Listen to Nancy answer the question on Moody Radio with Kelli and Steve.

Genuine repentance begins with the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sins. Repentance, therefore, involves knowing in one’s heart, “This is wrong. I have sinned. God is grieved.” There is no attempt to justify our sinful behavior by rationalizing our sin by claiming fatigue, anger, or blaming someone else. 

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment” (Psalm 51:4).

True Christian repentance involves profound remorse over the offense we committed against God and a strong desire to turn away from sin or a sinful way of life and live a life that reflects God’s nature as we bring glory to Him. 

“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'” (Acts 2:38).

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,” (Acts 3:19).

Repentance is a choice to follow or ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit. Obeying the Holy Spirit will lead to repentance that will always result in heart change and a change of action. Repentance leads to life, and it is a necessary part of salvation. God commands everyone to repent and have faith in Christ.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7).

“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)

David dealt with the need for repentance from sin. In his famous psalm of repentance, David reminds us that God does not delight so much in the outward signs of repentance (which included making a sacrifice), but “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). We’re not talking about the shame and condemnation the enemy wants to heap on us, but a personal godly grief.

David uses three different words to describe his confession (32:5). He “acknowledged” his sin; he refused to “cover” his iniquity, and he was determined to “confess” his transgressions. In Psalm 51:4, David declares, “Against you [God], you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Although David took advantage of Bathsheba sexually, conspired to kill her husband, Uriah, disgraced his own family, and betrayed the trust of the nation Israel, he saw his sin as preeminently against God alone.

There is no cutting of corners or moral compromise. David makes no excuses, offers no rationalizations, and refuses to shift blame. (Sam Storms) 

We can be prone to going through the motions when it comes to repenting, but these passages show that the most important thing is the condition of our hearts. God loves it when we confess because it frees us from being separated from Jesus.       

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (John 1:9).

“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” (2 Peter 3:9).

In light of the scriptures, choosing unrepentance is, therefore, a serious sin with dire consequences. The unrepentant lives in a state of disobedience to God, choosing to continue to live in sin and ignore his gift of grace. These people will remain unsaved until they turn from their sin and embrace Christ’s sacrifice of death on the cross for the sins of all people.

The apostle Paul warned of the consequences of unrepentance: “Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God’ will repay each person according to what they have done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil” (Romans 2:5-9). 

There is a judgment coming. For those who believe in Christ and have chosen to live actively for Christ and not for themselves (repentant), their judgment will be of righteousness and beauty, but the consequences of unrepentance will be harsh.

“So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”‘ (Matthew 7:7-23).