At Matthew chapter nine, Jesus began at verse twelve to explain the purpose and mission for which He came to the earth. It is there that He began to explain to the Pharisees of the day that the whole had no need of a physician as did the sick, but called upon the Pharisees to go and learn the meaning of that.
Had they done so, they would have learned that no spiritually whole people had ever existed to the extent that they would have no need of this Great Physician we know as Jesus Christ.
The prophet of old had testified that none were righteous, while Jesus went on to explain that it would be mercy, not sacrifice, that would save us. This takes the actual act of redemption out of our-hands and places it squarely in the hands of the Lord.
We must express our faith by our obedience, just as the ancient Jews were obedient to offer animal sacrifices. However, it is the grace of God that actually saves once our faith has been demonstrated by obedience, just as the blood of the bulls and goats of early sacrifices could never save a man. Rather, it is the mercy of God that redeems.
Jesus desired that men and women should understand and respond to the saving message, declaring that He came not to call the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance.
Since, as we have observed, none were righteous, then there are none He didn’t come to call. Therefore, all those who ever lived are they who are subject to the call of the Almighty to be saved by grace that comes through repentance expressed in obedience.
At Acts chapter one, Luke wrote of all that Jesus came to do and teach. We’ve observed something about what He came to do in the calling of sinners to repentance. Now, let’s look at something He came to teach.
At Luke chapter twenty-four, Jesus is committing the apostles to continue the work He had begun. Just before His ascension back to Heaven, Christ commanded that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations. The necessary implication is that repentance and remission of sins are hinged inseparably upon one another. Remission of sins is impossible unless there is expressed in the life of a person a demonstration of repentance.
Defined, repentance is to have second thoughts or a change of heart. Remission, defined, means to forgive a debt or to send away. Therefore, in order for a person’s debt to God to be forgiven and his guilt of sin to be sent away, he must demonstrate in his manner of life that he has changed his mind about the acceptability of sin, to instead find it to be completely unacceptable.
That which we allow for ourselves is that which we demonstrate acceptance. Let us resolve that we find nothing acceptable for us save that which Jesus came to both do and teach.