God’s Two Laws of Pardon
By definition, sin is the “transgression of God’s law” (1 John 3:4). All accountable human beings are guilty of sin. The Apostle Paul wrote: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans ). Even those who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ and have been forgiven of their past sins are capable of sinning again. The Apostle John warned: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2).
While forgiveness of sin is freely bestowed by our gracious heavenly Father, it is conditional, both for the alien sinner and for the erring child of God. The conditions are not the same for both, but must be complied with in both cases if pardon is to take place.
When our Lord gave the Great Commission to His disciples, He taught them to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark ,16). In Luke’s account of the Commission, the Saviour stated that
remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning
In the book of Acts, we read of the
gospel being preached, the terms of pardon plainly given, and several cases of
conversion are recorded. In the eighth
chapter of Acts, there is an account of conversion which illustrates well God’s
two laws of pardon, one for the alien sinner and the other for the erring child
of God. Philip the evangelist had gone
The apostles in
Simon still believed in Jesus Christ and had already been baptized into Him (Galatians ,27). He did not need to be baptized again. He did, however, need to repent of his sin and ask the Lord’s forgiveness. Asking the Lord for forgiveness involved the confession of his sin to God: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Thus, we see in the case of Simon the sorcerer God’s two laws of pardon in effect. When Simon was an alien sinner, he needed to believe and be baptized in order to be pardoned. But when Simon, the child of God sinned, he was told to “Repent and pray.”
All accountable people outside of Christ have sinned. They must comply with the conditions of God’s pattern to be saved. This requires faith in Jesus Christ and baptism for the remission for sins. Once this has been done, one is a child of God. If he then sins, he can be pardoned for his sin if he will repent of it and confess it seeking God’s forgiveness.
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