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True Meaning of Repentance – Are Your Prayers Reflecting It?

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For many of us, when we pray, we often have a period of confession. It is part of the ACTS Prayer Method I have written about; that you experience a time of telling God you are sorry for your sins and receiving His forgiveness in Jesus’ Name. It is part of the Lord’s Prayer; Forgive us our trespasses! But many of us easily turn this into a time of “beating ourselves up” over sin. What is the true meaning of repentance?

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The True Meaning of Repentance – How We Spend Time Repenting

In the Lord’s prayer, we are told to ask God to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others. This is Jesus’ own teaching on prayer!

Many of us can easily spend 30 minutes of a 45 minute prayer confessing sins and crying out to God for forgiveness.

There is nothing wrong with feeling bad when we do something hurtful. We SHOULD be allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin.

But once we become aware of it, we should ask forgiveness, receive it and move on with the true INTENT of not repeating the sin!

The Bible doesn’t say to ask God to forgive you over and over again. It doesn’t say to beat yourself up over it. The Bible doesn’t tell us we have to keep going to God with it every time we pray. The true meaning of repentance doesn’t include never-ending self-condemnation!

Yet, many of us feel like we haven’t yet done enough to be relieved of our OWN guilt.

There’s that word; FEEL.

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We don’t FEEL forgiven. We FEEL we have to spend more time begging God to give us His forgiveness. FEEL FEEL FEEL!

1 John 1:9 says:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” NIV

If we confess, which is the Greek word homologeō  meaning to “agree with another, concede, declare”. In other words, by confessing our sins, we are getting into agreement with God on what sin is! We are to declare what we did, acknowledge it and get into agreement with God that it was wrong.

He says that when we do this, He forgives us and purifies us from ALL unrighteousness. All of it! Not just the ones we FEEL forgiven for! ALL!

The True Meaning of Repentance – Be Comforted

Repentance is what a person does when they receive Christ! They repent and “turn away from” their sins and accept what Jesus did for them on the cross!

Repentance in Hebrew is the word “nacham” and the meaning of repentance according to this word is “to be sorry, turn away from sins, regret, to be comforted”

To be comforted! The true meaning of repentance is to be comforted?? Let that sink in! Repentance comes with comfort!

A new believer can be comforted by the saving knowledge of Christ and how they are forgiven, accepted and redeemed.

A believer can take comfort in the Word of God which says in Psalm 103:12:

“…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” NIV

When we “turn away from” our sins, God chooses to remember them no more!

If we are not feeling comforted but condemned after confessing our sins to God, that is NOT coming from God. That is an attempt by the enemy to put you under a spirit of condemnation and to make you feel the cross wasn’t enough. He wants you to feel guilt and shame because it keeps you from experiencing victory!

The Woman Caught in Adultery

When the woman caught in the very act of adultery was brought before Jesus, the Pharisees reminded the Living Torah Himself what the Law said about the situation. She was to be stoned. They asked what He had to say.

Jesus never once disputed the punishment required by Torah Law. The law called for the woman to be stoned. What He questioned was who had the right to judge her for her sins and said that whomever was without sin in their own life should be the first to stone her.

One by one, as Jesus wrote in the dirt, they left (I like to think He was writing the names of each the Pharisees and their own sins), each realizing there was none among them that hadn’t been deserving of God’s righteous judgment in their lives.

One remained; the One without sin, Yeshua!

But He didn’t remain to condemn her.  God Himself offered her freedom from the punishment His Law commanded! He told her to go and sin no more.


Repentance is a turning away from our old behaviors. Go and sin no more!

In Yeshua’s words, “sin” is the Greek word “hamartanō”  which means, according to Strongs Concordance “to miss the mark, to wander from the path of righteousness, to wander from the Law of God”.

She had wandered and He was restoring her to the path!

He was extending her grace by not holding her to the punishment of the Law.

This is the same grace we receive today! We are saved by grace, not because we keep the letter of the Law but because Jesus paid the price that was ours to pay.

The True Meaning of Repentance – Go and Sin No More

We mess up.  After all, we are human and we make mistakes.

We can acknowledge them, tell God we are sorry and then receive the grace offered us.

By continuing to re-live them, by not FEELING forgiven, we are saying what Jesus did wasn’t enough and we need to take these steps in our own power to receive that forgiveness.

We try to play a part in our forgiveness where we have no part any longer. Our part was the repentance of our sins and our acceptance of Christ! After that, He paid it all!

The enemy wants us to minimize the power of the cross by using our FEELINGS! By using guilt! He uses shame!


Ephesians 1:7-8

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding..” NIV

Forgiveness is ours in accordance with the riches of God’s grace, not because we beat ourselves up long enough for God to be satisfied that we feel badly enough.

Confess your sins, receive your grace and move forward!

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Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™


  1. Excellent post Diane, i used to repent all the time and know I know His grace, forget the accuser. One thing I believe I have heard the place He wrote was actually stone, so it was like a commandment, a walkway or something, we might want to check that out too. I know it says ground but the were in the courts, I thought it could be cement.

    1. I have never heard that before but it is interesting. The actual word in the Greek for ground is gē and it means earth. Some translations use the word ‘dust’ so it appears to be dirt. He was likely in the temple area not the temple itself because it not only indicates there were people there that He was teaching but it says all the people, not just men so women were not permitted in certain areas of the temple. It says they also dragged the woman to Him and that would not have been in the courts so He was likely at the temple but outside the entrance. They would not have picked up stones to stone someone in the Temple courts.

  2. This is definitely a balance. We can at time too quickly “receive” our forgiveness that we never really repent. And, other times never “accept” our forgiveness because of can’t believe it. This is a good reminder. Thanks.

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