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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 26 - Acts 10:43 - Forgiveness through the Name of Jesus Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," said the angel to John (Revelation 19:10); that is, the burden of all prophecy is Jesus; He is the first and the last of the prophetic word. So here, Peter says, "To Him give all the prophets witness"; or, "to this man it is that all time prophets bear witness."

And who is this man? The previous verses are the answer. His name is Jesus of Nazareth. He was a man anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power. He went about doing good. He healed all who were oppressed of the devil. God was with Him. He was slain, and hanged on a tree. He was raised up the third day. He was shewn openly to chosen witnesses. He was to be preached not only as Saviour, but as Judge of the living and the dead. This is the man. Of this man not only all the apostles and disciples have spoken, but all the prophets of old. Their testimony finds its fulfillment in Him. Their words converge on Him.

Their testimony is that of the Holy Ghost. It was He who drew the marvelous picture of Messiah in the Old Testament, in which we find the exact and perfect portrait of the man Christ Jesus. This portrait was not sketched at once, but in parts and fragments, in different ages. It was outlined in Paradise, and afterwards filled in by holy men, who, without concert with each other, did their various parts as taught by the Holy Ghost.

"This man" is then the man of prophecy, the man of the Bible, the man of the ages. It is He of whom all the prophets have spoken, and to whom the heathen traditions dimly point. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell. Let us hear the prophetic and the apostolic testimony to Him as given here. Let us learn what there is in Him for us.

I. There is remission of sins. It is this that is man's first need. He is condemned; under wrath; the sentence has gone out against him. His iniquities have come between him and God, between him and peace, between him and heaven. Unpardoned sin is a burden too heavy to be borne. Not sin merely as a disease or misfortune, but sin as a legal and judicial thing; a thing which inexorable law must deal with; a thing which the righteous Judge has condemned and must condemn. Of this sin there is remission; and God sends man remission as the first thing needed; that with which the rectification of all his spiritual disorders must begin; that which is absolutely needful in all his dealings with God, and in all his hopes of the kingdom. Forgiveness! This is God's first message to man. Forgiveness free and ample; sure and immediate; conscious and happy; eternal and irreversible. Forgiveness without reserve; forgiveness to the chief of sinners; forgiveness of all sins. In this forgiveness is, of course, wrapped up peace with God, peace of conscience, "the answer of a good conscience toward God," the removal of the heavy burden that weighed the sinner down, of the dark cloud that overshadows all his life. O man, hast thou found remission? Hast thou tasted forgiveness,—such a forgiveness as God only can give,—He who is the "Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and slow to wrath; forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin,"—He who says, when forgiving Israel, "I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly, with my whole heart and with my whole soul" (Jeremiah 32:41),—He "who forgiveth all our iniquities, and removes our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:3, 12),—He with whom there is forgiveness that He may be feared,—He who, through the lips of His only begotten Son, said once to a sinning woman on earth, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven?" O man, if thou hast not found this forgiveness, rest not till thou hast, for what is life without it? And if thou art still uncertain about it, rest not till thou hast made it a certainty, for uncertainty on such a point as this is bondage, and darkness, and sorrow.

II. There is remission of sins through His name. His "name" means that which He is revealed and declared to be; that by which He is distinguished from all others; that which interprets and proclaims His true character. It is not merely His "names," though these are all expressive of His grace and fullness, but His "name," His whole revealed character as the "only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Forgiveness comes to the sinner through that which Jesus is declared to be and to have done; and we, in going to God for pardon have respect simply to that which is in Him, not to any one thing in us, as qualifying us for pardon. As unforgiven, we go to Him for forgiveness; as condemned, we go to Him for "no condemnation"; and all through His name; that name of love, and power, and blessing, in naming which before the Father we get all we need.

III. This remission of sins comes to us by believing. Out of His name we extract the pardon simply by believing what God has told us about that name. "He that believeth is not condemned." In believing we take the remission which God has deposited for us in His Son; and, being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Believe and be forgiven is God's message to us. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Not working, or feeling, or striving, but believing, brings us pardon.[2] We consent to do nothing and be nothing in the matter of pardon, but to let God do it all. For faith is no effort. The effort to act faith, as some speak, shews that we neither know what faith is, nor what we are to believe.

IV. This remission of sins is for any who will take it. Here we have the well known "whosoever," assuring that to this proffer of pardon there is no limit and no exception. It is wide as sin; it is wide as the name of sinner; it is wide as the free love of God. That no man is pardoned till he believes, is the declaration of scripture; that every man is pardoned who believes, is no less so; but that to every man to whom God sends the gospel, He sends with it and in it the offer of forgiveness, is as certainly the truth of God. He sends His word abroad; and in that word is Christ, and in that Christ is pardon; so that to the condemned and ruined ones of earth He presents a simple word, and a full Christ, and a free pardon.

Poor child of earth, on whom condemnation rests, take the proffered pardon at His hand; take it as thou art; take it at once; take it and rejoice in deliverance from the wrath to come! "Whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins."

It is not "work and be saved," or "feel and be saved"; it is, "believe and be saved."