From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Matthew 4:17

The word “repentance” is not always understood. To repent is to feel regret or remorse. It is to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to amending one’s life. Confession and repentance are necessary parts of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not unconditional.

Jesus’ words in the verse above followed the account of his temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). He was repeating the same teachings as those of John the Baptist in Mark 1:4.

When we hurt someone or sin against God we must repent and show remorse for the suffering we’ve caused. According to the Bible, it’s only after repenting “that our sins may be wiped out.” (Acts 3:19). I wonder how many people have missed hearing that message in church? I wonder how many believe that forgiveness is unconditional?

Billy Graham said, “The Bible commands [repentance], our wickedness demands it, justice requires it, Christ preached it and God expects it. The divine, unalterable edict is still valid: “God commands all men everywhere to repent.”

Quoting Billy Graham again: “Repentance is not a word of weakness but a word of power and action. It is not a self-effacing emotion, but a word of heroic resolve. It is an act that breaks the chains of captive sinners and sets heaven to singing.”

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,’ (Acts 3:19)


Be careful about who you rely on for spiritual guidance. Some choose to teach what suits them, omitting important parts of the Bible’s doctrines. Some don’t believe that repentance is necessary in order to be forgiven. Such misunderstanding can cause harm when applied to everyday lives. (See

Such teachers’ apparent wisdom is deceiving to those they lead. They are mistakenly trusted and led astray.

You are probably asking, “But who can I believe?” Of course, you can certainly believe God’s Word if you make a point of studying it carefully. Go online and dig around by googling various topics that might interest you. You’ll soon learn how to find reliable sources. Don’t look at only one source. Try several. I do this most of the time to prepare for writing my devotionals.

Try googling “repentance and forgiveness” and you’ll find lots of interesting things to explore. Soon you’ll be growing your own wisdom.