Remember how Esau sold his birthright and wept about it in
. . . lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it!" Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
Some key verses are:
Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
The following commentary by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones beautifully describes the difference between remorse and repentance:
I do not hesitate to assert that this is perhaps the most subtle and delicate test as to whether we have repented, or where we are: our attitude towards God. Have you noticed it in the psalm? The one against whom David has sinned is god, and yet the one he desires above all is God. That is the difference between remorse and repentance. The man who has not repented, but who is only experiencing remorse, when he realizes he has done something against God, avoids God. . . . The man who has not been dealt with by the Spirit og God and has not been convinced and convicted, tries to get away from God, to avoid him at all costs. He does not think, he does not read the bible, he does not pray; he does everything he can not to think about these things. But the extraordinary thing about the man who is convited of sin by the Holy spirit is that though he knows he has sinned again god, it is God he wants – “Be merciful to me, O God.” He wants to be with God – that is the peculiar paradox of repentance, wanting the one I have offended!
The one who sins and is merely full of remorse avoids God, but the one who repents runs to the Father with a broken spirit and a contrite heart wanting to have forgiveness and fellowship.
“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart-- These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:16-17).
Thank the Lord that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1
Repentance is not running away from God like Esau and Judas. They sought for repentance but they didn't seek after God. True repentance is running to God and asking for forgiveness like David did.