“And that repentanceANDremission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” -Luke 24:47
As a pastor now, having grown thus far from a child raised in God’s Word, there has been much maturing in the 34 years of my spiritual walk and even lessons gained from the “lack thereof” when I ran like that prodigal son from my Father’s house. For that (the maturing process), I am very grateful.
When I read the scriptures today, because of what I recognize was and is the Holy Spirit growing me in grace & mercy, I see the scriptures quite black and white. Specifically? The issue of sin. It’s because of this issue, that is it’s literally the whole reason the scribes of old were directed of the Holy Spirit to write which became the Holy Bible. Out of the entirety of the Bible, the whole of all scriptures comes down to teaching us these two undeniable principles:
1.) Sin is bad. -Romans 6:23
2.) Godliness is gain. -1 Tim. 6:6
I intentionally refer to sin as an “issue” realizing that sin is not only the cancer that plagues the world, but today unfortunately, even the modern church by in large willfully retains sin under the excuse of their humanity. Humanity should simply be the platform for desperation of God, the Lord Jesus, our Savior… Not the “ball and chain” that binds us to evil vices.
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” -Romans 6:22
The POWER of God’s grace not only forgives sin, removes our sin, but overcomes the power of sin’s enticement by His saving and equipping grace! Grace isn’t the ability to excuse our sin, but the power to overcome!
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? -Romans 6:1-2
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; … Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” -Titus 2:11-12, 14
From our opening verse:
The Two “R’s”
Remission is God removing and forgiving us of our sin.
Repentance is us turning away from our sin (also done by the empowering work of God’s grace given at salvation)
It is literally heartbreaking that when I talk to “the churched” about simply living for God by obeying His Word, I get accused of teaching a “works salvation.” Of course we can’t earn our salvation; it’s free, however once saved by grace through faith, we live for God, and not for any sinful desires.
Let’s look at what the Bible says:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” -Ephesians 2:8-10
Did we catch that in verse 10? The popular quote is verses 8-9, but verse 10 completes the picture: “Created unto good works” The whole of salvation is not only FORGIVENESS of sin, but removal and abandonment of sin.
The woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), is a regularly referred passage by people who attacked anyone who calls out sin for what it is. Yes we are not to “cast stones” of condemnation, but offer the love of God that leads to repentance. (Ephesians 4:32) But let’s not forget the end of that passage…
“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” -John 8:10-11
Even though the Pharisees were out of line in their approach, we have to still realize that adultery was still sin, and sin needs addressing. Jesus addressed it; not excused it.
He forgave her:
“Neither do I condemn thee”
Then He exhorted her unto righteousness:
“Go and sin no more”
The messages taught today that it’s Jesus that saves us by faith alone without or not needing any choice on our part to repent (abandon) our sins once forgiven and having been saved, is a very dangerous one.
The word “Repentance” is so much more than a “change of mind,” but also, a “change of lifestyle.” If you change your mind on something, naturally your change of actions will back up your change of mind. Example: If I change my mind about the order of my desk, I’ll actually change it! Changes of thought are always preceded by changes of action. Remission AND Repentance.
“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:32
“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” -James 5:19-20
“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” -Jonah 3:10
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” -Isaiah 55:7
“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:” -Matthew 11:20
Remission of sin isn’t much good if you leave the door of your heart wide open for you’re old master, sin. You cannot serve two masters. You will either love one and hate the other. (Matthew 6:24)
I choose Jesus!
I choose remission AND repentance!