Repent or Ask Forgiveness…Is it the Same Thing?

Hello everyone. I am going to try and keep this first post of the year short 🙂

After church a couple weeks ago I was asked a question; “is there anywhere in the Bible where we are told to ask God for forgiveness?” Now I had already recognized this issue as one that has permeated Christendom, but after being asked this question I thought I should address it on the blog.

So, repent or ask forgiveness? Is it the same thing? Does God require a request for forgiveness or does he require repentance?  I submit another question. If it is repentance, then when was the church ever given the authority to replace repentance with requesting forgiveness? Something to think about isn’t it? Let’s dig in.


The Hebrew word for repent is שׁוּב [shûb (prounounced shoob)]; it means to turn away.

The Greek word for repent is μετανοέω [metanoeō (pronounced met-an-o-eh’-o)]. It means to think differently, to reconsider (morally to feel compunction).

The word translated repentance in the New Testament is the Greek word μετάνοια [Metanoia (pronounced met-an’-oy-ah)]. It means compunction for guilt.

Jesus said, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luk 24:46-47

Remission is the Greek word ἄφεσις [aphesis (pronounced af’-es-is)]. It means freedom; (figuratively) pardon: – deliverance, forgiveness…

We do not pardon ourselves, God pardons or forgives us. By God’s law there is no remission without the shedding of blood; therefore, without repentance (compunction for our sins committed against God) and believing that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son who came to redeem us through his death on the cross AND resurrection we will not receive remission of our sins.

Repentance is much deeper than a superficial “I’m sorry” or spur of the moment “forgive me.” It does not matter how many times we say “forgive me Lord,” without true repentance, a change of heart/a true turning away from sin, we are just beating our gums. Repent and believe is the order God has set.

When we reduced this to a simple act of “just ask God into your heart” or “just ask God to forgive you” without stressing the importance and requirement of heartfelt repentance (compunction for sins committed against God) we have sinners walk away from church altars unchanged. We send them away from baptismals as wet sinners. Worse yet, we erase the need to repent and truly believe in Christ’s work, thus sending them away “thinking” themselves right with God because the preacher said so…when in actuality the Lord still awaits their repentance with a heart truly turned devotedly to Him.

A testimony or a sermon may scare you, but did it scare you to repentance?

You heard a word and were made sorry, but are you sorry to repentance?

You may even have been moved to tears, but are you moved to repentance?

We can be sorry for a lot of things, sorry we got caught etc… but God requires us to repent, to turn away from our wicked ways.

A heavy price was paid for us to receive God’s remission (forgiveness) of our sins. Do you believe it?

Repent and believe is the message the church has for unbelievers. Repent and believe.

If we water it down, take the meat out of it, etc… then woe unto us, because that is not what the Lord told us to do.

God did not tell us to merely ask him for forgiveness. He tells us to repent, and repent we must. He tells us to believe in Jesus’ Christ His Son, who died for our sins and was raised from the dead, and believe we must.

We do what is required of us, repent and believe, and we can trust that God will do His part and forgive. 1 John 1:9

God bless you!

Until next time,

22 thoughts on “Repent or Ask Forgiveness…Is it the Same Thing?

  1. Alan Burke

    But who can remember all the sins they have committed to say they repent off? If you can’t recall all the sins that you have committed then is it not a lie to say you repent ? How can you repent of a sin you can not recall ? And who can recall every sin they have committed?

    1. Hello Alan,
      Thank you for your question.
      None of us can recall “every” single sin we have ever committed, and God knows this.
      We can, however, have godly sorrow and repent for living a life contrary to the will of God. We repent for our sins (remembered or not) committed against a Holy God.
      God is not foolish. We must not let the enemy use minor things to tangle our hearts and minds to a stand still, so that we miss the point altogether.
      To repent, in short means… to turn from the path that you’re on, and head in the opposite direction. Simply cease walking on the path that leads to eternal destruction, and start walking towards God. You’ll find (if you’re worried about many sins) that it’s Jesus who makes the change in you, Not you yourself. And it is written… “to whom much is forgiven, the same loves much.”

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
      God bless you!

      1. Alan Burke

        Thank you very much for your kind reply and insight, I’m really new to all this so forgive for my ignorance, all love to our Lord jesus! Amen.

        1. You are most welcome Alan. I thank you for your sharing your thoughts and questions.
          All is well, nothing to forgive ;).
          God bless you!!

  2. Fred toney

    DiscipleAnd Christian, It’s not right to blame the issue of repentance on the Church, because the Church Is the bride of Christ.Maybe I’m wrong and maybe you are referring to the So Uncalled churches that Are not the bride of Christ?

    1. Hello Fred,
      Thank you for taking time to read and comment on the post. This issue with repentance is a problem created by this modern day church that is the norm today. There is absolutely nothing wrong with God’s Church (The Bride of Christ). The Bride of Christ will tell the truth, not water down truth to appease the flesh of those bound for hell. The sad thing is that so many are a part of this modern day church, but not a part of The Bride of Christ. I know of some pastors, who are nice people and say they believe God, but they don’t have the guts to tell the straight truth; therefore, through zipped lips they allow people to “think” themselves right with God and live with false confidence. So for such leaders as this of the modern church, what would God say? Narrow is the Way…and Only a FEW find it.
      Thanks again for your comment.
      God bless you 🙂

  3. Eilif Jacobson

    Hello I can’t view my old comment, but I was questioning how anyone can truly turn completely from sin and how to know if we are truly repentant, but I went over this with my mother, and I think I better understand now what you were saying, I think you are talking more about not abusing Gods grace and acting like your sin doesn’t matter as long as you just say “forgive me,” but rather truly knowing and admitting that you were wrong, and wanting to change. It just stressed me out a little bit because I know I’ve committed some sins multiple times, (and still struggle fighting some) and I was questioning if I was truly forgiven, because I obviously haven’t fully turned, but I think I understand now it’s about the fact that my heart doesn’t want to sin and that I do want to change, and that at least for the time I have turned even if I fall down, I get back up and try again rather than just accepting that my sin is unavoidable and continuing to live in it, I fight and pray for strength to change. Am I correct about what you were saying?

    1. Elaine Cole

      Repentance is when you ask for forgiveness with a heart to be changed. You turn away from your sins. This is a process that the Holy Spirit takes us through as we are sanctified. We are changed gradually and it is a change of heart. Salvation is not works based and we will make mistakes, but we will not willfully sin. But if we do, we will be repentant at heart over the sin. As the Holy Spirit continues to empower us, we will overcome those struggles but we will need Grace to walk this Holy walk. Grace is unearned favor. We have peace with God through Jesus Christ alone.

  4. Eilif Jacobson

    How does anyone truly repent? Because no one is ever perfect, so our turning from sins will never be complete, at this point how do we even know if we are covered by Gods grace or not, I’m asking because I have multiple occasions where I fear that I’m not truly saved, even though I believe in Jesus, which is what the Bible repeatedly tells us is all it takes, I try to confess my sins, and ask forgiveness (which is Biblical) Matthew:6-12 “And forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors.” In the end none of us will ever turn from every sin, so where do we draw the line of what repentance is, and how we are saved? especially when the Bible seems to make faith the only requirement.

    1. Sean Jackson

      IT has to come from the root of the heart You will feel the Lords divine peace and mercy . God wants you to have genuine sorrow a renewal of the mind and a want to change whole heartedly. Read Luke 7:47 I hope this helps Godbless u

    2. Stephen Jackson

      Repentance has to come from the root of the heart.God wants genuine
      Sorrow and a want to change whole heartedly.Try reading Luke 7:47
      When your saved you will always feel conviction this is the holy spirit warning you. Stay in prayer always
      When ever your tempted the devil’s like a roaring lion. Godbless u hope this helps.

  5. Karen Edwards

    I was reading a book expanding on 1john says ” Did you know that in the new testament God didn’t tell us to ask for forgiveness? Asking him for forgiveness is like asking him to save you. Think about it if you asked for forgiveness, when will you know he has answered. You received forgiveness you don’t ask for it, because the blood of Jesus Christ was shed for the remission of your sins. Christians are always asking for forgiveness, and because they’re asking for something that has been provided for, they don’t apply faith. Now I realized that forgiveness is not the same as repentance.

    I had gone to research this reading and that’s when I found u. Give
    some more light on it for me.

    1. Hello Karen,
      True. The Bible tells us to repent, to turn away from our sin(s). It has been watered down today until saying “forgive me Lord” is used like a blanket.
      But we have to follow the order God has set; there’s no way around it.
      Thank you for reading and commenting on the post. I am happy you found it beneficial.
      God bless you!

  6. Juanita, God has been putting this same thought in my heart lately. Thank you for using scripture to make this important distinction. The heart posture of repentance goes so much deeper than saying I’m sorry. God bless you! Powerful word!

    1. Hello Melissa,
      Thank you for taking time to read and comment on the post. I think the removal of repentance is major, and many don’t realize it–hence the Ravenhill quote. Many have fallen for the Okeedoke because the removal of repentance has been subtle and a most clever trick of the Enemy.
      God bless you!

      1. A most clever trick indeed. Thank you for your deep thinking and discerning spirit. Your fervor for Christ is an inspiration!

      2. A clever trick indeed. Thank you for your discerning spirit and diligence in thinking deeply about God’s Word and our response to His holiness and grace. You are an inspiration!

        1. To encourage others in “The Way” is why God has me here. I thank the Lord for choosing me to work in this part of His vineyard 😉
          Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. God bless you!

  7. Amy

    So repentance is a step further than asking forgiveness. I never thought of it that way!

    1. Hello Amy,
      Oh yes, repentance is deeper than our normal view of asking forgiveness. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!
      God bless you 🙂


    AMEN, AMEN, and AMEN!

    1. Hello Rodney,
      🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!
      God bless you

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