Acts 26:20 - First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and all Judea, and to the Gentiles also. I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.
Paul preached that we need to repent and turn to God. Repent means to “feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.” So to repent means that we were doing something wrong and now we regret it. We know that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” but repentance comes when we realize it in our own lives.
In order to repent, we must first recognize the sin and that it is wrong. As we defined repent it means that we are feeling regret and remorse for the bad things we have done, then Paul takes it a step further. He says, “repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” So it doesn't stop at repentance, it begins there.
We must feel regret for our sins, then turn to God and receive forgiveness. After we have received forgiveness we must prove our repentance true by our actions. Our deeds will show if we truly repented or not. If you are continuing to sin your remorse was only temporary and not true.
That is part of why Paul makes the statement “repent and turn to God.” God is the only One that can help us truly turn from sin, fully and completely. As we draw closer to God we move further and further from sin. If we just repent for the sin and don’t turn to God, the remorse we feel will only be temporary and the sin will end up creeping back in.
Surrendering to God and letting His Spirit flow through us is the only way to truly get rid of sin. As we draw closer to Him, we will begin to be more like Him and start to take on His view of sin. Then when see sin in our lives it will disgust us and we will want to get rid, not just because God said so, but because it makes us sick.