4. God, who requires atonement, is the same being that provides it. This is ?handsome and generous.? But I can never provide atonement for my brother. I must, therefore, forgive freely, only upon the ground of what Christ has done for him.?
(b) That repentance is only a negative condition and not a positive means of salvation.
This is evident from the fact that repentance is no more than the sinner?s present duty, and can furnish no offset to the claims of the law on account of past transgression. The truly penitent man feels that his repentance has no merit. Apart from the positive element of conversion, namely, faith in Christ, it would be only sorrow for guilt not removed. This very sorrow, moreover, is not the mere product of human will, but is the gift of God.
<440531> Acts 5:31 ? ?Him did God exalt with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins?; 11:18 ? ?Then to the Gentiles also hath God granted repentance unto life?;
<550225> 2 Timothy 2:25 ? ?if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth.? The truly penitent man recognizes the fact that his sin deserves punishment. He never regards his penitence as offsetting the demands of law and as making his punishment unjust. Whitefield: ?Our repentance needeth to be repented of and our very tears to be washed in the blood of Christ.? Shakespeare, Henry V, 4:1 ? ?More will I do: Though all that I can do is nothing worth, Since that my penitence comes after all, Imploring pardon? ? imploring pardon both for the crime and for the imperfect repentance.
(c) That true repentance, however, never exists except in conjunction with faith.
Sorrow for sin, not simply on account of its evil consequences to the transgressor, but on account of its intrinsic hatefulness as opposed to divine holiness and love is practically impossible without some confidence in God?s mercy. It is the Cross, which first makes us truly penitent ( cf .
<431232> John 12:32, 33). Hence all true preaching of repentance is implicitly a preaching of faith ( <400301>Matthew 3:1-12; cf . <441904>Acts 19:4), and repentance toward God involves faith in the Lord Jesus Christ ( <442021>Acts 20:21; <421510> Luke 15:10, 24; 19:8, 9; cf. <480307>Galatians 3:7).
<431232> John 12:32, 33 ? ?And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself. But this he said, signifying by what manner of death he should die.? <400301>Matthew 3:1-12 ? John the Baptist?s preaching of
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