No Need for Penance to the Believer
The Bible teaches, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Christ paid the penalty for our transgressions, and those who accept Him in faith owe no works of penance for cleansing, but are already considered “washed” in the blood of the Lamb.
God wipes away the believer’s sins that no one will ever see them: “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18, 19).
Our Works – Filthy Rags
Compared to our Holy God, our works of penance appear as filthy rags. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6). Man’s best efforts produce, not righteousness, but imperfection. Only the robe of righteousness that Christ has provided will fit man to appear in the presence of God.
Works of penance can not buy salvation. God’s plan of salvation is wholly of grace (Romans 3:24; 4:5); it is “the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). It is true that as God grants us grace through faith, He also gives us the desire and strength to obey Him. This results in compliance with His laws. So, even this obedience results from God’s free grace. Obedience – the service and allegiance of love – is the true test of discipleship and a natural fruit of faith in Jesus Christ. Christians don’t obey the law to be saved but because they are saved.
God gives an amazing promise of both forgiveness and transformation: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25). Divine forgiveness is not merely a legal transaction that wipes from the record the sins of the past, but a transforming power that eradicates sin from the life. By blotting out transgression God transforms sinners into saints. Therefore, the believers need not penance deeds to obtain cleansing for sin.
In His service,