"Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world." (1 Clement 7)The blood of Jesus is precious; it is precious to God for the price it cost Him and it is precious to use because of what it accomplished and because of what it made known. Clement says that the blood of Christ has made know to the world the "grace of righteousness." The grace of righteousness has always been present as Clement reminds us,
"Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him." (1 Clement 7)From generation to generation God, by His grace and favor, has offered repentance and forgiveness to all who were willing, even to those who were aliens of His covenants.
"Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens [to the covenant] of God." (1 Clement 7)The Ninevites were by no means in the mainstream of God's redemptive history. They did not have God's laws nor did they know of His covenants, yet they found grace and forgiveness with God because of their hearts of repentance and their willingness to amend their ways. Jonah came preaching God's judgment and, in response, they repented of their ways and headed God's word. Those who did not know God found grace and forgiveness though repentance.
God's grace of repentance was available to mankind throughout all of history but it was the shed blood of Jesus that brought this grace truly to light. This is because, through His blood, Jesus became both the, "just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:26) God is free to forgive us because His son paid the price for our sin. God's forgiveness is just because the justifier paid the price for our sins Himself. Jesus was the just and, because of that, He became the justifier of all who would trust Him.
"But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:21-26)All throughout history, God extended forgiveness to mankind, knowing that, one day, His Son would pay the price for all their sins. Even now, God's grace and favor of repentance is extended to us, to all who wish, that we too might live and experience God's forgiveness through repentance.Maybe its time we avail ourselves of such a great gift of grace as repentance.