Acts 13:38
Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Forgiveness of SinsR. Tuck Acts 13:38
The ProclamationR.A. Redford Acts 13:38
Abandonment of Missionary WorkW. Walters.Acts 13:13-52
Antioch in PisidiaW. Denton, M. A.Acts 13:13-52
I Will Make You Fishers of MenLisco.Acts 13:13-52
John MarkA. Maclaren, D. D.Acts 13:13-52
Paul At AntiochR. A. Bertram.Acts 13:13-52
Paul At AntiochW. G. Sperry.Acts 13:13-52
Paul in His Introductory Discourse Already a Complete PaulK. Gerok.Acts 13:13-52
Paul's First Reported SermonD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 13:13-52
Paul's First, Recorded SpeechJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 13:13-52
Paul's Missionary Discourse At Antioch in PisidiaE. Johnson Acts 13:13-52
Perga in PamphyliaBp. Jacobson.Acts 13:13-52
The Continental MissionM. C. Hazard.Acts 13:13-52
The Defection of MarkJ. S. Howson, D. D.Acts 13:13-52
The Departure of Mark and the Continuance of the ApostlesS. S. TimesActs 13:13-52
Another Faithful Sermon to the JewP.C. Barker Acts 13:14-41
The Christian FaithW. Clarkson Acts 13:14-41
Paul's Sermon in the Synagogue At AntiochR.A. Redford Acts 13:16-43
Christ, the World's SaviourLisco.Acts 13:17-41
The History of the Kingdom of GodK. Gerok.Acts 13:17-41
The Hours on the World's ClockK. Gerok.Acts 13:17-41
The Providence of God in the History of IsraelLisco.Acts 13:17-41
Forgiveness is Free for All Who BelieveC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 13:38-39
Full and Free PardonW. Dawson.Acts 13:38-39
God's ForgivenessActs 13:38-39
Justification by FaithJabez Bunting, D. D.Acts 13:38-39
Justification by FaithChristian AgeActs 13:38-39
Preaching the Forgiveness of SinsJ. Ross.Acts 13:38-39
Salvation is Through Christ OnlyC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 13:38-39
The Forgiveness of SinsJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 13:38-39
The Gospel MessageT. Kidd.Acts 13:38-39
The Superiority of the Gospel to the LawJ. Ossian Davies.Acts 13:38-39
The True Aim of PreachingC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 13:38-39
Through This ManHomilistActs 13:38-39

Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, etc. The change in the world since Paul was at Antioch; yet the proclamation as necessary as ever. The nearer we come to apostolic simplicity, the greater our success. Nothing but the gospel can accomplish the work, and that because it changes the heart through the forgiveness of sins.

I. The FREEDOM of the proclamation. Forgiveness, not purchased or wrought out, but simply announced.

II. The invitation to FAITH. Through this Man, whose Name can be published, whose authority we testify. Religion is not a self-constructed edifice of spiritual feelings to which the Name of Christ is attached to give it a Christian sanction; it is the fruit of faith, and faith is surrender to the authority of Christ.

III. Knowledge the root of RESPONSIBILITY. "Be it known unto you;" therefore as made known, take heed that you incur not the guilt of its rejection-. A very small amount of knowledge enough to point to the "Man Christ Jesus." But if the light be darkness, by neglect, perversity, prejudice, pride, how great that darkness! - R.

Be it known unto you...that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified.
I. THE BLESSINGS WHICH THE TEXT EXHIBITS — forgiveness and justification.

1. Forgiveness implies offence, and have not we transgressed the law of God, which is "holy, just, and good"? Divine forgiveness is a blessing of the highest worth. Whom the Lord pardons He pardons freely and completely. Hence He is represented as passing by transgression, not imputing iniquity, blotting out sin, casting it behind His back, sinking it in the depths of the sea, and remembering it no more.

2. But this leads to the other blessing — justification, "an act of God's free grace, whereby He pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone." It is not a work wrought in, but an act passed upon us. It is also an act of God — "It is God that justifieth": and His act, not merely as a gracious Sovereign conferring a favour, but as a righteous Governor and Judge doing that which is every way equitable. The blessing includes not only the pardon of sins, but the acceptance of our persons. It is not only exemption from punishment, but restoration to favour; not only release from danger, but admittance into a state of high honour and real safety.

II. THE EXTENT TO WHICH THEY REACH. "The forgiveness of sins" means all sins; "justified from all things," i.e., from every charge which from any quarter can possibly be brought against us. Their atrocity shall not hinder any more than their number. Hence this clause, "from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." Moses justified from some sins. Sin offerings were appointed to expiate smaller offences; but these did not avail in cases of more flagrant crimes; the sentence of the law against such offences was death, and no exemption was allowed. Nor could the legal sacrifices ever take away guilt from the conscience, except as the penitent offender, through them, had a believing reliance on the promised Redeemer. But the justification which the gospel sets forth extends to all classes of transgressions.


1. By Him these blessings were proclaimed. He preached the gospel with His own lips: He forgave the sins of many. He commissioned His apostles to announce the same things. And He has instituted the gospel ministry, whose grand object is the publication of what He Himself and His apostles published.

2. Through Him they are also procured. As it regards forgiveness, "we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." As it regards justification, "As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous." He is, "made of God unto us, wisdom and righteousness." But all this implies the substitution of Christ. He suffered not only for our good, but in our place. "He who knew no sin was made sin," a sin offering," for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

IV. THE PERSONS BY WHOM THESE BLESSINGS ARE ENJOYED. "All that believe." On the doctrine of forgiveness this is the language, of Scripture; "Through His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." On that of justification it is equally clear, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ." And what is believing? It is not an inward feeling which cannot be accounted for. It is not a presumptuous persuasion, which a man acquires he knows not how, that his state is certainly safe. It is giving credit to the truth of God's Word; a resting of the soul on that which He hath graciously revealed, so as to fall in heartily with the method of salvation made known in the Scriptures. As to the influence of faith in the justification of a sinner, it is evident faith does not effect it — "It is God that justifieth." Faith does not procure it — "It is Christ that died." But faith receives it. But mark the expression — "By Him all that believe are justified"; whether young or old, rich or poor, learned or illiterate, etc. Conclusion: From this subject learn —

1. The encouragement which springs from the love of Christ!

2. How just is the condemnation of impenitent transgressors!

3. How free is the salvation of the righteous! It is "not of works, lest any man should boast."

4. What a motive to gratitude and obedience!

(T. Kidd.)

I. THE WAY OF A SINNER'S FORGIVENESS — "Through this Man." And notice —

1. There is no other way.

2. There is no need of any other way. This "Man" satisfied all the requirements of God and man.

3. God will accept no other way. "There is none other name given under heaven whereby men must be saved."


1. It is rational — consistent with justice, with mercy, with weak men, and a great God.

2. It is gracious; free from cost, easily attained, a blessed gift only to be accepted, an offer of love.

3. It is complete. It makes a man holy as well as safe. It fits for heaven as well as separates from earth.

4. It is full. There is no distinction or separation of classes or sorts: all are admitted to partake of its provisions. There is no sin it will not cover, no hardness it will not overcome.

5. It is absolute. There is no revocation or withdrawal. It was a transaction made once for all between Father and Son.


Paul's mode of preaching, as illustrated by this chapter, was first of all to appeal to the understanding with a clear exposition of truth, and then to impress that truth upon the emotions with earnest exhortations. This is an excellent model for revivalists. They must not give exhortation without doctrine, for if so, they will be like men who burn powder but have omitted the shot. At the same time let such of our brethren as are passionately fond of mere doctrine, but having little of the marrow of Divine mercy or the milk of human kindness stand rebuked by the example of the apostle. He knew well that even truth itself must be powerless unless applied. We cannot expect that men will make an application of the truth to themselves. Let us now notice —

I. PAUL'S SUBJECT, the subject of subjects — the great master doctrine of the Christian ministry. The "forgiveness of sins" is a topic interesting to everyone in proportion as he feels the guilt of sin. To those good people who fold their arms and say, "I have done no wrong either to God or man," I have nothing to say. You need no physician, for you are not sick.

1. The Christian minister tells men the exclusive method by which God will pardon sin. "Through this Man." The Lord Jesus has a monopoly of mercy. Into the one silver pipe of the atoning sacrifice God has made to flow the full current of pardoning grace. If you will not go to that, you may be tempted by the mirage, you may think that you can drink to the full, but you shall die disappointed. God will forgive sin, because the sin which He forgives has been already atoned for by the sufferings of His dear Son. You know the story of the young Roman who was condemned to die. But his elder brother who had often been to the front in the battles of the Republic, came and showed his many scars, and said, "I cannot ask life for my brother on account of anything that he has done for the Republic; he deserves to die, I know, but I set my scars before you as the price of his life, and I ask you whether you will not spare him for his brother's sake." Sinner, this is what Christ does for you.

2. It is our business also to preach to you the instrument through which you may obtain this pardon. All that thou hast to do is to come to Him as thou art, and trust in Him where thou art. Cling to the Cross, thou shipwrecked sinner, and thou shalt never go down while clinging to that. You will be saved, not by repentings and tears, not by wailings or workings, or prayings. When thy soul saith by faith what Christ said in fact — "It is finished," thou art saved, and thou mayest go thy way rejoicing.

3. We are also enjoined to preach about the character of this forgiveness of sin.(1) When God pardons a man's sins, He pardons them all, never half leaving the rest in His book. Luther tells us of the devil, in a dream, bringing before him the long roll of his sins, and when he recited them, Luther said — "Now write at the bottom, 'The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin.'"(2) It is a full pardon and it is a free pardon likewise. God never pardons any sinner from any other motive than His own pure grace. It cost the Saviour much; but it costs us nothing.(3) It is irreversible. Whom God pardons He never condemns. Let Him once say, I absolve thee, and none can lay anything to our charge.(4) Present pardon. It is a notion still current that you cannot know you are forgiven till you come to die. If you reckoned a clear profit of ten thousand pounds upon some speculation, and somebody said to you, "It's all foolery!" the proof would be unanswerable if you had received the amount. So the Christian can say, Being justified by faith we have peace with God.

II. THE CONGREGATION WHICH PAUL ADDRESSED. Never mind the Jews and Gentiles. The verse is quite as applicable here as it was there. "Unto you." My friend, it is no small privilege to be where this message can yet be heard. Tens of thousands have gone the way of all flesh, unpardoned. What would they give to have another opportunity? I said that this was a privilege; but it is a privilege which some of you have despised. Those who heard Paul had never heard it before. Many of you have heard it from your youth up. All the exhortations in the world are to you as if they were spoken to an iron column or a brazen wall! Why will ye die? When you die we shall have to think, "Ah, that man is lost, and yet unto him was preached the forgiveness of sins!" Well, notwithstanding that you have neglected the privilege, it is still preached unto you. Fain would I point with my finger to some of you, and say, "Well, now, we really do mean you personally."


1. Some of them raved at a very great rate, until Paul shook off the dust of his feet against them, and went his way. But there was another class (ver. 48). Here was his comfort — there were some upon whom there had been a blessed work, and those "some" believed. Now, you need not ask the question whether you are God's elect. If you are God's chosen ones, you will know it by your trusting in Jesus. But if thou believest not, thou art in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity. May eternal mercy bring thee out of that state at once.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. Human.

2. Personal.


1. Forgiveness.

2. Justification.

III. THIS BLESSING OFFERED ON EASY AND HONOURABLE TERMS. Not by purchase, doing, meriting, but by believing —

1. In God's love.

2. In Christ's readiness and power to save.

3. In God's truth that He will save all who believe.


(J. Ross.)

1. Not the forgiveness of crimes. There may be sin where there is no crime. Crimes are social, between man and man, between man and human law. Crime can be measured, weighed, and punished. But who knows sin? Only God. I can forgive a crime, but I have no jurisdiction in the province of sin. If I have done you wrong and am sorry for it you can on the spot say, "There is an end of it"; but after that I must have some plain talk with God. After I have apologised I have still a grievous discontent with myself. How to get clear of that? and whilst I am debating this serious question a sweet voice says to me, "Be it known unto you," etc. That is the word which a self-convicted, sin-burdened soul most eagerly delights to hear. But he must have felt the bitterness and guiltiness of sin before he can feel the need of such a gospel. When his heart is in a right state then the Cross becomes heaven to him, and the gospel the cry of God seeking His lost child.

2. In making this statement I lay all who are not yet forgiven under a tremendous responsibility. A man cannot hear a gospel sermon and be the same after as before. You are on one side of a great swollen river and want to cross it to get home. I come and say, "Be it known unto you that I have found a bridge." The fact of my telling you so alters the complexion of the whole case. You must prove me a liar before you can get back to your former state of negative responsibility. You are bound to say, "Where?" I am bound to tell you where; and if, after having pointed out the bridge, you will not go home those on the other side have a right to condemn you. Brethren, you are on one side and truth on the other. An infinite distance lies between; but Paul says it is bridged by Christ. You are bound to accept or disprove the statement. If not to die. You are suffering from a great plague. I come and say, "Be it known unto you, I have found a balm which has never failed." Your state of responsibility is changed from that moment. Prove me false, or accept the remedy, or die. We are dying, and Jesus is set forth as the forgiveness of sins. No man, therefore, can hear that statement, and be the same after it as before.

3. How little is this word "forgiveness" understood, however we may assume we understand it. We some. times ignorantly say, "Why does not God forgive all men, and make an end of sin?" He cannot. You cannot. We must be willing to be forgiven. I may say, if you have wronged me, "Sir, I forgive you," and you may contemptuously refuse to be forgiven. "But if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive," etc. Did He forgive the Pharisee? How could He? The Pharisee confessed nothing. Whom did He forgive? The poor self-accusing creature who cried, "God be merciful to me a sinner." So it is with us.

4. When God forgives, what happens? He forgets. "I will remember no more." Where there is no forgetting there is no forgiving. What does God do with our sins when He has forgiven them? He casts them behind Him. Where is that? He puts them away as far as the East is from the West. How far is that?

5. Here, then, is forgiveness. God is waiting I am authorised to say. Are you ready? "But I do not understand." Sir, your understanding will damn you, if you use it so. Do you feel your need? Then believe. The apostle distinctly says there is only one way — through faith in Christ. If there were but one door to this hall, and the guide said, "This is the door," what folly to seek elsewhere or try to climb up to the windows. To take his word simply is to save time and promote comfort. But Paul is only one man — then I call the innumerable multitude who have believed his word and been forgiven to corroborate him.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. THROUGH THIS MAN. Such a man as there never was nor will be — "God manifest in the flesh," "the brightness of His Father's glory, and the express image of His person." In consequence of this union He becomes the proper object of our faith, and therefore the proper object of our preaching. If Jesus Christ were but a mere man, we could not have preached pardon through Him. What merit could there be in the actions or sufferings of a mere man? For, when he had done all, he would only have done what was commanded him. Gold in bullion is valuable, but it is not the circulating medium of the country, and, before it can become so, it must be melted down and stamped with the king's arms and image. Now, if Christ had been the best of mere men, His actions and sufferings would have been mere gold in the bullion, not the circulating medium. But when I consider the Divine nature in union with the human, then I see that they are stamped with the king's arms and image, and thus they become the circulating medium of salvation, and they will pay every man's debts on this side hell.

II. WE POINT YOU TO THIS MAN ON THE CROSS, and you there see Him bearing our sins in His own body on the tree. There is infinite merit in the sacrifice of this Godman. Prophets looked at Him on the Cross, and they saw and proclaimed pardon through Him, and the sole song of heaven's joy is, "He has redeemed us to God by His blood." We cannot tell why Jesus Christ did suffer and die, except on the ground of atonement. He could not suffer and die on His own account. "The soul that sinneth it shall die"; but, as Jesus Christ never had sinned, therefore He had no right to die. On the contrary, by the letter of the law, he had a right to live. "Do this and thou shalt live." Rationally, we can give no account except this: "He died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." When you look at the Cross, and see the infinite value of the sacrifice, you need not wonder "that we preach through this Man the forgiveness of sins."

III. THIS IS JUST THE VERY BLESSING WE WANT. "Look at the poor man condemned to be hanged. A messenger might be sent to say, "His majesty has graciously taken your ease into consideration, and I have brought you a purse with a thousand sovereigns." The poor man would say, "What good can they do me? I must be hanged tomorrow." "Well, but I have another message; he has considered your case, and sent you the title deeds to an estate of £50,000 a year." "What will that do for me? I may be hanged to morrow." "Stop; I have another proposition to make; I have brought you his coronation robe, the richest robe that ever covered a monarch." The man bursts into tears; he says, "Do you intend to mock me? What a creature I shall appear when I ascend the scaffold with the coronation robe! But what, no news — none at all?" "I have another word; his majesty has taken your case into consideration, and sent you a pardon, signed and sealed by the great seal of the king. Here, I have brought you a pardon — what do you say to that?" The poor man looks at him and says that he doubts it is too good news to be true. Then he leaps and praises. But the messenger says, "I have not done; I have got you the pardon, and here is the purse of gold, the title deeds, and the robe into the bargain!" So we preach pardon through the blood of the Lamb, and more than simple pardon. Not merely is the displeasure of God removed, but His favour enjoyed. Not merely is the pardoned sinner made a subject, but a child, brought to the king's palace, and made an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ.

IV. AND HOW MUST WE OBTAIN IT? "Whosoever believeth." Where a sinner believes the testimony of God, that he is a guilty sinner, sees the evil of his sin, the danger of his state, and feels a deep abhorrence of himself, a deep hatred to sin, and breathes out his soul in prayer — I do not say that he shall obtain remission of sins, but that is a preparatory operation that must take place, more or less, in all our souls. Remission of sins is not attached to believing God's record concerning Himself, but the eye turns itself out of itself, out of its own sins, out of its own weakness, and fixes itself upon the Lord Jesus Christ, in the dignity of His person, the virtue of His sacrificed the prevalence of His mediatorial office, this riches of His love. And then, when it looks to Jesus, there is in Christ everything that the guilty sinner wants. Here is the pardon presented, but he can bring no price. What, then, can he do? Why, he can open his hands and receive the blood-bought, freely-offered pardon for all his transgressions.

V. THERE IS NO OTHER SYSTEM IN THE WORLD THAT, AT THE SAME TIME THAT IT BRINGS PARDON TO THE SINNER, BRINGS THE HIGHEST GLORY TO GOD. Here is pardon, the fullest and the freest. Even in the Mosaic economy there were some sins for which there was no propitiatory sacrifice, and consequently those who lived under that economy could not be justified from all things. But the soul that believeth on Jesus Christ is justified from all things. And then it brings the highest glory to God, for He is glorified in the very exhibition of pardon to a ruined world. Some may say that to look for mere pardon and acceptance is a narrow and selfish principle; that we should look to a higher object, viz., the glory of God. Well, when I am pardoned, God is glorified, the plan of salvation, the merits of Christ, the goodness and holiness of God are glorified. When our Lord was a babe in the manger, angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest." I think we can sing it better now that He is a prince on the throne. We cannot glorify God without loving Him, and how can we love Him without being pardoned? Having much forgiven, we love much; and when we love much, we shall glorify God. We glorify God when we prize Him. When the sinner obtains pardon, he says, "I will praise thee, though Thou wast angry with me." God is glorified by our devotedness. We glorify God with our bodies and our spirits, which are His.

(W. Dawson.)

Consider —

I. THAT MANKIND ARE NATURALLY, AND WITHOUT CHRIST, IN A STATE OF GUILT AND CONDEMNATION. This proposition is here implied; it is that upon which the whole statement of the apostle proceeds; for it would be idle to talk of "forgiveness of sins," and to press it on the acceptance of those who are not sinners. God made man holy. To holy man he gave a holy law, which partook of the nature of a covenant. The language of it was, "Do it, and thou shalt live; but in the day that thou transgresseth, thou shalt die." The first man, the federal head of the whole human race, did transgress, and by transgression forfeited, for himself and for our race, the blessing of obedience, the blessing of the covenant, and incurred the penalty of the law — that is, he forfeited the right to life, and he incurred the punishment of death. From him we all derive a nature which — like his after his apostasy — was alienated from God, and inclined to evil The effect of this is that, when temptations occur, we all act again the part which he acted before us. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." "The wrath of God abideth on them."

II. THAT PROOF THIS NATURAL, CONDITION MEN CANNOT EXTRICATE THEMSELVES. "Ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." This undoubtedly includes a reference to the sacrifices and other ritual observances of the law. But we are sinners of the Gentiles, and are in no danger of relying on Jewish ceremonies. It is necessary, however, that we be convinced that we cannot be justified by the works of the moral law. To show you this you have only to look at what kind of obedience it is that the law requires when it says, "Do this, and thou shalt live." In order to your justification by law, the law requires an obedience perfect —

1. In its principles and motives. The law of God is spiritual, and will not be content with an external obedience. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart," etc. This law of God is so spiritual that it charges an idle thought as actual wickedness, a licentious desire as adultery, anger of heart as murder. Now, will any man stand the scrutiny of such a law as this?

2. In its practice and performance. On the one hand there are some who appeal to what they think the very tolerable, or even commendable regularity, of their outward conduct, and they ask whether they may not claim to be justified. Our last observation met their inquiry. But there are others who allow they have done that which they ought not to have done, but appeal to the supposed goodness of their hearts. "We meant well. We have failed in the performance, but will not God take the will for the deed?" Now, the second observation is meant to correct that. The law will not take the will for the deed, or the deed for the will. "Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." There must be actual and perfect performance in order to sustain the plea on the ground of your own works to life eternal. It is not enough to say that you thoroughly approve of the law; you may approve of it, and yet transgress it. It is not enough to say that you really desire to fulfil the law; the law makes justification depend not on desiring to keep the law, but on actually keeping it. It is not enough to say you have really used your strenuous endeavours to keep the law of God. The question is not whether you have been endeavouring, but whether you have performed it to the letter. Now how is it possible that any of us should stand on that ground before God?

3. In its extent, "In all things." It is not enough, therefore, to show that you have kept some of God's precepts. It is very possible that you may have continued in those parts of the law regulating your intercourse with the world, and yet have been extremely faulty in reference to those parts which relate to your feelings and conduct towards God. Now can you meet God on such ground as that?

4. In its duration. Think again of the passage already cited. Cursed is he that continueth not from the first moment at which personal responsibility commences to the latest period of his life "in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them." Oh! how inconceivably vain are all self-righteous hopes!

III. THAT WHAT THE LAW THUS FAILS OF ACCOMPLISHING, through no defects of its own (for it is in every respect perfect and good), but through the perversity and weakness of human nature, THE GOSPEL OFFERS FREELY TO IMPART.

1. "Forgiveness of sins," that is, the remission of the penalty due to the commission of guilt.(1) This is not the alteration or diminution in the slightest degree of that intense abhorrence of sin which God must ever feel. He does not come to the conclusion, upon a view of all the particulars, that because the law has been severe the sinner is to be excused. It is part of the imperfection of human laws that such things as these sometimes occur, but which never can occur in reference to the perfect law of an infinitely wise and righteous lawgiver, who makes no mistakes, who has no errors to correct.(2) But though there is no change in God's views of sin when He pardons it, there is great and almost infinite change in its consequences in His dealings with the sinner. When sin is pardoned, that curse is entirely taken away, and the blessedness of righteousness comes in.

2. The same transaction, substantially, is called "justification." To be justified is to be accounted righteous, and to be treated as righteous. And the pardoned man, being thus at the same time accounted righteous, becomes entitled to blessings of unspeakable value. He has peace, is adopted into the family of God, is entitled to the inheritance of children.

IV. THAT FOR THIS GREAT AND UNSPEAKABLE BLESSING PROVIDED FOR US IN THE GOSPEL WE ARE ALTOGETHER INDEBTED MERITORIOUSLY TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. "Through this Man...and by Him." The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us for the purpose of saving us. You owe your pardon, justification, and all subsequent blessings —

1. To this Man's holy and spotless life. The perfect purity of our Saviour was essential to His becoming an accepted sacrifice for the sins of men. According to the law none but a lamb without blemish could be accepted.

2. To this Man's death on the Cross. Not all the condescension implied in His assuming our nature, not all the sublimity of His doctrines, could have availed to the salvation of men.

3. To this Man's resurrection from the dead. He "was delivered for our offences, but raised again for our justification." Hence to the apostles "Jesus and the resurrection" was the great point to which they bare testimony. Not that His resurrection was the meritorious consideration on which God extended pardon, but that the resurrection bore a satisfactory attestation to the death which did atone. For if there had been no real death, there could not be a real resurrection.

4. To this Man's ascension and to His mediatorial administration of all the affairs of His spiritual kingdom. "He has ascended on high; He has led captivity captive; He has received gifts for men," etc. The dispensation of those blessings which He procured for our race is entrusted to His own hands; out of His fulness it is that we receive the grace of penitence and faith, and that seals the pardon by the Spirit of adoption.

V. THAT, IN ORDER TO THE PERSONAL APPROPRIATION OF THE BLESSINGS THUS PROCURED BY CHRIST, FAITH IS REQUIRED AS THE APPOINTED INSTRUMENT. "By Him all that believe are justified." No unbeliever is justified. Let us learn from this that the forgiveness of sin is not a very rare and extraordinary thing. Some objectors say that the enjoyment rather belongs to persons of eminent attainments in religion, or that it is the recompense for some eminent sacrifice for Christ and conscience. But the text says that "all who believe are justified." And this is in accordance with St. John's testimony: "I write unto you little children, because your sins are forgiven you, for His name's sake." So that even the weakest believer has the forgiveness of sins. What, then, is that believing to which such important consequences are attached?

1. It is not merely education, the faith which results from our having the privilege of being born in a Christian land. It is not the historical faith merely which results from the exercise of our judgment upon Divine revelation, its evidence, and its contents. The heart must be brought to bear on the truth thus apprehended, the will must embrace it, and the affections must be called forth and exercised by it. It is a "believing with the heart" that is "unto righteousness." There may be the "evil heart of unbelief" where there is not the smallest approach to theoretical and speculative infidelity.

2. And then, to come a little nearer still, it is not merely that going out after God in penitential desire, and with that measure of hope and anticipation which belongs to the true penitent. A man effectually convinced of sin cannot but go out after Christ in penitential desire, for he perceives that without Christ he is undone. This faith implies the actual laying hold upon Christ by the power of the Eternal Spirit with believing, trust, and reliance.

3. Do you wish to get a clearer and more distinct view of it? I tell you how it is to be done; you must make the experiment; you will never understand it till you practise it. In the exercise of penitent and self-renouncing and self-despairing feelings turn your eye to Christ; look on Him that you may be saved. Look off from everything else; look off from yourself, from every other pretended saviour; look to Jesus; and while you are thus looking, the aid of the Holy Spirit will be imparted to you, and you will perform that special and distinct act of faith which is trusting on Christ, which is believing with the heart unto righteousness; and while you are performing, when you thus perform it, you will understand it better.

(Jabez Bunting, D. D.)

I recollect in Martin Luther's life that he saw, in one of the Romish churches, a picture of the Pope, and the cardinals, and bishops, and priests, and monks, and friars, all on board a ship. They were all safe, every one of them. As for the laity, poor wretches, they were struggling in the sea, and many of them drowning. Only those were saved to whom the good men in the ship were so kind as to hand out a rope or a plank. That is not our Lord's teaching; His blood is shed "for many," and not for the few. He is not the Christ of a caste, or a class, but the Christ of all conditions of men. His blood is shed for many sinners, that their sins may be remitted.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I recollect a story told of William Dawson, whom our Wesleyan friends used to call Billy Dawson, one of the best preachers that ever entered a pulpit. He once gave out as his text, "Through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." When he had given out his text he dropped down to the bottom of the pulpit, so that nothing could be seen of him, only there was a voice heard saying, "Not the man in the pulpit — he is out of sight — but the Man in the book. The Man described in the book is the Man through whom is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." I put myself and you and everybody else out of sight, and I preach to you the remission of sins through Jesus only. I would sing with the children, "Nothing but the blood of Jesus." Shut your eyes to all things but the Cross. Jesus died, and rose again, and went to heaven, and all your hope must go with Him! Come, my hearer, take Jesus by a distinct act of faith this morning! May God the Holy Ghost constrain thee to do so, and then thou mayest go on thy way rejoicing! So be it in the name of Jesus.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A Christian worker says: "We were asked one day to call and see a poor woman who was very ill. We found her worn and faint, in a state of extreme discomfort and poverty. In the room were screaming children, whose mother was loudly bidding them 'Be still, or she'd beat them,' so that at first it seemed doubtful whether the invalid would be able to listen to anything. 'It's all there,' said the poor woman, laying her hand on her chest, 'and don't leave me night nor day. I can't get rid of the burden!' Our efforts to arrange the pillow and straighten the rags meant for bed clothes did not afford any relief.' No, my dear, it's not that, it's not that. Its all my sins as I've done ever since I was a child: they come up before me, and lie there so heavy. They tell me I must die; but I can't.' 'Now, listen, and I will tell you of a man who felt just as you did, only perhaps worse. He was so bad that he could not keep from roaring day and night. He could not lie still as you can; and he said, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. When I kept silence my bones waxed old, through my roaring all the day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me." 'Oh,' broke in the woman, 'that's like me; and what did he do?' 'I acknowledged my sin unto Thee. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord'; and on explaining what this was, the poor woman started up in bed, took hold of my arm, and, with an eagerness beyond description, asked, 'What did the Lord say? What did God say to him?' 'And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin; for this shall everyone pray unto Thee.' No more need be told. The woman acknowledged her sins, and David's God spake forgiveness to her heart through Jesus Christ. From that day the burden was gone, and the praise that rose from that sick bed continuous."

Christian Age.
Luther sought rest for his troubled breast in self-denial and retirement as a monk, but did not find it. In 1500 he started as a delegate for Rome, hoping to find relief from his burden there. As he came in sight of the city he fell on his knees, exclaiming, "Holy Rome! I salute thee." He was disappointed and shocked at the wickedness which he found there. The people said to him, "if there is a hell, Rome is built over it." At last he turned to ascend Pilate's staircase, thronged by the superstitious crowd, upon his knees. He toiled from step to step, repeating his prayers at everyone, till a voice of thunder seemed to cry within him, "The just shall live by faith." Instantly he rose, saw the folly of his hopes of relief through works of merit. A new life followed his new light. Seven years after he nailed his theses to the door of the Wittenberg church, and inaugurated the Reformation.

(Christian Age.)

From which ye could not be Justified by the law of Moses.
The law cannot save, "for by the deeds of the law no flesh is justified"; but the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The law is all righteousness — the gospel all grace. The law can only justify the just; the gospel justifies the sinner. The law is a royal chariot that will convey the perfect man to heaven, but it is a Juggernaut car which crushes the rebel under its wheels. The law can only declare a man just; the gospel makes him just. The law demands obedience, but it never helps men to obey; the gospel effectually helps those who cannot help themselves. The law cries out, "Do this and live"; the gospel, in gentler tones, says, "Believe and live." The law has a prison in which to punish; the gospel has a reformatory in which to save. The law is a taskmaster sternly commanding; the gospel is a philanthropist generously helping and inspiring. The law can only show the sins; the gospel, with an almighty fling, casts them into the depths of the sea. The law can say, "If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, who shall stand?" The gospel gives the grand reply, "There is forgiveness with Thee." The law can say, "Sin hath abounded"; the gospel, "Grace hath much more abounded." The law has not saved one soul; the gospel has saved its myriads. Thank God that where the law fails the gospel triumphs.

(J. Ossian Davies.)

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