True Repentance Vs False Repentance In the Bible

Often, those of us who once wander life away from God and his will go through moments that lead us to seek God.

Everything seems to indicate that we are living an experience of repentance, but suddenly, we turn away from God again.

There are many possible explanations for this event.

Today I’d like to talk to you about one of them.

With this, I will explain to you what true repentance is, and how it differs from the pain or suffering caused by our own sin.

To do so, I would like to share a short bible fragment that I think reflects this theme well:

Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron.

“This time I have sinned,” he said to them.

“The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.

Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail.

I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.”

When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts.

So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.

Exodus‬ ‭9:27-28, 34-35‬

In the previous text, God had asked, on multiple occasions and with various pieces of evidence, the pharaoh to let the people of Israel go from the land of Egypt.

However, at every request and proof of God’s power, Pharaoh refused and stubbornly continued to prevent their departure.

At one point, after the hail plague that killed so many Egyptians and so many animals of his; Pharaoh calls Moses and expresses those words to him. This time I have sinned, (…) The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.”

As I read them, it seems moving to think that Pharaoh finally received God’s correction and accepted his wickedness, acknowledging his sin and accepting the opportunity for salvation that God was offering him.

However, after reading, we notice that as soon as the calamity passed, Pharaoh departed from his first determination, from his word, and did not want to let them go.

This is what I have called suffering caused by sin.

Human beings, when we disobey God, cause harm to ourselves and bring evils upon our being.

These circumstances make life hard, sad, and difficult.

Seeing ourselves hopeless and unable to do anything for ourselves to solve our situation, we often turn to God.

The motivation that leads us to this fact cannot necessarily be recognized as genuine repentance, but it is an action motivated by a desire for self-preservation.

We don’t really want God, we just want what God can do for us.

We don’t want to be with him and hear his voice, we just want our pain and suffering to disappear.

Sadly, as soon as that happens; as soon as God helps us and withdraws that which afflicts us; we are walking away from him again.

We were not moved by true repentance.

We were moved by selfishness.


There was no love for God there.

This is not to say that true repentance cannot be related, or accompanied by suffering caused by sin.

Nor does it mean that suffering caused by sin cannot motivate us toward genuine repentance.

What I want to clarify is that they are two different things.

True repentance is a gift from God, which we humbly ask to be imparted to us by his Spirit.

The human heart in sin is foolish, evil, and obstinate.

It is hostile to God by nature.

That is why only the power of God and his influence on the person of the Holy Spirit can help us turn to Him.

The experience of genuine repentance involves a determination and desire to depart from the action, or the vile actions, previously perpetrated.

It implies contempt for those things that we previously thought were right for us.

It implies a distrust in ourselves to achieve success in overcoming sin, and complete dependence on God.

It implies a sadness, not only for the consequences of our wrongdoings, but for the fact that we ever committed them.

This is because we get to see the evil of our being.

None of us can defeat the flesh.

Only the power of God can work that in us.

Now, if you are going through a situation where you experience suffering caused by your sin, don’t be discouraged after reading these lines.

I don’t want you to think that your situations are invalid or that God is not interested in your experience.

All the opposite, you have taken an important step.

Now your next step is to turn to God to ask him to grant you genuine repentance.

This way your heart can be free from sin and with God’s help, you will never return to it again.

And what do you think? Are you going through a circumstance where you don’t know if you experience genuine repentance? What is your experience? Share in the comments.

A hug, God bless you.

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