If you are reading this, it is assumed you understand the need for repentance. This discussion guide will not deal with why repentance is necessary, but will help you understand what it is.
Evidence from Scripture
Ezekiel 18:30 Ezekiel 18:30Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, said the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
American King James Version×“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.”
1. What is the relationship between repentance and sin?
2. Is repentance change?
3. Are the “transgressions” referring to breaking the laws of man or of God?
Hebrews 6:1 Hebrews 6:1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
American King James Version×Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Acts 20:21 Acts 20:21Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×“Testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith towards of Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Repentance is a change from what to what?
5. What are “dead works?”
Ephesians 4:21 Ephesians 4:21If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
American King James Version×If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: (22) that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, (23) and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, (24) and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.
6. Is repentance a change in behavior only? Read also Joel 2:12-13 Joel 2:12-13 12 Therefore also now, said the LORD, turn you even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repents him of the evil.
American King James Version×and then answer.
Matthew 21:28 Matthew 21:28But what think you? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
American King James Version×“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ (29) “He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. (30) “Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.”
7. What does the parable teach about repentance?
8. Which comes first: a change in actions or a change in mind?
2 Corinthians 7:10 2 Corinthians 7:10For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death.
American King James Version×For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (11) For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: what diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication!
9. What is the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow?
10. List and explain the characteristics of a repentant attitude.
Job 42:5 Job 42:5I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you.
American King James Version×“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. (6) Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
11. Is Job an example of repentance?
12. What does the phrase “dust and ashes” mean?
2 Samuel 12:13 2 Samuel 12:13And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said to David, The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
American King James Version×Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
13. Did David repent? How can you tell?
14. Is repentance required before sins can be put away? Read Acts 3:19 Acts 3:19Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
American King James Version×and comment.
15. Read Psalm 51 which David composed after this incident, and then list the characteristics of true repentance that David displayed.
1 Samuel 15:24 1 Samuel 15:24And Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and your words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
American King James Version×Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. (25) “Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” (26) But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” (30) Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.”
16. Did Saul repent? What indicates he did or did not?
17. Is repentance a matter of just saying the right words?
Matthew 27:3 Matthew 27:3Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
American King James Version×Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, (4) saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” (5) Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
18. Did Judas truly repent? What evidence is there that he did or did not? Did it lead to his obeying the law of God?
1. What does God say repentance is?
2. In our culture what are common understandings of what repentance is?
3. In your own words, describe what you believe repentance is