Repentance vs. Remorse

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“Where there is no repentance there can be no remission.”

In church, the pastor always tells the people to repent or turn away from sin and God will forgive you. Then I‘ve always heard people say “If you’re truly sorry for your sins, God will forgive you.” So from putting these two things together, I’ve always understood the word repent to mean “say I’m sorry.” As I was listening to a Lauryn Hill song, I heard the sentence “Where there is no repentance there can be no remission.” For some reason, even though I’ve listened to the song many times, that sentence really stuck out today. So I wrote it down, and while looking at it I decided to break it down further. I looked up the words repentance and remission in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. What surprised me was that the definition of the word repent has nothing to do with saying or even being “sorry.” So I realized no matter how many times I tell God I’m sorry, it will never make a difference if I don’t know what it means to truly repent. Repent does, however, mean; to turn away from sin and resolve to reform one’s life. To further break it down, I looked up the words resolve and reform. Resolve means “to determine; decide.” Reform, however, has many definitions applicable to the word repent; 1). To make better or improve by removal of faults. 2).To correct or improve one’s own character or habits. 3). Improvement or correction of what is corrupt or defective. So from this analysis of the word repent, I have learned that God does not desire my remorseful apology, but rather that I turn away from my sin(s). To turn away from means I must stop doing, just as it is impossible to face both east and west simultaneously. So to replace the word repentance with these definitions, the sentence now reads; where there is no turning away from sin and deciding/ determining to improve my life and character by removal of fault and improvement of what is corrupt or defective within me, there can be no...
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