From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 2 on Repentance
Repentance and love for God go hand in hand. We can’t have one without the other. If we repent, we stop going our own way and start going His (1 Kings 8:47; 2 Chronicles 6:37; Job 42:6; Jeremiah 8:4-13; Ezekiel 14:6; Matthew 11:20, 21). The first recorded word out of the mouths of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus (Matthew 4:17) for their public ministries was ‘repent.’ If we are going the wrong way on a road, we would change directions once we realized our error.
‘Feeling sorry’ for what we have done or are doing, yet continuing to go the wrong way, is not repentance. It is certainly not love. Joel says “rend your hearts, not your garments” (Joel 2:13). A lot of times, ‘sorry’ feelings are very strong, to the point of weeping or other expressions of anguish. Herod was “exceedingly sorry” to behead John the Baptist, and did it anyway (Mark 6:26). Sorry feelings are not true repentance if they don’t produce a change in behavior (Jonah 3:8, 9; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10). True repentance is when we change what we are doing (Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8). We go from ignoring His Law to following it.