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                      "GOD'S SECOND LAW OF PARDON"

                               Acts 8:22


1. The Scriptures reveal different instructions on how to obtain
   a. To alien sinners outside of Christ - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16
   b. To erring Christians guilty of sin - cf. Ac 8:22; 1Jn 1:19

2. The difference has been described by some as "God's Two Laws Of
   a. For the alien sinner, there is God's first law of pardon
      1) Hear the gospel
      2) Believe that Jesus is the Christ, who died for our sins
      3) Repent of sins
      4) Confess faith in Christ
      5) Be baptized for the remission of sins
   b. For the erring Christian, there is God's second law of pardon
      1) Repent of sins
      2) Pray to God
      3) Confess sins to God

[As we evangelize, we often spend much time explaining the first law.
As Christians seeking to maintain our relationship with God, we should
be equally concerned with the second law.  So let's take a closer look
at "God's Second Law Of Pardon"...]


      1. Note that repentance is required in both laws of pardon - cf.
         Ac 2:38; 8:22
      2. What does it mean to repent?  Literally, it means "a change of
         a. "signifies to change one's mind or purpose" - Vine
         b. "this change of mind involves both a turning from sin and a
            turning to God" - ibid.
      3. Thus it involves making a decision to stop sinning
         a. Just as the alien sinner is called to do so in becoming a
         b. So the erring Christian must do to return to the Lord
      4. Repentance is produced by "godly sorrow" - cf. 2Co 7:9-10
         a. A sorrow for having sinned against God - e.g., Ps 51:4
         b. As opposed to worldly sorrow for getting caught or being
      5. Repentance is also prompted by God's goodness - Ro 2:4
         a. Awareness of God's grace and kindness should lead us to
         b. Frequent meditation on the Word of God will help in this
      6. Repentance will be manifested by a remarkable change - 2 Co
         a. Such as diligence and zeal to do right
         b. Such as indignation for our sins and a desire to make right
      -- So the first step for erring Christians is to repent of their

      1. So Peter told Simon when he sinned after having believed and
         was baptized - Ac 8:22
      2. Compare this to God's first law of pardon
         a. Baptism is an act of faith, in which we make an appeal
            - 1Pe 3:21
         b. Prayer is also an act of faith, as we appeal for forgiveness
         c. Yet alien sinners are commanded to repent and be baptized
            - Ac 2:38
         d. While erring Christians are commanded to repent and pray
      3. The difference is understandable
         a. Before baptism, one is not a child of God - Ga 3:26-27; cf.
            Jn 3:3-5
         b. After baptism, prayer is a privilege for those who are God's
            children - cf. Ga 4:6-7
      4. Praying is effective for the Christian because of our two
         a. Jesus, who understands our feelings - He 2:17-18; 4:14-16;
         b. The Holy Spirit, who communicates our feelings - Ro 8:26-27
      5. As we pray, we must do so with humility
         a. Compare the difference between the Pharisee and the publican
            - Lk 18:9-14
         b. God favors the humble and contrite in spirit - Ps 34:18;
            Isa 66:1-2
      -- Having repented, the erring Christian humbly needs to pray!

      1. So John wrote to Christians, to experience God's forgiveness
         - 1Jn 1:9
      2. Compare this to God's first law of pardon
         a. Where confession is commanded, but not confession of sins
         b. Instead, confession is made concerning Jesus Christ - Ro 10:
            9-10; cf. Ac 8:37
      3. Understanding the word "confess"
         a. Comes from the Greek word homologeo
         b. "lit., to speak the same thing; to agree with, admit" - Vine
         c. In regards to sin, it means to openly and honestly admit sin
            without hiding it or offering excuses for it - e.g., Dan 9:
      4. Confession of sins should be made...
         a. Continuously - for John literally wrote "If we keep
            confessing our sins..."
         b. For both known and unknown sins - e.g., Ps 19:12
         c. Always to God, sometimes to each other - cf. Jm 5:16
      -- So as the erring Christian prays, confession of sins should be

[Simple is God's second law of pardon:  to repent and pray, confessing
our sins!  To encourage us to be diligent in taking advantage of this
wonderful grace, consider now...]


      1. As John promised in encouraging us to confess our sins - 1Jn 
      2. This means He will be true to His promise
      3. What promise?  The promise found in the prophecy of the New
         a. Found in Jeremiah, repeated in Hebrews - Jer 31:31-34; He 8:
         b. "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their
            sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." - He
      -- Thus we have the assurance of God's response!

      1. As John promised in encouraging us to confess our sins - 1Jn 
      2. This means He will be righteous in forgiving our sins
      3. How can this be?  By virtue of the cleansing blood of Jesus!
         a. A cleansing alluded to earlier - 1Jn 1:7
         b. So God can be both just and justifier of those who have
            faith in Christ - Ro 3:24-26
      -- Thus we have the basis for God's response!

      1. He will "forgive us our sins" - 1Jn 1:9
         a. "The word 'forgive' describes the act of canceling a debt
            and the restoration of the debtor" - Kistemaker
         b. No longer will the guilt of our sins be held against us!
      2. He will "cleanse us from all unrighteousness" - 1Jn 1:9
         a. "The word 'cleanse' refers to making the forgiven sinner
            holy so that he is able to have fellowship with God"
            - Kistemaker
         b. The word "all" is reassuring; no sin is beyond God's ability
            to forgive the penitent Christian who confesses their sin!
      -- Thus we have blessedness of God's response!


1. With God's second law of pardon, the Christian who repents, prays,
   and confesses will...
   a. Experience the continual cleansing of the blood of Christ!
   b. Enjoy the blessedness of knowing your sins are forgiven!

2. Why would any Christian hesitate to obey God's second law of
   a. You can have the same joy of salvation as when you were baptized
      into Christ!
   b. For you rise from prayer as cleansed from sin as when you arose
      from the watery grave!

If you want to have the same joy, the same assurance of salvation, as
that new babe in Christ who comes forth to a new life, then take
advantage of "God's Second Law Of Pardon"...!

   "Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is
   near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man
   his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy
   on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon."
                                                     - Isa 55:6-7
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