Repentance and Remission of Sins.
Luke 24:46 And (Jesus) said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
You are a football fan and your national team is in the world cup final on television. There is no score and your team have possession and are in the opponent’s penalty area in the last 3 minutes of the game.
The Lord Jesus comes in and sits beside you on the sofa. What do you do?
If you switch off the television and fall on your face giving all your attention to Jesus, that is repentance.
Repent. Greek μετάνοια, change of mind, thought or will. Letting go of everything.
In Greek the word metanoia means change of will or mind. Turning from slavishly following our own will to being willing to do God’s will instead. For this to be complete we must forsake all that we hold dear in order to be free to follow Christ.
This repentance is granted by God to those who humble themselves before Him, acknowledging their need of salvation from their sins.
God’s definition of all sin is lawlessness. The law referred to being the word, law or commandment of God.
The first sin recorded in scripture is;
Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, you shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said to the woman, you shall not surely die: For God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit of it, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat.
So sin needs two components. It needs the law or command of God and the individual going against that command. Lawlessness.
Before the law of God was given to Israel we see that God has written His law in the conscience of all humanity.
Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law to themselves: Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;)
Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, workers of iniquity. (In Greek anomia; law breakers.)
So sin consists of not doing the will or command of God but disobedience to the word of God instead. It is a transgression of God’s law or command.
That we have all sinned is quite apparent to everyone. Repentance is the way forward but what of the sins we have committed? What of the sins we will commit today, tomorrow?
Remission of sins.
Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has neither form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our grief, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was there deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he did bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Matthew 16:21 From that time forward Jesus began to show to his disciples how he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Mat hew20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the spotless, sinless Lamb of God has born the punishment for all the sins of all humanity for all time in His body, the Word made flesh, on the cross where He was crucified. He made His flesh, His life, an offering for sin. God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself.
2Corinthians 5:18 And all things are from God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;
In the light of this tremendous act of grace on the behalf of God, the offended party, what should we do?
Luke 24:46 And Jesus said to them, so it is written, and so it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In the garden of Eden Satan was clever in reviewing what God had told Adam and Eve. ‘Has God said?’ Satan appealed to Eve’s intelligence and rational processes. To doubt that God really meant what He had said and to doubt God’s intentions and motives!
Disobedience can be thought out, it is not always impetuous.
John the Baptist was a prophet sent by God to command His people to repent because the kingdom of God was at hand. Offering a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins which is essential if we are to experience the kingdom of God.
While the common people heard and obeyed God’s word given by John, the educated, scripture knowing religious leaders rationalized their way into rejecting the counsel of God.
God’s first command to those who obey His word to repent is to be baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission, forgiveness, removal of sins.
Remission of sins may not be something we have a good grasp of.
Remission is not the same thing as forgiveness.
God was forgiving sins since the creation of mankind. He forgave His people Israel when they repented and returned to Him.
The word of God became flesh so as the Lamb of God He would hang on the cross, be cursed for our sakes, and shed His blood for the remission of our sins.
For this reason remission of sins is in the name of Jesus the Christ (King).
If I lend you £20,000 because you desperately need it, you might avoid me whenever you can. If I come to your door, you might hide behind the curtains. You might cross the street if you see me coming. You have a conscience about the debt you owe me which you have no hope of repaying.
If I forgive you, because I know you can never repay the debt, you would be very happy that you no longer owed me the money. But you may still feel guilty about the fact that I never got the money back. You might still continue avoiding me when you had the opportunity. If however, my son, who loves you, sees your debt, and works and saves very hard so he has the £20,000; and he then gives me the £20,000 to pay your debt to me; you are free from the debt. I have my money owed to me. You owe me nothing. You no longer feel you need to avoid me. Your conscience is clear. And you love my son for what he has done for you!
This what God has done in sending His own Son for us. In the name of Jesus the Christ, there is remission of sins, cancelling out of our debt. This payment is applied to the one who hears and believes this message of repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus the Christ through baptism in the name of Him who paid the debt in full. By means of baptism we call out on (put trust in) the name of the Lord and are saved. Resulting in a clean conscience before God. Christ’s last words on the cross were ‘It is finished’. The debt is paid in full.
If we do repent, put our faith in the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins in baptism in His name, we are promised we will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Colin Thompson, Gateshead, England.
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