The use of faith, which is as large as the Word of God, must be distinguished according to the parts and several branches of it, promises, Commandments, threatenings. By promises understand all those declarations of God’s will, wherein he signifies in the Gospel what good he will freely bestow. And these be either Spiritual or Temporal; concerning this life, or the life to Come; of things simply necessary to salvation, or of things good in themselves, but not always good for us: all which received, possessed, and enjoyed by faith, according as they promised of God, either with, or without limitation.
The promises of
forgiveness of sins
1 Reg. 8:35.
Among spiritual promises absolutely necessary, without which there can be no salvation, the first and chief is concerning pardon or forgiveness of sins and Justification. God of his rich grace and mercy in Jesus Christ does make offer of free and full forgiveness of all sins to ever burdened, thirsty, and penitent soul.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to our God for he will abundantly pardon [Isa. 55:7.]. Return though back-sliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep mine anger for ever [Jer. 3:12.]. I will cleanse them from al their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me, and I will pardon all their iniquities whereby they have sinned, and where they have transgressed against me [Jer. 33: 8 & 31:34.].
This promise is
This promise is made of free and undeserved mercy, not for any merit that is, or possibly could be in us.
I, even I am hee that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake and I will not remember thy sins. I will love them freely, for mine anger is turned away from him [Hos. 14:4.]. Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniqutity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy [Hos. 14:4.]. I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Be merciful, O Lord, unto thy people Israel, whom thou has redeemed [Deut. 21:8; Heb. 8:12; Jer. 32:34.].
But when we hear of grace, we must remember Christ, in and through whom God is gracious unto us. Christ is the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world,” [John 1:29.]: and this great benefit of forgiveness of sin is plentifully proclaimed unto us miserable sinners, in and through him.
Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the death the third day, and that repentance and Remission of sins should be preached among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem [Luk. 24:46, 47.]. Be it known unto you therefore, Men and brethren, that through this Man, (meaning Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins [Acts 13:38.]. Now then we are Amabassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God [2 Cor. 5:20.]
Hereunto agrees that invitation of our Saviour: “Come unto me all ye that labor, and are hearts laden, and I will give you rest,” Mat. 11:28.].
John Ball, A Treatise of Faith (London: Printed for Edward Brewster, and are to be sold at his shop at the signe of the Crane in Pauls Church-yard, 1657), 209-211. [Some spelling modernized, some reformatting; underlining mine.]