The Difference Between Remorse, Guilt, Regret, and Repentance

The Difference Between Remorse, Guilt, Regret, and Repentance

Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
— Matthew 27:3-5

In yesterday’s Sparkling Gem, I started talking about the subject repentance. Over the next few days, I’d like to continue to explore this all-important subject further with you, because so many don’t really understand what true repentance is or why it’s so foundational and necessary to the Christian walk.

I remember an experience as a young boy growing up in church that made a huge impact on my life and helped me understand the vast difference between two words: remorse and true repentance. Each year we had annual revival meetings in our church. It was at one of these revival meetings that I heard an evangelist preach about hell, and I became so convicted of my sin that I committed my life to Jesus. However, not long after I walked the aisle and received Christ, I began to seriously doubt whether I had really been saved. This doubt stemmed from watching what happened when others got saved, which was entirely different from my own personal experience. Adults often wept and wept when they bowed at the altar, but I didn’t shed a tear the day I got saved. Preying on my insecurity and fears, the devil began to torment me every day with thoughts, such as:

  • Why didn’t you cry when you came forward to give your heart to Christ?
  • Maybe you’re not really saved!
  • If you were really sincere, shouldn’t you have cried like all the others did when they repented and got saved?

As time passed, I began to notice a very important trend. Frequently the people who cried buckets of tears at the altar were the same people who came forward in the altar calls each year during revival meetings. Growing up in church gives a person time to watch people and learn — and I began to recognize that many of these criers were the same people each year. I noticed that after they walked out the back door of the church, many of them didn’t show their faces in church again until the next year’s revival meeting. Then once again, they ended up back on their knees at the altar — crying buckets of tears and profusely sobbing. Finally, it dawned on me what was happening!

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Sparkling Gems 2 by Rick RennerAuthor and Bible teacher Rick Renner invested thousands of hours into prayer and study in the writing of Sparkling Gems From the Greek 2. It is his sincere prayer that God will use this book and all the time invested into it to help you go deeper and rise higher than ever before in your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Rick delves deep into God’s Word to unveil hidden riches from the Scriptures that will help you build your life daily upon a solid foundation. Through sound doctrine and empowering insights, Rick clarifies the path to an intimate and uncompromising walk with God. You will also receive vital equipment to cultivate your character and ignite your passion for Jesus so you can stand strong and victorious in the pursuit of His purposes in these uncertain times.

Although this book is designed as a daily devotional, Rick has included Greek-English indices at the back, along with more than 1,000 new Greek word studies, to make Sparkling Gems 2 a useful Greek reference tool for your own personal study.