This is not a contradiction. God commands repentance; yet, repentance is a gift of God. If a “gift” is forced on someone, it is not a gift at all! The same is true of the gift of repentance. God doesn’t force anyone to repent; He simply makes the opportunity to repent available. This is the sense in which repentance as a gift should be understood.
God exalted Jesus “to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31). When certain Jewish Christians witnessed the conversion of Cornelius and his household, “they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life’” (Acts 11:18). Paul hopes that, through Timothy’s efforts in correcting certain offenders, “God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25).
But how does the process work? Through what means does God “grant them repentance”? God, through His Spirit, leads a person to an awareness of both sin and righteousness, thus enabling Him to “hear” the command to repent. Jesus promised that, after His departure, the Holy Spirit would come and “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8–11). The Spirit convicts the world of sin and righteousness through the church’s preaching of the good news.
God often uses the circumstances of day-to-day life in bestowing upon us the gift of repentance. The gift may come through the positive Christian example of a neighbor, or from reading a booklet on an intriguing biblical topic, or from watching the Armor of God television program, or from a chain of events spanning many weeks or months, or even years. Shocking events in the news, such as the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, may be the catalyst that enables a person to receive God’s gift of repentance. On the other hand, positive events, such as people coming together to help relieve the suffering of others, may have an awakening effect through which God can bestow the gift of repentance. God can and does use the events of life—ordinary and extraordinary—to awaken people to their need of repentance.
Source : CGI.org