Repentance is about first changing your mind. Many of us have been told to change our behavior but this leads to failure and hypocrisy because this isn’t how repentance works.
True repentance starts with changing your mind to agree with God’s view of sin and life. It’s important to note that specific sins don’t change overnight, but change will come if your mind has, first, aligned with God’s view.
Bible study along with the Holy Spirit will help us understand the mind of Christ and bring about moral conviction. Soon, our behavior changes and we learn to hate that particular sin.
False repentance is when we refrain from certain sins but don’t agree with God’s view of them. For example, a Christian says,
I don’t practice homosexuality, but homosexuals have the right to love who they want to—this conflicts with God’s view—the person hasn’t changed their mind.
Become like Christ through changing your mind
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Don’t eat with such people who don’t hold God’s view:
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. (1 Corintians 5:11)
What repentance looks like:
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
— Ephesians 4:17-32