The sinner is justified and reconciled on the objective basis of Christ’s atoning sacrifice for all (Rom. 5:6-10). The provision that God has made for the justification and reconciliation of humankind to Himself through the death of Christ needs, however, to be brought into the experience of the believer. It is not enough to just have a theoretical knowledge about justification. We need to experience what it means for ourselves.
Acts 2:36-38 and Acts 3:19 bring up repentance as the beginning of the sinner’s experience of salvation. How does the nature of repentance as a feeling of remorse help us to connect the experience of justification with the death of Christ?
Ponder the following comment: “Nothing so touches the depths of the soul as a sense of Christ’s pardoning love. When sinners contemplate this unfathomable divine love, displayed on the cross, they receive the most powerful motivation possible to repent. This is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).”-Ministerial Association of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Seventh-day Adventists Believe, (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press® Publishing Association, 2005), pp. 135, 136.
We are told in the Bible that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). We have also seen that contemplating the love of Christ motivates a person to repentance. Repentance, then, is not the special prerogative of a privileged few. In view of these facts, the importance of the study and the contemplation of God’s Word in the experience of justification cannot be overemphasized.
It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance and justification. Thus, if I should repent of sin and experience justification, God is the one to receive the credit. Salvation, then, is truly a gracious gift from God, for, indeed, it is by grace through faith that we are saved (Eph. 2:8).
What are some tangible and practical ways in which you may flood your heart and mind with the goodness of God, especially as you think of what He has done for you and what He has spared you from?