“Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him…And when he thought about it, he wept.”
– Mark 14:27
Peter was remorseful for denying Jesus. It was not the rooster that crowed that brought Peter to be sorrowful and weep, it was remembering Jesus’ words that brought conviction to his heart. The guilt of doing what he knew to be wrong brought Peter to feel remorse for his sin, yet repentance had not yet taken place. Jesus’ words brought a heart of contrition and only set Peter on the road to repentance.
Repentance has been rightly defined as “changing one’s mind so that one’s views, values, goals, and ways are changed, and one’s whole life is lived differently.” Very simply, repentance means starting to live a new life. Someone who is repentant grieves for and hates their sins. They turn from them and turn to God. And, they endeavor with the purpose of walking with the Lord in all His ways and commands.
Attrition is sorrow for one’s sins that arises from a motive other than that of the love of God. In true repentance, there must be contrition, not simply attrition. It has been said, “Repenting of any vice means going in the opposite direction, to practice the virtues most directly opposed to it.”
Peter had a contrite heart and was eventually restored by Jesus, and the Bible tells us that Peter made a public confession of that change (see John 21). He was in right standing with God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Where do you stand with Jesus today? Are you remorseful for your sin or just sorry when you get caught up in it? Attrition will keep you on the same road, but genuine remorse and contrition will set you on the path to repentance and the refreshing new life.
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”
– Acts 3:19