A selection of verses showing the importance of repentance.

Repentance is concerned with a change of attitude and behaviour in our relationship with God. God’s appeal to Israel, through the prophet Ezekiel, defines repentance and its necessity:

Ezekiel 18 verses 30 - 31

30 “Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, everyone according to his ways,” says the Lord GOD. “Return, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, in which you have transgressed; and make yourself a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, house of Israel?

Jesus calls people to repentance during his ministry:

Mark 1 verses 14 - 15

14 Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Good News of God’s Kingdom, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and God’s Kingdom is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News.”

Jesus’ ministry caters for a universal human need – forgiveness of sins following repentance:

Luke 5 verses 31 - 32

31 Jesus answered them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. 32  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” 

Repentance is essential for our long-term future. Jesus says this when his attention is drawn to the untimely death of some contemporary people:

Luke 13 verses 1 - 5

1 Now there were some present at the same time who told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3  I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way. 4  Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem? 5  I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.” 

After Jesus has risen from the dead he instructs his disciples to continue to invite people to repent and believe his teaching. It is part of God’s plan already recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures:

Luke 24 verses 45 - 47

45 Then he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures. 46 He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 

Jesus’ apostles carry out this commission and preach repentance:

Acts 3 verse 19

19 “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,

Acts 26 verses 19 - 20

19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to them of Damascus, at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance.

These chapters have links to this theme: