Luke 15:31-32 His father said to him, "˜Look, dear son, you and I are very close, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!"
This is the story of the prodigal son. This is a wonderful picture of what the Gospel is all about: true repentance, righteousness, recognition, and remorse. In order for the heart to be right with God, true repentance must take place. There is a lot of what passes as repentance that is no real repentance at all. True repentance involves a recognition of one's sinfulness, sincere remorse for the sins committed, and righteous behavior that follows. Until we come to the awareness that we have indeed sinned against God, we will never have a relationship with Him. "I did it. I am a sinner. I am guilty as charged by God. I have no one to blame but myself. I chose to do it and I did it."
Remorse is true sorrow for what we have done. It is not lip service, but a heart grief over our sins. It is being ashamed of ourselves and sincerely falling at Jesus' feet and pleading for mercy. It is a sincere desire of the heart to not do it again.
Righteousness is what follows true repentance. It is acting and thinking in a right way before God. It is turning away from sinful habits and thinking and striving to be holy in all we do. It is a mindset that enables us to change and become godly before man. It is the natural outcome of true repentance. Unless there is an obvious indication that change has happened, the heart is still in sin. Everyone changes in different ways and at different paces, but everyone who truly repents changes.