So lets start by seeing what repentance means. In Hebrew, the word is tawshuba, which means to turn around or change your mind. It is used in the "days of awe", which are the 10 days between Roshashana and the Day of Attonement.
In Greek, the word is metanoeo, which means to think differently or reconsider. So we see that the Bible defines repentance as turning around...thinking different.
So how do we do that? All of us are born in sin. That is a place we live, not so much actions we make, even though we will all commit sin. Adam is our earthly father, and by his fall, sin entered the perfect world that God had fashioned. So the Bible tells us:
Ro 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
When Jesus came, the Bible calls him the second Adam: 1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
If we then come to God in the way that He has given us, we shall be saved and live in His righteousness. That way is through Jesus the Christ. He came of His own choice to the earth to live, suffer, die, and be resurrected. He was the Son of God.
So when we accept Jesus as our savior, His blood cleanses us from all sin, 1 Jn 1:7
Ro 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
That places us in a new "place"....rather than our old habitation of sin, we can now live in a place of righteousness. 2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
So now lets look at what Jesus said about repentance. Luke 15:1 ¶ Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
When you look at this parable, you will see that the lost sheep did nothing. The shepherd did it all.
And so it is with us, Jesus has paid the payment for our salvation by giving his life for us.
Jn 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosover believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Here again, all the work to find the coin was done by the woman. The coin could do nothing. Yet Jesus called this repentance.
It is Jesus who can get us turned around and into the thinking that will allow Him to lead us in His ways.
Further in Luke 15 you see the parable of the prodigal son. He took his inheritance and left home and blew it all in wild living. He ended up feeding pigs to survive (the very bottom for a Jew). He was hungry and eating some of the pigs slop to survive. He decided to go back to his father who's very servants lived much better than he was.
He decided that he would go to his father and say, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. And am no more worthy to be called they son: make me as one of they hired servants." When he approached home, his father saw him a long way off, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
The son tried to say what he had rehearsed, but his father said to the servants, "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found."
This shows the mercy, compassion, and Grace of God on those who have walked away from Him.
You see back when God gave the law (rules to live by), that was when Israel was in the wilderness. God came in His Glory and pronounced the commandments. The 1st ten were written in stone (the 10 Commandments) and told what must be done to honor God and man. There were another 603 ordinances added for just about every occasion and how to sacrifice in order to be in right standing with God.
The law was perfect. But, man was not. Before Moses came down from the Holy Mt. Sinai, the people had made a golden calf and worshipped it. This breaks the first 2 of the big 10.
It seems that the harder man tries to keep the commandments of God, the harder he falls.
God knew that the covenant of the law was not going to save man. So the new covenant that He made was not dependent on man, but on Himself. God promised by His prophets that He would send a Messiah that would be a savior. This would be God in man who would live a perfect life.
Mt 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of course, this was Jesus, who lived a perfect life and became our savior.
He bought for us with His life and blood, salvation, health, and prosperity. Accepting Him gives us his peace, and life eternal with Him.
There is no other means to come to God. Jn 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
Grace = God's Riches At Christ's Expense.
God has many precious promises in His Word. He cannot lie. Find them and claim them for your life.
If you have not ever come to Jesus, you must believe that He is the savior, ask Him for his forgiveness and believe on him.
Rm 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
His forgiveness is absolute and forever. Rm 5:1 ¶ Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Ro 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
God still hates sin. But, when you fall short, Jesus' blood covers you. He will guide you by His Spirit in you. He will never condemn you because Jesus took that condemnation at the cross. By the Grace of Jesus you can live in victory and accomplish what God has planned for your life.
Some expect God's judgment for sin and are always trying to confess their sins and put them under the blood. Many churches teach this and that if you have unconfessed sin, judgement is coming. But, the gospel teaches us that God's justice and judgment was poured out on Jesus at the cross. His wrath was completed for the sins of men. If one does not accept Jesus, they are outside of this covenant.
If Jesus lives inside you, God will not be angry with you...ever. In this covenant He writes His laws in your heart, He gives you His mind, He leads you in all truth.
Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
The only way to walk righteous before God is to accept the finished work of Jesus and His gift of righteousness to you. It is futile to believe that you can live by the law to please God, no one ever has except Jesus. Our righteousness is a filthy rags. We must accept the righteousness of Jesus by faith and live in it.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
So to sum it up by the simple gospel preached by Paul who wrote 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament:
You cannot justify yourself before God.
You must accept God's salvation, which is Jesus in you.
This is done by faith, it cannot be earned.
Accept Jesus' finished work and His righteousness and live in His peace.
Walking with Jesus requires that your thinking aligns with these truths; this is repentance.
All quotes from the KJV. Art from Internet.