Certain words are central to the proclamation of the gospel, yet the culture we live in resists these words. When Jesus was leaving the disciples with the very important responsibility of carrying on the work He started, He said to them “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations (ethne – people groups), beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
Two of those three words have been a problem for many who want to attend a church without having their heart and conscience brought under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. What many do not understand is that “forgiveness” cannot be received unless, (1) we understand that our lost condition is because of sin (Romans 3:23). The purpose of Christ’s death was to deal once and for all with the condition that sin brought on the human race (God’s condemnation 6:23). His death, burial and resurrection were to remove the penalty, guilt and judgment of God from our souls.
(2) The path to “forgiveness” can only be traveled through “repentance.” Once the soul receives the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we agree with the righteousness of God and accept that Jesus had to die in our place to remove our guilt before God.
The coming of the Holy Spirit immediately proved that this was the only path to forgiveness.” On that first day of the Church when Peter preached to the crowds, they asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins…” (Acts 2:37-38). Though “repentance” is not a popular idea, it is the only way to receive “forgiveness” of sins. Do not leave this out of your message.
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