What We Believe

January 14 Daily Devotional

Forgiveness of Sins

Dr. John H. Skilton

Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. - Acts 5:31

Bible Reading

Acts 5:12-32:

12And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.
13And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
14And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
15Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
16There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
17Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
18And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
19But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
20Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
21And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
2But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told,
23Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
24Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
25Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
26Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
27And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.
29Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.


Peter and the other apostles witnessed to the truths of the Gospel before the rulers of the Jews. They testified that Jesus, whom the leaders of the Jews had rejected, had been honored by God. The One whom the Jewish leaders had consigned to the deepest humiliation had been granted by God the highest exaltation. In a sense, they lifted up Jesus to the cross; but God with His own right hand elevated Him to dominion. They had denied that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God but God made Him both Lord and Christ and exalted Him "to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins."

This was hard for the rulers of the Jews to accept. They did not realize that our Lord had freely gone to the cross to save His people from their sins. They failed to understand the prophecies of the Old Testament about the sufferings of the Messiah. They did not believe that Jesus in the place of His people suffered the wrath of God for their sins. They did not know that the sufferings and death of our Saviour were essential to His exaltation and to the granting of repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. But this was the glorious Gospel of the grace of God. Let not the Jews find it a stumbling block; let not the Greeks dismiss it as foolishness! May all see that Christ crucified is Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God!

Welcome to "Think on These Things," a twelve-week daily devotional prepared by the late Dr. John H. Skilton, an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and for many years Chairman of the New Testament Department at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.

We are indebted to P & R Publishing and Skilton House Ministries for permission to use this copyrighted material on the OPC Web site. (P & R held the copyright from 1975 to 2005, at which time they reassigned the copyright to Skilton House.)



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