and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
(a) Repentance for forgiveness. The word for has been added and a more accurate translation may be repentance and forgiveness. We don’t repent to get God to forgive us because his forgiveness is a done deal. Alternatively we repent (change our unbelieving minds) to receive the forgiveness he has provided in his Son.
The good news is God loves you with a love that keeps no record of wrongs. He chooses to remember your sins no more and he holds nothing against you. The cross is the proof. Jesus forgave his killers and he forgave you while you were dead in your trespasses (Rom. 5:8). Because of his great love, he has made a way for you to come home to him. Our repentance is always a response to, and not a cause of God’s kindness (Rom. 2:4).
(b) Forgiveness of sins. The original word for forgiveness (aphesis) is a noun that is sometimes translated as remission and means a letting go or dismissal (Matt. 26:28, Mark 1:4, 3:29, Luke 1:77, 3:3, 4:18, Acts 2:38, 5:31, 13:38, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14, Heb. 9:22, 10:18). On the cross the Lamb of God carried the sins of the whole world (John 1:29, 2 John 2:2). All your sins have been forgiven, cancelled, dismissed and sent away.
On the night he rose from the dead, Jesus told the disciples to preach the remission of sins or the good news of unconditional forgiveness and they did (see entry for Acts 13:38). Because of his great love, God chooses to remember your sins no more (Heb. 8:12, 10:17), and he is no longer holding your sins and trespasses against you (2 Cor. 5:19). However, you will never experience his forgiveness unless you receive it by faith. Only in Christ do we have the forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14).
Further reading: “Is forgiveness something God does or gives?”
The Grace Commentary is a work in progress with new content added regularly. Sign up for occasional updates below. Got something to say? Please use the Feedback page. To report typos or broken links on this page, please use the comment form below.