The Bible says in Mark 1:1-4, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." According to Luke's gospel the Lord Jesus opened "... their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." (See Luke 24:45-49) So from the beginning of the gospel to the end, repentance was preached. So what is true repentance?
According to Dr. Strong, Strong's Greek and Hebrew dictionary says the word for repentance in the Greek is, "μετάνοια (pronounced) metanoia met-an'-oy-ah (and is) From G3340; (subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication reversal (of [anothers] decision): - repentance." True repentance then is "...compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication reversal (of [anothers] decision): - repentance." If there is such a thing as true repentance, there must be false repentance also. I am made to think of the Bible story of Esau and Jacob, the sons of Isaac and Rebekah, found in Genesis 25:29-34. The Bible tells us that Esau said to Jacob, "Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?" So Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for some lentil soup and, "thus Esau despised his birthright."
It is a dangerous thing to despise one's birthright for the Bible says that the God of love hated Esau. The Bible warns us, "Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." (See Genesis 27:34 and Hebrews 12:16-17). Why one might ask should we care? Because there are things that we do in life that there is no way to undo.
The Bible asks in Romans 2:4 "... despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" God is truly a merciful God. Apostle Peter wrote, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (See 2nd Peter 3:9) But He will not be trifled with! The Bible says in Hebrews 4:11-13 "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." The Lord Jesus knows whether our repentance is sincere or whether we just consider it a fire escape. My friend, don't take the mercy and forgiveness of God lightly. Jesus went to the Cross, died a cruel death, was buried and rose again for you and I. Let us then be truly repentant towards God while we put our faith in Jesus Christ. (See Acts 20:21)