Session 20

The proper response to sin

From Genesis: A 7-Week Devotional

How do you react when you are confronted with your sin? Do you try to excuse or make up for your sin? Or, do you feel genuine remorse that compels you to address the sin issue deep in your heart?

In Genesis 28:1-9, Esau tried to make up for his sin. Because he was losing favor with his parents, he decided to marry someone he thought his parents would find more suitable. He reasoned that his third wife would make up for the disappointment of the first two.

However, Esau’s offense was much more than marrying women his parents did not like. The promise given to Esau’s grandfather, Abraham, was to establish a nation of people who worshiped the one, true God (Genesis 17:1-8). By marrying foreign women who worshiped idols, Esau was effectively rejecting his role in God’s plan to establish a people who were set apart. Esau’s attempt to make up for his sin fell short because the real issue was not just his behavior; it was the condition of his heart.

Jesus taught that the proper response to sin is repentance (Matthew 4:17, Luke 5:32). Repentance is more than feeling sorry about what you have done or trying to be a better person. Repentance is a change of heart that leads to a change of behavior.

When we repent, we experience an internal transformation that causes us to see God as holy and worthy of our worship and obedience. While this inward change manifests itself through changed behavior, repentance is far more than a behavior modification program. Only true repentance addresses the sin issue deep in our hearts.


  • Has God revealed any sin in your life that you need to turn away from? What is it?
  • What step can you take to address the sin issue in your heart? How will addressing your heart change your actions?

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