Repentance represents heartfelt sorrow for sin, renouncement of it, and sincere commitment to forsake it as we walk in obedience to Christ.
2 Corinthians 7:7-10
and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
Paul differentiates between repentance and regret.
Repentance is from God, a sorrow that draws people closer to God and brings them to a place of confessing and forsaking sin. Regret is of the world; it drives people away from God. Peter denied knowing Christ; he showed true repentance and was forgiven. Judas betrayed Jesus; he showed regret and took his own life.
Too often, we only connect repentance to salvation. Do Christians need to repent? Jesus said that we do. Jesus said to His disciples, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3) And in the Lord’s Prayer, He tells us to ask for forgiveness for our sins.
Christians need to repent, not for salvation, but for restoration of close fellowship with God. In Revelation, Jesus tells the church at Laodicea to repent. He also tells us that he is standing outside, knocking on the door, wanting to be invited in so we can experience a time of deep fellowship. Christ’s rightful position is always inside!