Who Repented and Who Didn’t

Repentance is a “change of mind that results in a change of life.” It is used in the New Testament almost exclusively of a change from the worse to the better. The elements of fear, regret and sorrow are in repentance, but none of these amount to genuine repentance.

Felix was fearful (Acts 24:25) “And as he  (Paul) reasoned of righteousness, and self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified, and answered, Go thy way for this time; and when I have a convenient season, I will call thee unto me.” Poor Felix never called Paul to return nor did he repent.

Judas came to regret his betrayal of Christ but didn’t repent. (Matt. 27:3) “Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders.” The word for “repented” means regret, not abandonment of sin.

The Corinthians were sorry for their sins, but didn’t repent. (2 Cor. 7:10) “For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, (a repentance) which bringeth no regret: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”

Jesus made repentance plain. (Matt. 21:28-31) “But what think ye? A man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in the vineyard. And he answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented himself, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I (go), sir: and went not. Which of the two did the will of his father? They say, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”

When fear of the consequences of sin, deep regret for having sinned, and godly sorrow result in a reformed life, repentance is genuine. Think of your life -- do you need to repent of anything? -- DRS

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