To remit is to forgive. Remission is a related word, and it means “forgiveness.” The “remission of sin,” then, is simply the “forgiveness” of sin. The phrase is used in eight places in the King James Version of the Bible.
(Matthew 26:28), for example, says, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Modern translations such as the English Standard Version render the phrase “for the forgiveness of sins.”
Luke has three examples of this phrase. Luke 1:77 says, “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.” John the Baptist “came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Luke 3:3). When Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He said that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
In Acts, Peter tells a Roman named Cornelius that “whosoever believeth in Christ shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). Cornelius and those in his home did believe, and they received forgiveness in Christ. God remits sin on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (Romans 3:24-25). The teaching of Scripture is that remission only comes by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).