This is from the blog A Word in Season:
The Remission of Sins
God, in Christ having paid the price of our sins and remitted them forever from His presence, now proclaims us forgiven and justified in His sight. He now brings us into the workings of His Love, His Truth and His Spirit to complete His full plan of salvation. Having been declared righteous He now begins in earnest to make us His righteousness in truth. The experience of His joy in our hearts and the incomprehensible knowing we are freed from the penalty and the shame of our past sins is the sure sign of His truth in our hearts. However, we soon discover that the declared righteousness, as wonderful as it is, leaves lingering sins and issues. Even though much of the former sins have passed away we inherently recognize the need for a further work of God to complete that which He has begun.
“…being persuaded of this very thing,
that the One having begun a good work in you
will finish it until the day of Jesus Christ”
This is the point at which His people reveal their desire for religion or truth. Voices of the nominal church will tell the young believer to believe the work of God is done; that they have been forgiven and justified so go enjoy life in this world. These voices of reason speak the words of compromise and death. These are the voices of a thief that would rob His people of the truth and power of the Cross to which we have been called. It would steal from us the riches of the promises of God given to those who overcome. If there is no overcoming there will be no reaping of the rewards which God gives to those who live and overcome by faith.
“To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the paradise of God”
“He that overcometh
shall not be hurt of the second death…”
“To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the hidden manna,
and will give him a white stone,
and in the stone a new name written,
which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it”
“And he that overcometh,
and keepeth my works unto the end,
to him will I give power over the nations:
And he shall rule them with a rod of iron;
as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers:
even as I received of my Father.
And I will give him the morning star”
“He that overcometh,
the same shall be clothed in white raiment;
and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life,
but I will confess his name before my Father,
and before his angels”
“Him that overcometh
will I make a pillar in the temple of my God,
and he shall go no more out:
and I will write upon him the name of my God,
and the name of the city of my God,
which is new Jerusalem,
which cometh down out of heaven from my God:
and I will write upon him my new name”
“To him that overcometh
will I grant to sit with me in my throne,
even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father in his throne”
These promises are not ours because we were forgiven and justified; they are for those who overcome! These promises are to those who refuse to compromise with the enemies of their own hearts. These promises are to those who desire the true righteousness which is ours by the power of the faith, life and truth of Jesus beating in our hearts. These ones know the truth of “working out their own salvation”; not by the works of the law but because it is God who is at work in their hearts.
“Wherefore, my beloved,
as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only,
but now much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you
both to will and to do of his good pleasure”
Our working out of this great salvation is the result of God working in. This is not religious works but the works of faith. Faith cannot exist within an individual without producing these works. They who do little have little faith.
“For as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also”
The voices of compromise and of a lukewarm spirit will cry out Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast”
What they fail to quote is the verse that follows…
“For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them”
The working out of God’s salvation as a result of His working in brings us to the knowing this one thing: We are not saved by works; we are saved unto good works. Those good works are revealed in overcoming the obstacles of our hearts, our weaknesses, our thinking, and the lusts of this world, the pride of life and the accuser of the brethren. These are the works and victory of His faith in us.
Our part in the remission of sins is summed up in this scripture.
“John did baptize in the wilderness,
and preach the baptism of repentance
for* (unto) the remission of sins”
While much of the church would preach and believe in the remission of sins on God’s part, few would dare to preach or believe we are called to walk out the remission of sins in our own lives. We are to co-operate with God’s work of salvation in our lives. We also are called to “send away from ourselves” our sins. John the Baptist preached the baptism of repentance in which people would be convicted and brought by the power of the Holy Spirit to the place of repentance. Repentance is the power of God at work in lives to “turn” from their sins. John preached this repentance unto the remission of sins. This is the preaching of the Gospel whereby people are convicted in their minds of the horror and bondage their sins have brought upon them and in that sorrow they find in God divine enablement to remiss (turn away, send away) their own live sins. It is here we discover the power of God’s salvation working within the hearts of men to bring them to the point of action: the turning away from sin. How the truth and power of the Gospel has been polluted! It is here, by grace, we enter into a covenant with God. It is a covenant that He instituted by the death of His Son through the shedding of His Own Blood. How can we linger in sin any longer?
“What then? shall we sin,
because we are not under the law,
but under grace?
God forbid that we should compromise with sin because we are under grace. God forbid that the battle of faith within my own life should cease until everything within my heart is brought under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.