When was the last time you granted someone repentance? Not forgiveness, but repentance? If you’re like me, the answer is ‘never – I can grant forgiveness, but I can’t grant repentance’.

Oddly enough, the Bible consistently uses phrases like “God granting repentance” when talking about people who repent and trust Christ for their salvation. In fact, all the verses in the New Testament that deal with “repent” phrase the word in one of three ways:

  • A message to the unsaved to repent, or a rebuke for not repenting
  • A statement about the saved that they have been granted repentance from God or that they show works consistent with repentance
  • A hypothetical about someone repenting

As oddly as those phrases sound, there’s one more thought to consider: nowhere in the New Testament is anyone ever said to have repented (past tense) for their salvation. When describing people who have been saved, only two phrases are used: they received or were granted repentance or that they showed works according to repentance. To emphasize the odd nature of these statements all through the New Testament, consider this: when was the last time you granted someone repentance? We might grant forgiveness if someone offends us, but we never grant repentance. So why would God consistently use this language? Carefully consider the possibility that it is impossible for a person to repent for sins and that God must grant him repentance, just as God must grant him faith to believe in Him in the first place?

Major caveat – The only people that are said to have repented are the people of Nineveh when Jonah preached of their coming destruction. For what it’s worth, they are in the Old Testament, they are not Jews, and as a country, their repentance didn’t last: they abandoned God, and  less than 120 years later, brutally attacked the northern kingdom of Israel. This may or may not mean their repentance was genuine, but the fact still remains that never is anyone in the New Testament said to have repented for salvation, and there is plenty of opportunity to make such comments (eg, Cornelius in Acts 11).

The following is the search results in the New Testament for every variation of the word “repent”. I used the ESV, but the NIV and KJV gives pretty much the same results. The KJV actually gives more verses because it uses the word “repent” when it means “change mind”. For example, Judas “repented” for selling Jesus (Matt 27:3), but we know his heart was still apart from God; In the parable of the two sons told to work in the vineyard (Matt 21:29), the son who said he would not work “repented” and went to work. The KJV has many more instances of this, but none are intended to pertain to eternal salvation, but rather, a temporary or superficial change of mind.

Verse List

Matthew 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” ESV

Matthew 3:8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. ESV

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. ESV

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” ESV

Matthew 11:20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. ESV

Matthew 11:21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. ESV

Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. ESV

Mark 1:4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. ESV

Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” ESV

Mark 6:12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. ESV

Luke 3:3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. ESV

Luke 3:8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. ESV

Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” ESV

Luke 10:13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. ESV

Luke 11:32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. ESV

Luke 13:3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. ESV

Luke 13:5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” ESV

Luke 15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. ESV

Luke 15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” ESV

Luke 16:30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ ESV

Luke 17:3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, ESV

Luke 17:4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” ESV

Luke 24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. ESV

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ESV

Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, ESV

Acts 5:31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. ESV

Acts 8:22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. ESV

Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” ESV

Acts 13:24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. ESV

Acts 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, ESV

Acts 19:4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” ESV

Acts 20:21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. ESV

Acts 26:20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. ESV

Rom 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? ESV

2 Cor 7:9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. ESV

2 Cor 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. ESV

2 Cor 12:21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced. ESV

2 Tim 2:25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, ESV

Heb 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, ESV

Heb 6:6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. ESV

Heb 12:17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. ESV

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. ESV

Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. ESV

Rev 2:16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. ESV

Rev 2:21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. ESV

Rev 2:22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, ESV

Rev 3:3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. ESV

Rev 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. ESV

Rev 9:20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, ESV

Rev 9:21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. ESV

Rev 16:9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. ESV

Rev 16:11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds. ESV.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Let\'s see if you\'re really a human: *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.