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6 Characteristics of Sincere Repentance

The Bible describes the process of genuine repentance and King David is an excellent example (2 Samuel 12:1-23).

David suffered punishments and consequences for his sins, but his genuine repentance, beautifully expressed in Psalm 51, restored his relationship with God.

If we don’t genuinely repent, we lose our discernment and distance ourselves from God.

Those who genuinely repent:

1. Know the gravity of their sin and feel genuine sorrow (James 4:7-10).

2. Know they deserve punishment (Hebrews 12:6).

3. Know they’ve sinned against a holy God (Psalm 51:4).

4. Are grateful they’re forgiven and delivered from eternal punishment (Psalm 103:10; Romans 6:23).

5. Understand forgiveness does not free them from earthly consequences and punishment (Psalm 51:12-13(1); 1 Corinthians 11:32; Hebrews 12:11; 1 Peter 4:17).(2)

6. Make restitution and confession when possible and necessary (Matthew 3:8; Luke 19:8; Acts 19:18-19; Acts 26:20; James 5:16).

Those who genuinely repent don’t minimize what they’ve done by calling it a “mistake” or making excuses. They understand the high price Christ paid for their forgiveness.Note: Some might consider this a terrible thing for God to punish the infant son for David’s sins, but the son would not actually be punished. The Bible does not directly state it, but it implies that children before the age of accountability go to be with the Lord. That means this son of David’s would be spared the sorrow and unhappiness of David’s household. But David would suffer for the loss, knowing it was caused by his sin. It’s important to note that this was a punishment God specifically gave David, not a consequence. Children born out of wedlock do not normally die in infancy.


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