Today in this post, you will discover the 13 signs of true repentance that mark a new true believer in Christ on their way to heaven.
Saying a repentance prayer alone isn’t enough for real salvation to take place. Most people say they have repented but their lives testify something different.
And this post on the 13 signs of true repentance will help you know if your repentance is genuine or fake before it’s too late to make amends when you go to the grave. Let’s get started.
What Is Repentance? Biblical Definition.
Repentance according to the Bible simply means changing your mind and your heart about sin and who God is. It means that you respond to God’s love by being transformed from the inside out.
In short, biblical repentance is all about having a change of heart and a complete cessation to doing evil or sinning which is made possible by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
True repentance is always accompanied by godly sorrow or godly grief which causes one to repent of their sins in the first place (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Without this godly sorrow, true repentance can never take place as one needs to be sorry for their sins and confess them to receive forgiveness of their sins which makes sense if you ask me.
Why Is Repentance Important?
Repentance is important because it makes it possible for the sinful natural man to once again be reconciled back to God and receive God’s forgiveness.
And since God is holy, He won’t accept sin and has decreed that sin won’t go unpunished. This means that sin automatically makes us enemies with God but repentance through Christ makes it possible to be reconciled back to God.
Secondly, repentance saves us from the wrath to come and grants us eternal life which is what salvation and repentance are all about in the first place (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
In doing so repentance makes it possible for every truly repentant sinner with a truly repentant heart to receive salvation and help them avoid hellfire where every unrepentant sinner will spend their eternity if they die in their sins
True Repentance Vs False Repentance.
There are several fundamental differences between true repentance and false repentance in that the former produces fruits of repentance while the latter doesn’t.
Secondly, genuine repentance always comes with a change of heart about one’s sin or transgression while false repentance has no change of heart that is why false repentance doesn’t result in one forsaking their sins as it is with real repentance.
With true repentance, a new birth occurs which now makes you want to follow after righteousness while in false repentance, a new birth never occurs and that old nature of sin that makes one want to sin is still intact.
Lastly, false repentance doesn’t grant one eternal life because the forgiveness of sins hasn’t yet taken place as in true repentance.
13 Signs Of True Repentance.
Here are the 7 signs of true repentance that will help you know if you or someone has truly repented of their sins which will show by the fruits that follow after repenting.
- Godly Sorrow.
- Change Of Mind & Heart.
- Show Fruits Of Repentance.
- The Old Sinful Lifestyle Is Left Behind.
- Grief For Your Sins.
- You, Will, Confess Your Sins.
- Willing To Be Baptized.
- No Longer Attracted To Sin Anymore.
- New Desire To Live A Holy Life.
- Ready To Own Your Mistakes.
- You Will Go And Sin No More.
1. Godly Sorrow.
True repentance is always accompanied by godly sorrow because it’s godly grief of one’s sins that makes one want to repent and forsake their sins and evil ways in the first place (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Without this godly sorrow of one’s sins against a holy God, they have sinned against countless times, genuine repentance cannot take place.
Most people are never truly sorry for their sins that is why they quickly go back to them even after they have supposedly repented on the altar call in church.
You see, dear if you truly want to receive the forgiveness of your sins and have a transformed life, you need to show godly sorrow for your sins. Only then, you will receive mercy and pardon for your sins.
2. Change Of Mind & Heart.
It’s well said that a change of heart is what produces a change in one’s behavior and character and that couldn’t be further from the truth my dear reader.
If your repentance is genuine, there will be a sudden change of heart and mind that will cause you to have a change in behavior and character that will be noticeable to others, too (Romans 12:1,2).
It means that you have changed your mind towards your sins and God and now want to turn away from them once and for all.
But with fake repentance, a change of heart never occurs that is why one will continue sinning even after they have supposedly repented on the altar call a few minutes ago because such people don’t truly have a repentant heart in the first place.
3. Fruits Of Repentance.
In Matthews 3:8 John the Baptist talks about the fruits of repentance that always come with genuine repentance of one’s sins.
If someone has truly repented of their sins, they will certainly show the fruits of repentance in their lives. Repenting isn’t just about a mere confession of one’s sins without any willingness to turn away from them.
But if your repentance is false, you won’t show the fruits of repentance and you will continue in your old sinful way of living even if you have repented a thousand times on the altar call.
Sincere repentance is all about having a repentant heart which makes one turn away from their sins to receive God’s forgiveness and mercy for their sins (Proverbs 28:13).
A truly repentant person will show humility and humble themselves before God Just as Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5 realized that he was undone and a man of unclean lips. He didn’t say he was a good person as most people do.
See dear, when you have a truly repentant heart, there is that sense of humility you will have that all truly repentant people exhibit when they truly repent of their sins.
You will realize that you are unworthy and that your so-called god works can’t save you from your sin as we are saved by grace through faith and not by works of riotousness we have done which are filthy rags, anyway (Isaiah 64:6).
A truly repentant person will realize that only grace through faith in Christ saves one from sin and enable one to live a holy life afterward that is pleasing unto the Lord (Titus 2:11).
5. The Old Sinful Lifestyle Is Left Behind.
If you become truly saved from your sins and the guilt and punishment it brings to sinners, you will no longer be interested in your old sinful lifestyle anymore and you will leave it behind for good.
Since you have now left your old sinful life behind, you will now follow after righteousness and live a holy life that reflects God’s glory and character in you (Ephesians 4:22).
On the contrary, if you are still interested in your old sinful lifestyle you renounced on the altar call, it means that your repentance is questionable and most likely fake.
Sadly, most people aren’t willing to forsake their old sinful lifestyle behind to follow after righteousness due to the love of sin still present in their hearts because if you are truly repentant, the love of sin that comes with your old sin nature you are born with completely goes away.
Restitution is simply an act of returning stolen things to their rightful owners or simply amending the wrongs you have done to those you offended by making an apology.
If your repentance is genuine, you will have this sense of urgency to make things right to whom you have wronged or offended by your action by apologizing to them, or if you stole something from someone, you will restore the stolen thing you stole from them.
The doctrine of restitution isn’t something you hear about often in most churches but it’s that important as it’s one of the most important signs of true repentance.
Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8 shows a perfect example of what genuine repentance is all about by his willingness to make restitution are return what he stole and this is why Jesus said to him that salvation has come to his house. You must restitute as well where necessary.
7. Grief For Your Sins.
Grief for one’s sins is also one of the signs of true repentance that show if someone truly repents of their sins. Godly repentance is all about feeling remorseful of your sins and vowing never to go back to them again.
Most people aren’t sorry for their sins and this is why they can’t obtain mercy and pardon from God. It’s funny that some people even smile when they go on the altar call of repentance when they must be crying and feeling sorry for their evil deed.
God has no business with such unserious individuals dear. If you want your sin to be forgiven, you must mean business with God by showing how sorry you are for hurting Him with your sinful lifestyle, and only then will you receive mercy and forgiveness.
If you don’t feel bad about your sin but claim you have repented, then you are just lying to yourself and it’s just a matter of time before you return to your vomit.
8. You Will Confess Your Sins.
For genuine repentance that bringeth salvation and eternal life thereby saving you from the wrath to come to take place, you must confess all your known sins you can remember.
But you may ask, “why must I confess my sins?” it’s a good question honestly speaking. Yes, you need to confess your sins so that you can obtain mercy as Proverbs 28:13 wonderfully puts it.
By confessing your sins like what the prodigal son did in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 5:11-32, you show that you are truly sorry for your sins.
If you don’t confess your sins in your sinful pride with a contrite and broken spirit, it clearly shows that you are not truly for your sins at all and if you continue like that, your sins will soon find you out but by then it will be too late to repent.
9. Willing To Be Baptized.
When you become a true believer in Christ, you will desire to get baptized as Mathew 28:19,20 as a way of signifying your new life in Christ.
Baptism though it doesn’t save you from sins is a sign that you are now dead to sin and now alive in Christ in new birth and that is why you are fully immersed in and out of water for that purpose.
Please take note that baptism alone doesn’t save you from sin as some erroneously believe. If that was the case, then Christ’s crucifixion would not be necessary as salvation is a sin atonement issue that requires the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22).
But you must do it anyway when you become born again as it’s a commandment from the Lord. You will truly want to be baptized when you become truly saved to signify your new life in Christ.
10. No Longer Attracted To Sin Anymore.
When you become a true believer after repenting and forsaking your sins, you will no longer be attracted to sin anymore because you now have the new nature of Christ that makes you want to follow after righteousness.
That old sinful nature you were born with will no longer be active in your life and that is why the love of sin you once had in your heart will no longer be there.
If you are still attracted to sin and claim to be repentant, you still have work to be done on your as your repentance in this case isn’t genuine.
So, if you truly repent of your sins, this will be a sign that your repentance is genuine as genuine repentance makes you start hating sin and start loving righteousness instead.
11. New Desire To Live A Holy Life.
One of the signs that someone has truly repented of their sins is that they will now desire to live a holy life and not desire to sin anymore.
Well, this is because when you become saved truly, a new nature is imparted to you by Christ through the new birth that occurs at salvation.
If you don’t have this new desire to live a holy life, dear, just know you are not saved yet and still in need of genuine repentance from your sins for the new birth to occur inside you.
Without this new birth in Christ that comes through salvation preceded by real repentance, you will not desire to live a holy life rather, living a holy life will feel like a burden to you due to your old sinful nature that hates holiness that’s still active in you.
12. Ready To Own Your Mistakes.
A truly repentant person who is now filled with God’s grace will be willing to own and amend their past mistakes where necessary especially where restitution is needed.
If you can’t own up to your own mistakes, then you are not truly repentant in your heart because truly repentant people don’t behave like that.
Owning up to your mistakes means being willing to face the consequences of what you have done regardless of where it may lead through mature godly counseling may be necessary for certain sensitive situations.
But if you are in a sensitive situation, I encourage you to pray about your situation for God’s guidance about the issue or seek counseling from godly and mature counselors who can help you with such delicate matters.
13. You Will Go And Sin No More.
When Jesus forgave the woman who was caught in adultery red-handed. Imagine that shame for a moment. Jesus told her to go and sin no more (John 8:11).
The woman who was forgiven of her adultery never went back to her filth like a dog returning to its vomit and that showed that her repentance and remorse for her sins were genuine. If it was now, she would have gone right back to her vomit.
In like matter, if you truly repent of your sins like that woman caught in adultery, you will no longer return to your vomit as it is the case with false converts.
Don’t be one of those and mean business with God and He will give you the grace you need to live a holy life all the day of your life till you till to be taken to heaven, the final resting place for the righteous comes.
I hope this post on the 13 signs of true repentance has helped you know whenever you needed to know concerning true repentance.
If you are not showing the above signs of repentance yet, it signifies that you have not been saved yet and if you want to be saved now, check out this post on how to be saved to get started.
In closing, if you enjoyed this post and found it useful, kindly share it with others so that they can benefit too. Stay blessed and Godspeed.
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