The expression, "the remission of sins" means the sending away of sins. It means sending
away sins into the realm of utter forgetfulness, to be remembered no more against us by our
Father in heaven. One whose sins are remitted will never be brought into judgment for any
transgression committed previous to receiving "the remission of sins" (John 5:24).
Surely, the sending away of a mortal's sins by the Immortal God is the sweetest theme ever
contemplated by a human being.
The remission of sins is exclusively a New Testament subject. We will examine each of those passages where this phrase is found and not in each instance that to which remission of sins is attributed. It will also be attempted to agree with everyone, as far as possible, who professes reverence for the Bible as God's Word. If, then, at the last a disagreement must come, this question will be pressed: "Is there Scriptural ground for this difference in viewpoint?" Should not the one differing with God's Word change his views?
"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28).
"John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3).
Now let us hear the prophecy of Zacharias. "Thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God" (Luke 1:76-78).
"It is written...that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:46-47).
"Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained" (John 20:23).
When the human heart rejects the message of remission of sins it becomes more and more like stone. When it accepts the gospel, it is melted to tears. I believe there is agreement of all the "orthodox" on this.
"To him [Christ] give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43).
"Whom (the Saviour) God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (Romans 3:25).
"Now where remission of these [sins] is, there is no more offering for sin" (Hebrews 10:18).
"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22).
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).
Do you insist that "for" in Acts 2:38 has the meaning of "because of?" Do you mean to say they were commanded to be baptized because of salvation and not in order to it? If that is true, then Jesus died on Calvary because we were already saved. Why? Because the phrase, "for the remission of sins" is identical in Matthew 26:28 and in Acts 2:38. The two passages stand or fall together. If the blood of Christ which He shed on Calvary is in order to the remission of sins, then repentance and baptism are also.