To repent of sin is not the same as saying oops and then excuse yourself. It is much deeper, and goes much further down in the heart.
8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment– John 16:8, NET©
Jesus sent his successor, the Holy Spirit to us, who has the job to convict the world of sin. Many people has mistaken conviction with judging, but those two are different things.
When the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes, it is easy to be angry and resentful. The reason for this is that we confuse it with judgement and condemnation. Satan loves to mess around with our emotions, when the Holy Spirit is trying to help us. Satan will try to push feelings of condemnation on us. Don’t fall for that trick, it will alienate you from God.
When the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, he gives you a supernatural understanding that you have sinned. Why it is a sin, and that God has been grieved by your sin. And that you have committed evil against someone else, and that you are feeling bad because of it. Your conscience will always knock on the door, to urge you to repent from your sin.
A gift from God
4 Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4, NET©
True repentance is a gift from God. It is something that God, through the Holy Spirit, works in us when he wants to point out our committed sins, which He wants us to repent from, so that we can escape to be condemned for our iniquity. It is extremely important that we not resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit, when it comes. But if we do so we harden our hearts.
Below is a bible text explaining how true repentance from God works.
Divine sorrow unto salvation – 2 Corinthians 7:8-10, NET©
8 For even if I made you sad by my letter, I do not regret having written it even though I did regret it, for I see that my letter made you sad, though only for a short time.
9 Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us.
10 For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret, but worldly sadness brings about death.
A divine sorrow from God that wants to touch our hearts deeply. It is God pouring repentance into our hearts so that we can repent. This gives us a deep sorrow, if it is allowed to continue, it brings us unto salvation from sin.
Sorrow of the world
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have disobeyed what the LORD commanded and what you said as well. For I was afraid of the army, and I followed their wishes. 25 Now please forgive my sin! Go back with me so I can worship the LORD.” 1 Samuel 15:24-25, NET©
There is a story in the bible where king Saul would attack and take revenge on his enemies. Where the prophet Samuel had given strict orders on how it should be carried out. But Saul did not obey the instructions, but instead did it his own way. This had happened several times before while Saul was king. And finally, God speaks through the prophet Samuel, that God has rejected Saul because he had rejected the word of God. What is expressed in the verses above is the reaction of Saul. Saul becomes pitiful because of the consequences, and blames the people for breaking the instructions, while hoping for a light-hearted forgiveness. But God chooses to reject Saul because his repentance is not sincere. The remorse of the world, leads to death.
A sorrow from God
6 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil from your perspective; so that you are right in accusing me and justified in passing sentence. … 19 My sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; God, you won’t spurn a broken, chastened heart. Psalm 51:6, 19, CJB
We can read about king David in the bible, how he falls in love with another mans wife, and commits adultery with her. She becomes pregnant. In order to cover this up, David plans, and carries out an assassination on this man, Uriah. God sees all of this, and sends the prophet Nathan to confront king David. Instead of blame-shifting, David understands that he has sinned against God and repents. God gives him a broken heart with sincere remorse, through which God can forgive King David. According to the law of Moses king David was up for death penalty.
Sorrow: If we allow the Holy Spirit to do his work in us, after that we have been convicted of sin, and without resisting him, or denying our condition. Then God lets a sorrow be poured into our hearts, so we can mourn over our sin. If we can not mourn over our sin and our condition, then it’s over with us.
Regret: If we allow the divine sorrows to work in our hearts. According to the will of God, it leads to a true profound brokenness of our evil behavior. A remorse and regret, that is sincere before God.
Salvation: When we have a sincere remorse in our heart before God. Then the power of the cross can work in our lives, and our heart can be washed clean, and our debts can be extinct, and the mystery of Christ will save us from sin. In this mystery of Christ, we get a new heart created in us, that is pure and upright before God. This is where we receive righteousness as a gift from God, when the blood of Jesus has purified us through true repentance.