REPENTANCE PRECEDES FORGIVENESS
not just a seeking of different circumstances,
not a sigh of regret,
not just a remorse,
not simply a regret of the trouble that sin led one to.
Repentance is a real change of mind and attitude toward sin and its cause.
The repenters were recognized by their confessions of sins. Confession of sin was a new thing for Israel. They had grown accustomed to having only one day a year on which to repent of sins, the Day of Atonement. Some, a few, would go to the burnt altar at the temple to offer sacrifice for individual confession of sins, but that altar was ignored by most, except on the Day of Atonement.
There was not a practice of spontaneous confession following the committing of sin, and of feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit. John the baptist came and opened their eyes to the sins of the people and demanded a baptism to show to the world that they had already repented their sins.
WHEN WE REPENTED, WE WERE FORGIVEN.
BEFORE WE REPENTED, WE WERE LOVED.
Acts 13:38-41 (KJV)
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
What is forgiveness?
One of the words for "forgiveness" is from the Greek word - "aphiemi." It means "to send forth." When we are saved, our sins have been "sent forth" from us to be totally forgotten by our God.
"Blessed are they whose iniquity is forgiven (sent forth)."
Another Greek word is translated "forgiveness." It is the word, "charizomai." It means "to bestow a favor unconditionally." When we forgive, we are to unconditionally bestow the favor. This is how God has forgiven us.
"Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving (bestowing favor unconditionally) one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven (unconditionally bestowed favor) you."
When we are forgiven, it is only "for Christ's sake" for we have no goodness for which to expect the forgiveness. Christ deserved favor from God, and not ourselves. God's favor of forgiveness is unconditional on us, for Jesus met all the conditions necessary. We, when we repent, have our sins ‘sent forth from us’ and ‘unconditionally we are given favor with God’. That is the meaning of what we call ‘forgiveness.’
What Acts 13 (above) is speaking of is this ‘forgiveness’ that is preached. We are made ‘justified’ by the forgiveness. The law of Moses could not justify us, for we all broke it. It took the forgiveness to justify us. JUSTIFICATION is the Greek word "dikaiosis" means "pronouncing righteous, acquittal." When we are saved, we are justified (pronounced righteous) by our Lord. We have been acquitted of all charges in the trial for our life.
"Who... was raised again for our justification (acquittal)."
"...by the righteousness of One, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
If we were on trial for a crime, it would be a joyful time when the attorney would come into our cell to announce that the Judge had pronounced us acquitted of all charges, and said that we would no longer have to answer for the charges against us. We are justified by God, because of the blood of Jesus, when we become saved. The ‘forgiveness’ that comes by the blood, is what makes God able to justify us.
We need to glory in the acquittal that God has given us for our sins. We need to realize our sins are ‘sent forth’ from us, never to be called in charge against us, and God’s favor not judgment is upon us. Is that not enough to rejoice for eternity? Then start rejoicing in forgiveness, and don’t quit till eternity ends. LOL