“Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39)
We’ve been walking through the scriptural teaching on forgiveness for some time now. I hope it’s been encouraging to you; I know it’s been helpful for me. I have two more articles coming after this. One is on Ken Sande’s 4 promises of forgiveness and the final is a recommended reading list. So, this is the last post that will dwell directly on the scripture in this forgiveness series. As we come to the end of this series, it seems best to finish once more with the call of the gospel, a call which leads you to call out and receive the forgiveness of God.
The forgiveness of God is all of grace. It’s not something you work for and earn. It’s not something that you can find within yourself. It’s something proclaimed from outside of you. That’s important for many reasons, but one is because if you think you have earned God’s forgiveness, you will also think that others have to earn yours. You will turn forgiveness into a work instead of a grace. Law can’t free you from sin or guilt or shame. Only grace does that.
Look at Acts 22. This is one of several times that Paul’s conversion story is recounted in the New Testament. Having been blinded and called by Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul is met by Ananias whom the Lord had sent to him. Ananias prayed for him to receive his sight, and then gave him his commission from the Lord, that he would be a witness of all the Lord had done. Acts 22:16, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”
If you are reading this and you are burdened under the guilt and shame of unforgiven sin, if you have never truly repented of your sins and found complete forgiveness and freedom in Christ, then why do you wait? You aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, but even right this minute you can be saved. You can be forgiven and experience the renewing of God’s Spirit. Baptism can wash away your sins, not as a removal of dirt from the body in a physical act but as an appeal of faith to God for his righteousness (1 Pet. 3:21).
Notice that all of it is tied to “calling on his name.” It’s not a physical baptism that brings forgiveness. It’s not your own supposed righteousness that God responds to in cleansing you from sin. It’s not calling on your name that will save you. There is one name under heaven by which you can be forgiven and that is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). It’s in his name alone that you can find forgiveness, so why wait? Call on his name. Perhaps you already have. Then don’t forget your first love. Don’t think that you were given grace that you might once again earn the love of God. Call out again and find that you still stand forgiven by the atoning sacrifice of Christ’s death. There is true forgiveness of sins. Call out to him and you will find it.