And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:…
I. THE BLESSING CONFERRED — "Remission of sins." Remission is to remove the guilt of sin, that the punishment of it may not be inflicted upon the sinner. God alone can fully forgive sins in this way; and He does it eminently, so that not a vestige of it remains. Remission implies —
1. An offence, and consequently an offender. We have offended God.
2. A sovereign act. It is a pure act of grace and love.
3. A complete and perfect act. He does not forgive the greater offences and omit the smaller ones; neither does He forgive the smaller and leave the greater ones unpardoned.
II. THE UNLIMITED NATURE OF THE BLESSING. "Whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." The qualification necessary in the recipient of the blessing is to believe. This includes penitence for the past offences, and a full reliance on Christ for pardon. There is no respect of persons — "Whosoever." This may be regarded alike in respect to nations, in respect to class, and in respect to moral character.
1. The Jews were still "slow of heart to believe" that the Gentiles were to be partakers of the grace of the gospel. There is no distinction of race or colour of skin. "Whosoever believeth" among all nations, and languages, and tribes, and shades of mankind, shall receive remission of sins.
2. As the blessing of forgiveness is applicable to all nations, so it is also to all classes.
3. Moral character does not exclude from the blessing. Some have run to a greater "excess of riot" than others; still there is no distinction made.
III. THE MEDIUM THROUGH WHICH THE BLESSING IS CONVEYED — "Through His name." God could not, consistently with His justice and holiness, forgive sins without atonement.
IV. THE UNIVERSAL TESTIMONY BORNE BY THE ANCIENT PROPHETS TO THE FACT THAT SIN MUST BE FORGIVEN THROUGH CHRIST — "To Him give all the prophets witness." Soon after the entrance of sin it was intimated that it should be remitted through the Saviour. The door of hope was opened when God said, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman." We refer to some of the prophecies on this point. Isaiah tells us — "He was wounded for our transgressions...and with His stripes we are healed." "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities." Jeremiah says — "This is His name, the Lord our Righteousness." We see, then, that Christ is the medium of communication between God and man. If we shall be reconciled to God it must be through Him.
Parallel VersesKJV: And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: