How Do You Know Your Repentance Worked?

I used to “repent” and feel so bad when I messed up, asking God to forgive me. I used to think that He would end up coming back the moment that I just sinned and without enough time to repent and ask for forgiveness, I would go to hell. I had very little knowledge of the scripture.

When I came to understand repentance, things changed. I used to feel bad, beat myself up, cry, use emotion and promise that I would never do it again lest I fall into “false repentance”. All these ideas I believed were far from the Truth. My ideas were mostly derived from Old Covenant history, rather than New Covenant reality.

The word “repent” (G3340), found in the new testament, and mostly in the words of Christ, means to “rethink, think differently, or change your thinking”. Because I believed that repentance involved an emotional response, I “felt” that I had not achieved a repentant heart until I had an emotional response. The worse I “rated” the sin, the “harder” I repented… always failing to remain true and becoming a repeat offender. It’s like I needed to convince the Father through my response that I was worthy enough to be forgiven. I wasn’t worthy even when my heart had proper motives.

I had many questions…
If repentance was “changing my mind”, what did that mean? How could I change my mind without at least feeling bad about what I did? How did I know when I had repented?
Repentance is simply believing who Christ is, what He did, and who you are in Him. When we align ourselves to what Christ did and who we are in Him, we have renewed our mind to the Truth. That is the good news of the Gospel. Not that we are perfect on our own accord, but that He sees perfection, because He sees Christ.

Our forgiveness is complete, finished, done. When He died on the cross for our sin, He paid for the whole lot; sin, not sins. When it says “sin” it is talking about ALL sin, not individual sins. ALL sin upon believing in Him, ALL the sin AFTER you believed in Him… AND even if you commit sin in the future. When He forgave you, He withheld nothing when He forgave [EVERY] sin. He even provided the forgiveness before you believed!! This means that forgiveness was always there from the moment of the cross to present day (and future). Forgiveness was always there because He provided it.

If we have to ask for forgiveness, that means that His forgiveness didn’t cover our sin the first time. Forgiveness is supplied already and once you believe, you walk in forgiveness. New covenant forgiveness has absolutely nothing to do with us and everything to do with Christ and what He already did! He wants us to live free, because we ARE. He doesn’t want to see us held by the bondage of having to continually approach Him for the forgiveness that He already provided.

Col 3:12-13 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Notice that Paul said “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” NOT “Forgive as the Lord forgives you.”

What does it matter if we ask for forgiveness?

If you feel the need to ask for forgiveness, carry on. But remember, forgiveness has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the one who provided forgiveness.

In regards to forgiving others, we are to walk in forgiveness, but that should be a non-issue once we understand what was forgiven for us. Even better, (and it may take time to get to this place in our journey) Pre-forgive others. It’s a pretty wild concept, but it requires understanding that it is possible to be unoffendable. BUT that is a topic for another post. Cheers!