Is repentance / confession for a Christian one time or many?

Readers Question / Comment - Repentance and confession for a Christian - one time or many?


Thanks for your website it is wonderful, I benefit a lot out of it. Please elaborate the difference between repentance and confession of sin. My understanding of it is :

Repentance one time at the time of regeneration but confession of sin is for life time of a Christian life. No confession before becoming a born again Christian as we used to it as a cultural Christian. Please shade your light on this very important subject.

Once again thank for your ministry,

JPN Reply:


thanks for the email and glad you enjoy the site!

Repentance and confession...

I wouldn't personally try to separate the two and have one for salvation and the other for all of the Christian life. To me they are meant to go hand in hand and confession should lead to repentance. Let's have a look at some scriptures -

Initial confession of the Lord at salvation (I don't see verses that speak of confessing your sins at salvation)

Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; (10) for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

1 Timothy 6:12-13 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (13) I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate...

Ongoing confession of sin as a Christian:

1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What about repentance? Repentance could be defined as changing your mind leading to a change in direction. It to is a part of salvation and is directed also at born again Christians who get off track. Some examples:

Initial repentance at Salvation:

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 15:7 "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."

Ongoing repentance as a Christian:
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. (10) For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Revelation 2:4-5 'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. (5) 'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent.

Revelation 3:3 'So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
I would certainly agree that we don't 'confess our sins' before becoming a born again Christian and that any of this without a personal faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus is pointless.

Hope this helps. I hope you can see there is Biblical evidence that both confession and repentance for salvation and as Christians. It is important to also point out that there is a 'once and for all' forgiveness that comes from the Lord as salvation (where He is acting as Judge) as well as an ongoing forgiveness 'within the family' now that God is your Father. This thought is tied in with this one. Have a read of this here if interested. It is an important topic:

Is forgiveness once and for all or continual? 

All the best.

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