Repentance is turning from worldliness and sin and turning to God. Sin is simply lawlessness; in this case living without or outside of God’s law. So, to repent is to turn away from sin and to God. It is both a process and a product. The process begins when we recognize that we have not been living as God would have us to live, and the product is finalized when we put those things behind us.
The apostles said to the multitude at the Temple: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19 — 21).
Paul noted to the Corinthians that sorrow might lead to repentance but that unfortunately sorrow and repentance were not the same thing.
“For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.
“For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing – that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication. In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2 Co. 7:8 — 11).
Therefore, as part of the pattern, obviously there exists a command that you must hear, that you must believe what you hear, and that you must repent of your trespasses against God. This is God’s demand not mine, and not mankind’s. Hear, believe, repent and be converted — those should sound familiar to you if you have read any of the New Testament or have read any of the essays posted on this site.