PENANCE is not “repentance”. Though there are some similarities, with both admitting to the wrong done, penance is self-infliction to pay for one’s own sins, while repentance will regret the wrong done (II Corinthians 7:9-11), as one turns to God for forgiveness (See REPENTANCE). The Bible teaches, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:8-10) This is not done to punish one’s self or pay for the penalty of one’s wrong, but to “humble” one’s self and to “Draw nigh to God….” And if God should give you tears over your sins (“weep”), then use them.
The Bible teaches “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23), not self-inflicted pain, as crawling on our knees, or hitting one’s self, or crucifying one’s self. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is sufficient to forgive all sins and you will not be able to add to it! Everyone will have to look to Jesus for this forgiveness. If someone wants to do good deeds because he now sees the error of his ways and wants to please God, good! But this will not forgive his sins! The Bible says that salvation is a “free gift” (Romans 5:15-18). Let Christ be your Savior, not your penance (II Corinthians 7:10, Matthew 27:3-5). The word “Gospel” means good news; it is good news that Christ paid it all and has forgiven me. (See REPENTANCE, see FORGIVENESS).