I had always a confidence in Christ, who had done so great things for me. But it was a confidence mixed with fear: I was afraid I had not done enough. There was always something dark in my soul till now. But now the clear light shined; and I saw that what I had hitherto so constantly insisted on, —the doing so much and feeling so much, the long repentance and preparation for believing, the bitter sorrow for sin, and that deep contrition of heart which is found in some, —were by no means essential to justification [being declared not guilty in God’s eyes]. Yea, that wherever the free grace of God is rightly preached, a sinner in the full career of his sins will probably receive it, be justified by it, before one who insists on such previous preparation.
The message here? Forgiveness is a free gift from God, not something we earn. When you begin to understand this, you are ready to receive the Good News.