentance means we are truly sorry for something we have done (not just its consequences) and want to change our behavior.
There are times when we’ve claimed we were sorry for doing—or not doing—something but we didn’t really mean it. That’s not repentance. That’s what the Apostle Paul calls “worldly sorrow.” Biblical repentance not only is a change of mind, but is a change of the heart’s posture. Sin makes us sick. We are not merely sorry for how it impacts others, but ultimately God, for we now understand that our sin offends the holy God.
This may seem heavy—it is. But God calls us to repentance (Mark 1:15). No man will enter Heaven without biblical repentance. But there’s beauty in repenting. Repentance shows that God is truly working in our hearts; it shows we are truly His children; it shows that we are walking the correct way. And understand, Christian, repentance is not about perfection, but a new direction.
Stay the course. Repent. Keep your eyes on Jesus!