Knowing Jesus Brings Forgiveness of Sins and Repentance
He [John the Baptist] went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke 3:3
Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9
The Spirit teaches us through the written Word (and through other brothers and sisters in Christ) and reveals to God’s children who our triune God is, who we are apart from Him, and who we are in Christ. We need not be amazed at the world situation or wonder how God works, because we learn from the Spirit that He is sovereign and in control, compassionate, and merciful. What we can do instead of wondering about God, is to know Jesus NOT just know about Him! This bespeaks of an intimate relationship, a Spiritual union, a state of rest from our fleshly works—all entered into by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is all about the grace of God the Father, brought to us in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In Paul’s first recorded sermon to both Jews and God-fearing Gentiles in Acts 13, he reviewed Jewish history, explained prophecies, testified about Jesus’ life and focused repeatedly on how God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. What does this mean to us? Simply yet profoundly, by grace through faith we can share in the resurrected life of Jesus—His eternal life—through our real Spiritual union with Him.
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:19-20
As we know Jesus better and better, God gives us the blessing and peace of knowing the triune Reality (Father, Son, Spirit) behind our triune reality of time, space, and matter (Gen 1:1). We begin to experience or know “the exchanged Life” more and more.
Rejection or Ignorance
In Acts 13 Paul then gives a warning using what God directly said in Habakkuk 1:5 to teach how mocking, prideful people will perish apart from belief or faith in Jesus Christ after He is presented clearly to them. Do you wonder who the Son of God is, or, do you know Him? Rejection of His resurrection life (His gift) at the cost of dying to ourselves (reckoning our sinful nature crucified with Him - Gal 2:20) will result in eternal separation from the presence of God to be all alone, forever, a hellish immortal experience of gnashing teeth in utter darkness in painful regret of a decision not made.
Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’” Acts 13:40-41
In addition to prideful rejection of believing in the Gospel of Jesus, living in blissful ignorance is also quite dangerous, because God gives us “today,” but does not promise us tomorrow. The author of Hebrews uses Psalm 95 to emphasize the time for belief is now (today) and Paul exhorts us also:
Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Heb. 3:12-13
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 2Cor 6:2b
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to HAVE FORGIVEN [Greek Aorist Tense] our sins..." (1John 1:9) We confess, not to GET forgiven, but because we believe we ARE forgiven. Spirit-filled believers HAVE BEEN cleansed by the blood of Jesus! We do not need to ask God for forgiveness—when we do—we don’t believe that God has already FINISHED forgiving us by Christ’s atoning death on the cross.
When we first begin to know the love and grace of our Lord God, we sense His holiness and our sinfulness. This awareness inevitably brings the need for our repentance to the forefront—we desire to seek God’s forgiveness and then discover or re-experience the forgiveness we already have because of the blood of Christ. Repentance becomes the wonderful act of turning back to the Lord, facing Him, asking Him to help us trust and obey, and thanking Him that our sins are forgiven. As we are back face-to-face with the Lord we realize anew there is nothing he does not know about us, and all the more the freedom to obey and love Him fills us.
But like the nation of Israel, we tend to turn away again to go our own way. Because of the fall of our fleshly lineage (Adam and Eve), we live in a fallen world, with fallen souls, in fallen bodies as sinners (Psalm 63:1). Satan as the ruler of this world is temporarily working through the world and our flesh to corrupt the righteousness and holiness he also fell from. Is not daily repentance essential to availing the righteousness and holiness of the triune God who dwells within us despite our unavoidable inheritance? All human beings are also triune beings consisting of body, soul, and spirit (1Th 5:23). Let us not forget that we are new creations in Christ with our spirits now made alive and in intimate union or oneness with the living Spirit of Christ (see Romans 8:9-11). The hope of our glory rests in and with Jesus Christ. Oh Lord, how thankful we are when we turn back to you.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:25-27
From Romans 5-6, we can readily understand how a believer is free from the Penalty of sin and free from the Power of sin in their lives. Christ paid the price for our sins, past, present, and future—he saved us from God’s wrath. We are no longer slaves to sin, but rather slaves to righteousness—we are freed from the powerful bondage of sin—no longer under the law, but under grace. Romans 8 bespeaks of no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (who is holy—free/separate from sin), and one day our freedom from the Presence of sin (cf. 1John 3:1-6). But, in Romans 7 we have to be careful to realize the freedom from the Preoccupation of sin in our wretched past. Who will rescue us from this preoccupation of what we did and didn’t do? The answer of course is focusing on Jesus in the present by knowing, loving, and obeying Him, and letting Him speak and act through us so He can have all the glory! And being joyfully thankful when we can daily seek His face and talk with Him about His future for us. (In the 10 verses of Romans 7:15-24, Paul uses I, me, or my 35 times, I believe, showing us an example of being preoccupied with sin and focused on self—finally, he focuses on Who will rescue him from this preoccupation with self and sin.)
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Rom 7:24-25a
The power of believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is discovering and knowing what the death and resurrection of Jesus does to the children of God, namely:
I. The cross of Christ convicts of sin and brings forgiveness of sin as well as freedom from sin (our sinful nature was crucified with Jesus).
II. The resurrection of Christ brings the power of deliverance from sin and newness of life.
Finally, it behooves us to learn and remember that, it's not about trying to be like Jesus by our doing good and not doing bad; it's about personally knowing and loving Him, because the more we love and spend time with Him, the more we will be like Him. Our service to others will be His ministry through us. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. (1Th 5:24) In our Christian walk—our life, repentance is a continuing aspect until the day we see Him in person, which could be tomorrow!
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