The True Meaning of “Repentance”

Many people think to “repent”, is to say you are sorry, and to ask for forgiveness. This definition is mostly wrong. Knowing the true definition of "repent" could be a matter of life and death. Before I go further, I’ll point out a few verses.

Exodus 13:17
And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:

Exodus 32:11-14
And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

Now, do you think that God asked someone for forgiveness? Do you think God would EVER need to ask someone to forgive Him? Some people look at these verses and think that God can make mistakes. They think this because they don't know the true definition of the word "repent". The way I see it, the definition of “repent” is to change your current path. It does not even have to mean that your old path was wrong. So, when Moses was asking God to “repent” he was not asking Him to “say you are sorry” or "you are in error". He was asking God to turn from his current path of destroying the Israelites.

Ezekiel 18
24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live?...
27Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
28Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
29Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the LORD is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
30Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

The word translated “Repent” in verse 30 is the same Hebrew word translated “turneth away” in verses 24, 27 and 28 and “turn yourselves from” in verse 30. Notice that even the righteous can "repent" from his righteousness. This proves that the word "repent" has nothing to do with admitting you are in error.

To sum it up, asking God to forgive you of your sin means nothing unless you repent from your sins (turn from breaking the law). In fact, if you don't "repent" from your sins, your prayers are an abomination to God.

Proverbs 28:9
He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Keys to receiving forgiveness

1. You must repent from your sins (turn from breaking the law).

2. You must forgive others (Matthew 6:12-15)

3. You must humble yourself (1 Peter 5:5)

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