As a pastor who has served in the ministry for 15 years, I have learned that being a Christian does not mean that I am perfect.
Sometimes, I stumble, but when this happens, I confess my sin and repent. I realized that, like me, many Christians struggle with sin and have questions regarding repentance.
So today, I will share my insights on this and answer the question, “How many times is repentance mentioned in the bible?”
Since the Bible does not directly state how many times repentance appears, theologians have different views on this. Some suggest that the word repentance appears 21 times, while others speculate that it appears 24 times. What is clear in the Bible is that repentance is crucial in the life of a Christian. Even Jesus called for repentance (Matthew 4:17).
In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into the topic of repentance. Keep reading to find out what the Bible says about repentance and much more.
What is repentance according to the Bible?
The Bible explains that repentance is having a complete change of mind turning away from sin. Christians believe that repentance in the Bible is a shift of attitude towards God.
When you repent, you own up to your sin and ask the Lord to restore you. Psalm 119:128 explains that hatred of sin turns a repentant individual away from their sin: “And because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.”
Repentance is believed to be more than feeling bad about sin since it is a change of lifestyle. Additionally, Luke 3:8 mentions that if you claim to have repented, you must bear fruits that reflect this.
What does the Bible say about repentance?
The Bible mentions that repentance involves being aware and accepting your sinful ways. Christians believe this is the first step to repentance.
Psalm 51:4 states, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.”
According to the Bible, repentance leads to living a holy life and obeying God’s commands. Once you repent from sin, you must strive to be like Christ. This involves being holy just like God is.
1st Peter 1:16 says, “For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.””
The Bible also suggests that repentance is the only way to establish a relationship with God. Peter, in Acts 2:38, encouraged people to repent and be baptized.
This verse also explains that repentance leads to the forgiveness of sins.
Additionally, Luke 13:3 mentions that if one does not repent, they will perish. This is because we are all born with sin that we got from Adam and Eve. And the Bible reminds us that the wages of sin are death.
Romans 6:23 reads, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Examples of Repentance in the Bible
The story of Zacchaeus is a good example of true repentance in the Bible. Though he had wronged people, Zacchaeus had a change of heart, and he told Jesus that he would give half of his possession to the poor.
Luke 19:8-9 says, “But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.'”
Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep and explained that there is joy in heaven when one sinner repents more than 99, just people who do not need to repent (Luke 15:1-7).
John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:11 that he was baptizing people with water for repentance, but Jesus would baptize them with fire and the Holy Spirit.
Mark 1:4 mentions that John the Baptist showed up in the wilderness, baptizing people and encouraging them to repent so that their sins would be forgiven: “And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
As John the Baptist was preparing the way for the Messiah, he told believers to produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Matthew 3:8 says, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Jesus also tried to explain repentance by using the example of a doctor and the sick. In Luke 5: 31-33, he says that the sick are the ones that need a doctor and not the healthy.
In the same way, his mission on earth was to call sinners to repentance and not the righteous.
Acts 5:30-32 elaborates that even though Jesus was killed, God raised him from the dead so that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.
In 2nd Corinthians 7:9, Paul expresses his joy over the church’s repentance. Paul, the apostle, also called people who opposed the word of God to personal repentance.
2nd Timothy 2:25 reads, “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.”
When the people of Judah hardened their hearts to the things of God, they were reminded to submit to God’s will and repent.
Isaiah 30:15 notes, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.'”
Paul also preached to the Gentiles about the importance of repentance in Acts 17:30, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”
How many times can you repent for the same sin?
Biblical scholars speculate that there is no limit to the number of times you can repent for the same sin. Repentance is available even when you keep making the same mistake over and over. Psalm 103:12 mentions that God has removed our transgressions from us.
Therefore, you can repent for the same sin over and over. However, this should not give you the liberty to pursue a lifestyle of habitual sin.
1st John 3:8 elaborates that whoever makes sinning a habit is of the devil: “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.”
How many times does the Bible say you can repent?
The Bible does not directly say how many times you can repent. Christians speculate that there is no specific number of times you can repent.
1st John 1:9 explains that as long as one confesses their sins, then the Lord is just and faithful and will forgive them: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Jesus told Peter to forgive a brother who wronged him seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”“
Christians interpret this verse to mean that since the forgiveness of God is infinite to those who seek it, there is no limit to how much you can repent.
Which Book teaches about repentance in the Bible?
Most theologians agree that the Book of Acts is the one that teaches most about repentance. This Book focuses on repentance in relation to salvation.
The concept of repentance is mentioned numerous times in this Book, like in Acts 2:38, 26:20, 17:30, 11:18, 3:19, and 20:21.
In this Book, the early disciples preached repentance everywhere they went. The Book of Acts suggests that people have to repent of their sins. Repentance, according to the Book, is not optional or a suggestion from God; rather, it is a command.
The Book also speculates that God grants his people repentance. Christians believe that the Book of Acts implies that repentance requires evidence of change and that sometimes people who need to repent are God’s children.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.