See also Warnings.
1. Jesus calls sinners to repentance.
Luke 5:27–32. (The Pharisees objected that Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus explained exactly why he did this.)
Luke 5:31–32. Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
2. Jesus calls needy sinners to repentance that leads to salvation.
Matt. 4:17. From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
3. Repentance must be from the heart, genuine.
Mark 7:20–23. And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Jer. 4:3–4. For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, And take away the foreskins of your hearts, You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My fury come forth like fire, And burn so that no one can quench it, Because of the evil of your doings.”
Joel 2:12–13. “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.
4. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation.
2 Cor. 7:8–11. (Motivated by love, Paul led the Corinthian Christians to a godly sorrow, which brought repentance and salvation.)
2 Cor. 7:10–11. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
5. There is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.
Luke 15. (Jesus taught this in the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.)
Luke 15:7. “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
6. God calls sinners to seek him, to forsake their evil ways, and promises to forgive them.
Isa. 55:6–7. Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
7. God calls to repentance those who have set up idols in their hearts and practice evil.
Ezek. 14:6. “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.”
8. When a wayward sinner repents and turns back to God, he will live.
Ezek. 18:21–22. “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.”
9. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
Ezek. 18:23. “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”
10. The Lord urgently calls sinners to turn from their evil ways.
Ezek. 18:30–32. “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”
11. Jesus pronounced his judgment on those who refused to repent.
Matt. 11:20–24. Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”
12. Out of his kindness, God keeps calling sinners to repentance.
Rom. 2:4. Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
13. If you stubbornly refuse to repent, God will punish you. If you do repent, he will forgive you and grant you eternal life.
Rom. 2:5–6. But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”:
14. Calamity comes to those who do not give heed to God’s call to repentance.
Prov. 1:24–28. Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.”
15. An adulterous woman repented and turned to Christ and was forgiven.
Luke 7:37–38. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
Luke 7:48–50. Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
16. God poured out his anger on unrepentant Israelites.
Isa. 42:23–25. Who among you will give ear to this? Who will listen and hear for the time to come? Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord, He against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in His ways, Nor were they obedient to His law. Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger And the strength of battle; It has set him on fire all around, Yet he did not know; And it burned him, Yet he did not take it to heart.
17. Return to the Lord and he will return to you.
Mal. 3:7. Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ ”
18. Those who mourn on account of their sin are blessed.
Matt. 5:4. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
19. If and when God’s people turn from their wicked ways, he will forgive them.
2 Chron. 7:14. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
 Kruis, J. G. (1994). Quick scripture reference for counseling (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.