What Does Repentance Look Like?


The simple definition of repentance that I remember from church is, “To turn around.” I see this theme emphasized literally and figuratively in the book of Jonah.

In chapter one, Jonah disobeys God’s word to go to Nineveh. In fact, Jonah goes in the opposite direction from Nineveh. Chapter two is Jonah’s story of coming to repentance. Chapter three is a picture of Jonah turning around and heading straight to Nineveh. Chapter 4 is God’s correction of Jonah’s thinking and God’s softening of Jonah’s heart to beat in unison with His heart.

The lessons in the Old Testament never get old. Chapter three shares the signs of true repentance expressed by Jonah, the people of Nineveh, and the king of Nineveh.

1) Vs. 3  Obey God’s word.

2) Vs. 3  Do things differently from the past.

3) Vs. 5  Believe God’s word.

4) Vs. 5  Mourn over one’s sins.

5) Vs. 6-7  Set the right and godly example for others to emulate.

6) Vs. 8  Stop sinning.

7) Vs. 8  Ask God for mercy and forgiveness.

8) Vs. 5-8  Align our priorities with God’s will for our lives.

May we draw closer to God through the repentance of sin. God’s heart is for us to enjoy the safety, the purpose and the joy of a life lived fully for Him, unhindered by sin.

Jonah 3:1-5

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important important city—a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 



15 thoughts on “What Does Repentance Look Like?

    • For the most part, I can easily recognize the sin in my life. It is walking out the repentance without looking back that is the challenge for me! I agree with your comment. Imagine the number of people that would be drawn to church if Christians were always the example of true repentance.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you Debbie and very True Repentance is turning away from evil and seeking to do good by the empowering of the Holy Spirit but this is something we can’t do in the Carnal flesh.

    I hope you don’t mind Debbie but I would like to share a whole Chapter of Scripture that confirms this Truth, yes we can choose to walk in the Spirit or the flesh and what we choose shows our Unity in Christ Jesus or that our carnal flesh is in control which we are to put to death so we can live Victoriously and Jesus has set us free from the slavery of sin so we can do this, the Old Testament Saints had the promise but we have the reality in Him which will be shown in our lives.

    Romans 8: 1-39 There is therefore now no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

    3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

    4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

    6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be Spiritually minded is Life and Peace.

    7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

    8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

    9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.

    10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

    11 But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

    13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

    14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons\Daughters of God.

    15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

    16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

    17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.

    18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

    19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

    20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in Hope,

    21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

    22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

    23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

    24 For we are saved by Hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

    25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

    26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

    27 And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the Saints according to the will of God.

    28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that Love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

    29 For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    30 Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.

    31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

    32 He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

    33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

    34 Who is He that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

    35 Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

    36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

    37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that Loved us.

    38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor Principalities, nor Powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

    39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (KJV)

    Christian Love Always – Anne.


    • Anne, Yeah… your comment got through WordPress without me having to approve it! You are always welcome to share Scripture as that is the reason for the blog: to share God’s truths for today.

      What a great chapter to show the benefits of true repentance. To summarize, here is what I read in Romans 8:
      Co-heirs with Christ
      Adopted by God
      Freedom from sin
      God’s promises fulfilled in us
      Eternal life through the Holy Spirit
      God’s glory revealed in us
      Intercession by the Holy Spirit on our behalf
      Conformed to Christ
      Always God’s own
      We are loved

      What a beautiful chapter that draws us closer to our God!


  2. Hubert writes

    I may be a bit of a different sort, thats okay with me. I laugh every time I read or think of Jonah and his antics, anger and actions. Maybe he reminds me of me. I can see him on that hill miserably waiting on God to wipe out Nineveh, I can see Gods amusement too, watching his angry son carrying on as he did. My favourite verse in Jonah is, “those who regard the idol forsake their own mercy” its not clear to many today what an idol might be, but Paul in Ephesians shows us that it can be covetousness, wanting whatever in this world, things that please out lustful flesh, eyes, or the pride of our lives.

    Thank you for visiting my blogsite

    God bless your day



    • I have to admit that the first time I read Chapter 4 of Jonah, I didn’t get it. I can relate to it by thinking about movies where we want to see justice done: the bad guys get what they deserve and the good guys live happily ever after. God has a way of catching our attention to point out that without Jesus, we are all the bad guys. Thank God that we can experience God’s grace and mercy just like Nineveh!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hubert writes

        Hi Debbie, wow I’m sorry its been two months since you posted your comment and I just found it today. You are right thank God for ever ounce of Grace and Mercy we receive we so badly need it all

        May He bless your day and fill you to overflowing with his spirit and love


  3. bjsscribbles

    To understand and learn what is about in the bible has been an experience. I just read your study on repentance and thought it very thought provoking for me a new understanding. I thank God for everything and the way he changed my life. I find it hard learning a new way of life when all I know are not Christians in my family. I pray to God for help along those lines, I just ride it out for now till I understand God further.


    • We will always be learning from God as long as we are here on earth! Every time I open my Bible, there is fresh revelation and a message I need to hear! Only in heaven will we know fully.(1 Corinthians 13:12:”Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”) It may not always feel wonderful, but how wonderful that you can be and are a witness of Jesus’s love to your family. Keep on keeping on!

      Liked by 1 person

      • bjsscribbles

        The more I get into the Bible the more I learn, the more I need to know. I have one daughter who is into Tarot cards, I wish she would put them down, she 40. I prayed again for her to see the wrong in them. But we never knew God when they were growing up.


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