True Repentance and Conversion v. False Repentance and Conversion


**From the desk of Sew Perfect **(That’s not a typo. It’s her user name.)

Repentance or True Conversion means abandoning oneself to the grace God. It means a full surrender to His love and care. It means we lean into His grace while turning away from the things that have distracted our hearts from Him. It means truly resting in His finished work on the cross. Jesus talks about true repentance/ conversion in John 12 chapter 25, to be exact. But, read John 12:20-26 in whole. Also read Matthew 10:39 - “Whoever finds his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for My sake will find it”. Romans 6:11 “So you must also consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus”. Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” True conversion is to live for Christ. It is the only way to live a fruitful life, Colossians 3. John 15:5, John 15:16 - Obedience to God the Father. So then we must ask ourselves, “How can the world witness the glory of Jesus in my life? Have I died to my agenda?” How can one live like the world and still bear good fruit? Remember, Jesus is the vine. He tells us we will know a person’s heart by the fruit they bear. In Matthew (I cannot think of exactly where, so if you find it tell me), Jesus talks about the seeds planted and they begin to grow. But, as soon as things go wrong, the plant dies. He talks about this being a sign of false repentance/conversion versus true repentance/conversion because the plant dying or living shows our true heart.

False repentance/conversion is outer. We try to manage our sin in our own. Sure, it can be very sorrowful, but we have to examine ourselves and ask God to change our hearts, not our outside. Read Isaiah 30:15. “In repentance and rest in your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” I love it because it accurately depicts our need for Christ, as well as our resistance to doing life His way. It is amazing how we can make managing our sin look like it’s true repentance. Don’t be fooled - it’s not. “After all, I feel bad; I feel really sorry for what I’ve done and how I’ve lived my life. But if I say a little prayer asking God into my life and heart, I can go out into the world and live like I did before and still be saved because I asked God into my life and heart with that prayer. I was so sorry and I am changed/saved for it.” This is false repentance and conversion. False repentance/conversions lead us further from the cross and away from Christ. False repentance is trying to solve our problem with sin with our own methods and means instead of truly relying on Jesus, which is exactly the image that is put before us in Isaiah 30:12-17. Versus 13 and 14 shows how devastating our sin really is. “This sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant. It will break in pieces like a pottery, shattered to mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found.” Then verse 15 goes on to say, “but you would have none of it.” We get the answer for the reason why in verse 16. “You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses…we will ride off on swift horses’”. Often, it seems we are doing something proactive about our sin. Read Jeremiah 2:13.

False repentance/conversion is nothing new. Jesus encountered it with the Pharisees and called them out I the strongest way possible by cursing them. Matthew 23:27-28. Also, read Luke 18 where two parables are talked about with Jesus. We get a glimpse into the hearts of six types of people: a widow, a tax collector, a Pharisee, a group of children, a rich man, and a blind man. What do these exchanges teach us about humility, performance, and repentance? False believers blend in with the world. True believers live out the Gospel and share it with unbelievers, and will be called out for it.

The scriptures are filled with warnings of false repentance/conversion. Jesus has addressed it so we are also able to recognize it.

Also, when we are tested it verifies our allegiance to God. ( Genesis 22:1-2 is a good example) God’s tests may come unannounced, but they are not unexpected. Read 1 Peter 4:12-13. When we are tested it proves the depth of our obedience to God. Obedience expresses faith of a devoted worshiper.