“Today’s sorrow will not wipe off the score of yesterday’s sins. It is not an ocean of tears that would ever cleanse an uneasy conscience and give it peace.
Where then must a man go for pardon? Where is forgiveness to be found? There is a way both sure and plain, and into that way I desire to guide every inquirer’s feet.
That way is simply to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour.
It is to cast your soul, with all its sins, unreservedly on Christ,—to cease completely from any dependence on your own works or doings, either in whole or in part,—and to rest on no other work but Christ’s work, no other righteousness but Christ’s righteousness, no other merit but Christ’s merit, as your ground of hope.
Take this course and you are a pardoned soul. “To Christ,” says Peter, “give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)
“Through this Man,” says Paul at Antioch, “is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by Him all that believe are justified from all things.” (Acts 13:38)
“In Him,” writes Paul to the Colossians, “we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Col. 1:14)
The Lord Jesus Christ, in great love and compassion, has made a full and complete satisfaction for sin, by suffering death in our place upon the cross.
There He offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, and allowed the wrath of God, which we deserved, to fall on His own head. For our sins, as our Substitute, He gave Himself, suffered, and died,—the just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty,—that He might deliver us from the curse of a broken law, and provide a complete pardon for all who are willing to receive it.
And by so doing, as Isaiah says,—He has borne our sins; as John the Baptist says,—He has taken away sin; as Paul says,—He has purged our sins, and put away sin; and as Daniel says,—He has made an end of sin, and finished trangression. (Isaiah 53:11; John 1:29; Heb. 1:3; Heb. 9:26; Dan. 9:24)
And now the Lord Jesus Christ is sealed and appointed by God the Father to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give remission of sins to all who will have it. The keys of death and hell are put in His hand. The government of the gate of heaven is laid on His shoulder. He Himself is the door, and by Him all that enter in shall be saved. (Acts 5:31; Rev. 1:18; John 10:9.)
Christ, in one word, has purchased a full forgiveness, if we are only willing to receive it. He has done all, paid all, suffered all that was needful to reconcile us to God.
He has provided a garment of righteousness to clothe us. He has opened a fountain of living waters to cleanse us. He has removed every barrier between us and God the Father, taken every obstacle out of the way, and made a road by which the vilest may return.
All things are now ready, and the sinner has only to believe and be saved, to eat and be satisfied, to ask and receive, to wash and be clean.
And faith, simple faith, is the only thing required, in order that you and I may be forgiven.
That we will come by faith to Jesus as sinners with our sins,—trust in Him,—rest on Him,—lean on Him,—confide in Him,—commit our souls to Him,—and forsaking all other hope, cleave only to Him,—this is all and everything that God asks for.
Let a man only do this, and he shall be saved. His iniquities shall be found completely pardoned, and his transgressions entirely taken away.
Every man and woman that so trusts is wholly forgiven, and reckoned perfectly righteous. His sins are clean gone, and his soul is justified in God’s sight, however bad and guilty he may have been.”
–J.C. Ryle, “Forgiveness,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1877/2013), 175-176.