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The First Steps in the work of salvation

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. {FLB 110.1}

      Many are confused as to what constitutes the first steps in the work of salvation. Repentance is thought to be a work the sinner must do for himself in order that he may come to Christ. They think that the sinner must procure himself a fitness in order to obtain the blessing of God’s grace. But while it is true that repentance must precede forgiveness, for it is only the broken and contrite heart that is acceptable to God, yet the sinner cannot bring himself to repentance, or prepare himself to come to Christ. . . . The very first step to Christ is taken through the drawing of the Spirit of God; as man responds to this drawing, he advances toward Christ in order that he may repent. . . .  {FLB 110.2} 

     When before the high priests and Sadducees, Peter clearly presented the fact that repentance is the gift of God. Speaking of Christ, he said, “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.” Repentance is no less the gift of God than are pardon and justification, and it cannot be experienced except as it is given to the soul by Christ. If we are drawn to Christ, it is through His power and virtue. The grace of contrition comes through Him, and from Him comes justification.  {FLB 110.3} 

     Who is desirous of becoming truly repentant? What must he do? (1) He must come to Jesus, just as he is, without delay. (2) He must believe that the word of Christ is true, and, believing the promise, (3) ask, that he may receive. When sincere desire prompts men to pray, they will not pray in vain. The Lord will fulfill His word, and will give the Holy Spirit to lead to repentance. . . . With prayer he [the repentant sinner] will mingle faith, and not only believe in but obey the precepts of the law. . . . He will renounce all habits and associations that tend to draw the heart from God.  {FLB 110.4}