Repent & Believe

Peter Barnes: Acts 20:21

(16 September 2018)


– William Perkins: ‘These words summarise the complete duty of a minister as a public angel or interpreter.’ Calvin: ‘repentance and faith are tied together in an unbreakable connexion.’

1. This testimony is to be proclaimed to everyone.

– Paul is testifying as he says that the Holy Spirit does a couple of verses later in 20:23; see too Acts 28:23.

– to Jews and to Greeks, in that order – Rom.1:16. All through the book of Acts he goes to the synagogue first.

– commands in 17:30.

2. Repentance towards God.

– 20:21b. Repentance is more than remorse – e.g. 1 Samuel 26:21-25; Matt.27:3-4. Larger Catechism refers to a hatred of sin, ‘as that he turns from them all to God, purposing and endeavouring constantly to walk with Him in all the ways of new obedience.’ Isa.55:7.

– If it is just hating sin more and trying harder, it is a recipe for despair. It denies our own righteousness – Isa.6:1-5.
3. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

– 20:21c; see Acts 16:31. Perkins: ‘Both the law and the gospel must be preached; the to law to give birth to repentance and the gospel to lead to faith.’ It can be counterfeited – e.g. Acts 8:12-13, 18-23. Embracing half a Christ won’t even get you half a salvation.

– If repentance means that we deny our own righteousness, faith means we receive Christ’s righteousness – Phil.3:9.

– To His people He is our Lord.