“I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like a mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44.22).
Godly sorrow produces genuine repentance (repentance = changing your mind about the direction of your life and the way that you’ve been sinning against God AND turning to righteousness and His path for you). Only believers are able to repent in this way. Many people change their minds about smoking for instance. They stop, but unbelieving people do not turn to God’s path for them. As a believer, I’m turning to God’s path in faith. That is what separates me from unbelieving people. God is not in their thoughts; He never departs from mine.
Jesus said, “Everything is possible for the one who believes” (Mark 9.23). I do not doubt His power or willingness to receive me and forgive me if I return to Him. He is able to save me completely (to the uttermost) when I come to God through Him, since He always lives (as the resurrected Christ at the right hand of the Father) to intercede for me (see Hebrews 7.25). I simply cling to the hem of Jesus’ garment. The power comes from Him. When I come believing that He will forgive me, it shall be according to my faith. This doesn’t remove consequences for my sin. Sin still grieves me. I try not to take God for granted and live presumptuously. I don’t want to grieve or quench the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to take the sacrifice of my Lord lightly. However, I am forgiven by faith in Him. I come believing this morning, Father, I come believing. Forgive me. Wash me clean. Lead me on.