Summary: Where does repentance lead us? What does forgiveness mean for us now?
Where does repentance lead us? Repentance leads us into forgiveness. What does forgiveness mean for us now?
Purpose: Let us look at the importance of knowing forgiveness as we live each day.
Luke 24:39 Jesus is not a Ghost
A recycled heresy, Marcionism calls Jesus a ghost. In Luke 24:36b-48 Jesus proves he is not a ghost, a spirit without a body, “Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones”. The disciples disbelieved for joy, it seemed too good to be true. Jesus then ate with them. The Hebrew scriptures are summarized by the description “the law of Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms.” He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. We too need divine help to understand the Bible. There were three parts to Jesus’ instructions: he would suffer, be raised and repentance resulting in forgiveness must be proclaimed to all nations.
Luke 24:47 Repentance INTO Forgiveness
In Luke 24:47 we read that “repentance and forgiveness [repentance INTO forgiveness] of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Preaching against sin is not to condemn, but to save, to lead us to forgiveness. The opposite of sin is not impossible moral perfection, but faith. The Old Testament proved that letter-perfect law-keeping is impossible. We fail law-keeping. Repentance is not keeping the letter of the law, but changing from unbelief to faith in God. Paul taught that the purpose of the law was not perfect obedience in the letter, but to expose sin. Gospel preaching is not better morality, but forgiveness, absolution.
Acts 3:19 Turn to God
Acts 3:19 says, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out”. “Be converted” is old English and has changed meanings. It is not passive in Greek. It is better translated today as that we must act and “return to God.” The word converted means something totally different today. The purpose for turning to God is, “so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” This refers to a breeze that refreshes a weary soul. There is no delay indicated for the times of refreshing. Forgiving refreshment begins immediately and will culminate in those times of refreshing that Jesus brings at his coming.
1 John 3:1-3 Children
The phrase “sons (or children) of God” in 1 John 3:1-3 refers to human beings. In Genesis 6 the sons of God married and giants were born. Jesus said that angels cannot marry or give children in marriage, so the phrase “sons of God” in Genesis also means human beings. We are called children of God by adoption. We will be like him and live forever. This process is called theosis, or divinization, or sanctification. We are being transformed day by day to be like Jesus. We purify ourselves, freeing ourselves from everything unholy, staying close to Jesus. We “know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him”.
1 John 3:4-6 Sin
What is sin? 1 John 3:4 says, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” Should we be legalistic, returning to the letter of the law? The new covenant is “not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6) Jesus taught that a bad thought breaks the law (Matthew 5:22, 28). What hope do we have then? 1 John 3:5-6 says, “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin.” Jesus covers our sins (Romans 4:7).
A positive change of heart and turning to God bring us into forgiveness. That’s a reason to rejoice every day. We don’t need to live under a cloud of guilt for our mistakes, we just need to live in Jesus. As we do, our sins are covered.