Repentance and Remission

“And 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.”
(Luke 24:46-47)

The cross of Christ is all our hope, all our peace, all our salvation. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is the cancellation of all our debt, the restoration of all our loss, the redemption of all God’s elect. The Lord Jesus died as our sin-atoning Substitute “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.”

Our Saviour did not say that He died so that we could tell sinners to repent. Rather, He tells us that He died that we might proclaim repentance. There is a difference. When God commands all men everywhere to repent, He commands them to turn to Him. But when our Saviour, by virtue of His death on the cross, commands us to preach repentance, that is to proclaim the turning of sinners to Him by virtue of His sin-atoning sacrifice, we proclaim liberty to the captives (Isaiah 61:1-3; Zechariah 9:11-12).

The word “repentance” basically means “reversal.” And the gospel we preach proclaims a complete reversal, a reversal accomplished by the doing and dying of the Son of God as our Substitute, and a reversal commanded. The repentance accomplished for us, the repentance we proclaim in the gospel is a reversal of all things for us by Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:17). The repentance commanded is a reversal of our thoughts, minds and attitudes about how sins are remitted.

This proclamation of reversal is the blessed proclamation of the remission of sins. Everything has been reversed for us, because He has put away (remitted) our sins! His prisoners are sent forth out of their prison, because He has remitted their sins. “And ye,” you who have been turned to Him by hearing Him declare that He has put away your sins, “are witnesses of these things” (v. 48). Every redeemed sinner is in His place Christ’s missionary, His witness. We are witnesses of His accomplishments, of His forgiveness and of His grace.

Our Saviour commanded His disciples to preach the gospel everywhere, to all men, among all nations; and He said, “beginning at Jerusalem.” Robert Hawker wrote…

“Those Jerusalem-sinners, whose hearts were to be called by sovereign grace on the then approaching day of Pentecost, were there; many of whom had joined the Scribes and Elders in his crucifixion, and were now triumphing in having shed his blood. Yet, to this Jerusalem, this slaughter-house of his Prophets, and himself also, Jesus will have the first proclamation of mercy in his death made! Oh! the riches of his grace! Oh! the boundless love of Christ, which passeth knowledge!”

None are beyond the reach of grace. None are beyond the reach of omnipotent mercy. It is the glory of our Great Physician, that He heals incurable cases. The things that are impossible to men are possible with Christ.

D. Fortner

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