True Repentance According to God’s Word

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This morning I had a dream in which I was laying down on the ground. I had a big piece of cloth on each foot. I wanted to get up but I couldn’t do it myself so I asked a man who was nearby if he could help me get up.

 

The man was friendly to help me get up and then as I walked, the cloths fell off my feet. Then the man said that he had expected me and showed me a toilet room which he asked me to enter. I found that strange but obeyed him and went into the toilet room. It was dirty all over the place and untidy. It was disgusting. Then I felt the burden to pray, cry out to God, and repent of my sins and I also peed a little bit. When I was finished, I saw that the toilet and everything in the toilet room was clean and bright and tidied up, some things were removed. Then I looked into a mirror and saw myself transformed. I knew that I was in a dream and I saw everything so clearly. I heard a voice that I needed to record everything in this dream. Finally, I went out of the toilet and called the owner of this toilet room. He came to me with a girl and I told him that I was finished using his toilet. The girl went into the toilet room and was surprised that everything was so clean, bright, and tidy. I told the girl that this was the result of repentance – a complete change of our hearts, minds, and actions.

 

Here is the interpretation of the dream revealed by the Holy Spirit. Lying on the ground means to be spiritually dead and sinful. The cloths on my feet speak of the need to be born again. The man who had expected me and helped me get up is Jesus. The transformation that took place in the toilet room was the repentance process which completely changed everything in me and also in my environment. The girl was a witness of my repentance because she saw the signs and I shared my experience with her.

 

So what is repentance according to the Bible? True repentance is more than just regretting sin and turning from it. It is a complete and irreversible change of mind, heart, and actions. It is changing your mind regarding sin and forsaking sins, abhorring your past rejection of Christ, knowing who Jesus is and what He has done for you, and embracing faith in Him as both Messiah and Savior. (Acts 2:36) Repentance is not a work of our own. It is a gift of grace from God. (Acts 5:31, 11:18) No one can repent and come to God unless God pulls that person to Himself (John 6:44). In my dream it was Christ who helped me get up and asked me to repent. Without Him I could have done nothing. True repentance leads to salvation. (2 Corinthians 7:10) God is the one who leads us into the whole process of salvation, including repentance and faith. He draws us to Him (in my dream Jesus led me to repentance), He opens our eyes (in my dream God let me see all my sins and transgressions which were symbolized by the dirty toilet room), He changes our hearts (symbolized by my looking into the mirror and seeing myself transformed). God’s longsuffering and patience (symbolized by Jesus telling me that He had expected me) and His kindness (symbolized by His friendliness when He helped me get up). (2 Peter 3:9; Romans 2:4)

 

While repentance is not a work that earns salvation, repentance unto salvation does result in works. True repentance will not only change your mind and heart but also your actions and behavior – your whole life. People will see these changes. In my dream, the girl could witness that I had truly changed and she even saw the outward signs and fruits – the clean, bright, and tidy toilet room. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:19–23; James 2:14–26)

 

Here is Scripture that supports my writing.

 

8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:8-14

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, Acts 3:19

but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. Acts 26:20

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” Acts 11:18

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, Acts 17:30

testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Acts 2:36

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44

God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:31

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

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

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:19-23

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:14–26

 

One example of true repentance that lead to salvation is the story of Zacchaeus.

 

Jesus and Zacchaeus

19 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:1-10