Sermon quotes on repentance

William Booth

I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.

John Calvin

Can true repentance exist without faith? By no means. But although they cannot be separated, they ought to be distinguished.

Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, Chapter 4.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Lack of repentance is the root cause of powerlessness in the church, in this materialistic, self-indulgent age. There can be no spiritual power in a non-repentant church.

The Cost of Discipleship 

Fyodor Dostoevsky

There is no sin, and there can be no sin on all the earth, which the Lord will not forgive to the truly repentant! Man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the infinite love of God. Can there be a sin which could exceed the love of God?

The Brothers Karamazov

Adolf Eichmann

Repentance is for little children (For contrast).

Timothy Keller

Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. Joy-based repentance makes us hate the sin.

C.S. Lewis

I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.

Surprised by Joy


Martin Luther

The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation.

Alan Redpath

It’s Satan’s delight to tell me that once he’s got me, he will keep me. But at that moment I can go back to God. And I know that if I confess my sins, God is faithful and just to forgive me.

Frederick William Robertson

A heart renewed–a loving heart–a penitent and humble heart–a heart broken and contrite, purified by love–that and only that is the rest of men. Spotlessness may do for angels, repentance unto life is the highest that belongs to man.

R.C Sproul

We can invent a God who forgives everybody without requiring repentance. All such avenues are established in delusion.

Jeremy Taylor

It is the greatest and dearest blessing that ever God gave to men, that they may repent; and therefore to deny or to delay it is to refuse health when brought by the skill of the physician – to refuse liberty offered to us by our gracious Lord.

A.W. Tozer

Repentance isn’t only sorrow for past sins, it’s also a determination to now do the will of God as He reveals it to us.

Philip Yancey

Repentance, not proper behavior or even holiness, is the doorway to grace. And the opposite of sin is grace, not virtue.


What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Jen Wilkin

The most basic act of wisdom is repentance.

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character, Crossway.

Eugene Peterson

Repentance is a realization that what God wants from you and what you want from God are not going to be achieved by doing the same old things, thinking the same old thoughts. Repentance is a decision to follow Jesus Christ and become his pilgrim in the path of peace.

Taken from Run with the Horses by Eugene H. Peterson. ©2009, 2019 by Eugene H. Peterson.  Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL  60515-1426.

Eugene Peterson

Repentance is not an emotion. It is not feeling sorry for your sins. It is a decision.

Taken from Run with the Horses by Eugene H. Peterson. ©2009, 2019 by Eugene H. Peterson.  Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL  60515-1426.

Martin Luther

Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, by saying: Repent, intended that the whole life of believers should be repentance.”

95 Theses, 1st Thesis

Jim Rohn

If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.

Kallistos Ware

Correctly understood, repentance is not negative but positive. It means, not self-pity or remorse, but conversion, the re-centering of our whole life upon the Trinity. It is to look, not backward with regret, but forward with hope – not downwards at our own shortcomings, but upwards at God’s love. It is to see, not what we have failed to be, but what by divine grace we can now become; and it is to act upon what we see. To repent is to open our eyes to the light. In this sense, repentance is not just a single act, an initial step, but a continuing state, an attitude of heart and will that needs to be ceaselessly renewed up to the end of life.

The Orthodox Way

Clement of Alexandria

Therefore let us repent and pass from ignorance to knowledge, from foolishness to wisdom, from licentiousness to self-control, from injustice to righteousness, from godlessness to God.

Robert South

Repentance has a double aspect; it looks upon things past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a watchful eye.  

John Ortberg

Repenting is a gift God gives us for our own sake, not his.  Repenting does not increase God’s desire to be with us.  It increases our capacity to be with him.

The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010).


Before a man can do things there must be things he will not do.

Charles G. Finney

Repentance is a change of willing, of feeling and of living, in respect to God.

Eugene Peterson

God’s arrows are judgments aimed at provoking repentance.

Taken from A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by  Eugene Peterson Copyright (c) 1980, 2000 by Eugene Peterson. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Jen Pollock Michel

I greeted repentance like a ship on the horizon of the future and believed I could sovereignly determine its anchoring. But the prodigal return came earlier than projected.

Taken from Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition, and the Life of Faith by Jen Pollock Michel Copyright (c) 2014 by Jen Pollock Michel. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

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