And that repentance and remission of sins
Which are the sum of the Gospel ministry; see ( Acts 20:21 ) the doctrine of "repentance" is not of the law, which neither requires, nor admits of it, but of the Gospel. The Persic version calls it, "the Gospel of repentance"; a doctrine preached by John the Baptist, Christ, and his apostles; and the thing itself is a blessing of the covenant, a gift of God's grace, and in the hands of Christ to bestow; and therefore the doctrine of it is published in his name, as well as remission of sins; which, though it springs from the free grace of God, is procured by the blood of Christ, and through him it is preached. These two are joined together, not because repentance is the cause of pardon; for repentance makes no satisfaction for sin, or atonement for it; nor does the law at all regard it: tears of repentance will not wash away sin; notwithstanding these, iniquity remains marked before God; Christ's tears themselves did not take away, nor atone for sin; his blood must be shed, and it was shed for the remission of it; and that is the only meritorious cause it. The Syriac version wrongly reads, "repentance for the remission of sins": the Jews F3 indeed have a notion that repentance atones for sin; but it is a very bad one, and has no countenance neither from the law of nature, nor the law of Moses: but these two are put together, because there is a connection between them, as there is between repentance, and life, and salvation: repentance issues in these things; and to whomsoever the grace of repentance is given, to them the forgiveness of sins is applied; nor need any truly repenting sinner despair of the pardon of his sin: and indeed, there is no true evangelical repentance without views, or at least hopes of pardoning grace, and mercy; for that is attended with faith in Christ, and is heightened by the discoveries of forgiving love: such who have the fullest view of the remission of their sins, have the clearest sense of sin, and have the most sorrow for it, and loath themselves on account of it, and are ashamed of it, and do most frankly confess it, and most thoroughly forsake it. And now it was necessary, according to Old Testament prophecies, that both these
should be preached in his name;
in the name of the Messiah; by his authority, and as coming through him; since the remission of sin is by his blood; and he is exalted as a prince, and a Saviour, to give both repentance and forgiveness of sins to all the Israel of God, whether Jews or Gentiles; and therefore it is fitting and proper that these should be preached,
among all nations;
of the world, where God's elect are; that so they may be brought hereby to repentance, and receive the forgiveness of their sins:
beginning at Jerusalem;
from whence, according to the Old Testament, the word and doctrine of the Lord were to go forth, ( Psalms 110:2 ) ( Isaiah 2:3 ) and is particularly mentioned, because the Gospel was to be first preached to the Jews, and be the power of God unto salvation to them; and because that in Jerusalem lived those who had been concerned in crucifying Christ, to whom repentance and forgiveness must be preached; and which would be a great encouragement to the vilest of sinners, to hope for mercy and forgiveness, since such received both.
F3 T. Bab. Ceritot, fol. 7. 1.