Let us observe...what were the first truths which the Lord Jesus bade His disciples preach after he left the world. We read that "repentance and remission of sins" were to be preached inHis name among all nations.
"Repentance and remission of sins" are the first things which ought to be pressed on the attention of every man, woman and child throughout the world. All ought to be told the necessity of repentance. All are by nature desperately wicked. Without repentance and conversion, none can enter the kingdom of God. All ought to be told God's readiness to forgive every one who believes on Christ. All are by nature guilty and condemned. But anyone may obtain by faith in Jesus free, full and immediate pardon. All, not least, ought to be continually reminded that repentance and remission of sins are inseparably linked together. Not that our repentance can purchase our pardon. Pardon is the free gift of God to the believer in Christ. But still it remains true, that a man impenitent is a man unforgiven.
He that desires to be a true Christian, must be experimentally acquainted with repentance and remission of sins. These are the principal things in saving religion....[A]re we converted? Are we justified? If not, we are dead before God. Happy is that Christian who keeps these two points continually before his eyes! Repentance and remission are not mere elementary truths and milk for babes. The highest standard of sanctity is nothing more than a continual growth in practical knowledge of these two points. The brightest saint is the man who has the most heart-searching sense of his own sinfulness, and the liveliest sense of his own complete acceptance in Christ.
– J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke, vol. 2, Banner of Truth Trust: 1998, 518–519.Further Reading
So You Call Yourself a Christian
Familiar Names Rick Warren, James MacDonald & Others to Headline at Mark Driscoll's 2013 Resurgence Conference
Responding to an Invasion of Evil