Two semi-formal expressions relating to repentance.
I am, by training and inclination, fond of thinking in terms of equations. A few of these related to the atonement of Christ, or more particularly axioms that apply to our life because of said atonement.
One of the marvelous things the atonement provides is the ability to move forward without considering past failures. Repentance applies the cleansing power of Christ’s sacrifice to wipe away the past failures and focus only on the current attempt. If failures = attempts − 1, it doesn’t matter if failures = 0 or failures = 100.
A similar idea comes from the infinite nature of the atonement. We all sin, and hopefuly all repent, throughout our lives. What matters is that the time of our most recent repentance is more recent than the time of our most recent sin. If lastIndexOf(repentance) > lastIndexOf(sin), then you are good; it doesn’t matter if count(sin) > count(repentance) or not. The atonement is infinite, it can fix any number of errors.
This expression does hide an important point, though. If you set out to sin thinking “I’ll just repent tomorrow,” you don’t understand what repentance is. It’s a change of heart. To repent isn’t to clean up the mess you made (that’s what Christ does); it’s to become the kind of person who doesn’t want to make the mess in the first place.