Acts 20:21, 24
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Testifying... repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. "To testify the gospel of the grace of God." The main lines of the apostle's work are nowhere given more simply or more clearly than in these sentences. Dean Plumptre suggestively says, "These," viz. repentance and faith, "under all varieties of form, formed the substance of the apostle's teaching. It is obvious, however, that out of these might be developed a whole system of theology; why repentance was needed, and what it was, and how it should show itself; what was involved in the statement that Jesus was the Christ, and why men should believe in him, and what works were the proper fruit of faith. All these were questions which had to be answered before even the most elementary truths could be rightly apprehended." St. Paul's ministry consisted in this, bearing witness, "especially as a living example of its power (1 Timothy 1:12-16), of the good tidings that God was not a harsh Judge, but a gracious Father, willing all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), that was the truth to the proclamation of which his life was to be devoted." As the subjects are familiar, only an outline of treatment is necessary. We take the latter expression first, as being the more general one.
I. GOD'S GRACE UNTO FORGIVENESS. The gospel is precisely a message concerning God. It is:
1. A corrective message. God is not as men have thought.
2. A revealing message, bringing to light the fact that, by a sublime act of self-sacrifice, he has declared himself to be love, and has shown his grace.
3. A practical message, bearing directly on our sins, and giving assurance of forgiveness.
II. GOD'S CONDITIONS FOR THE MANIFESTATION OF HIS GRACE UNTO FORGIVENESS. Without conditions we should set no value on the grace, the gift, or the forgiveness. The conditions are reasonable and necessary. They are:
1. Repentance. If we are not troubled about out' sin, we shall not care about forgiveness.
2. Faith. If we do not open our hearts to God, he cannot work his good work in us. These are gospel foundations; but how much we have to build thereon! - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.