Forgiveness is in the offer, or in the act. The offer is made before it is received; the act, after. Faith receives forgiveness of sins, and repentance is the condition of faith lawfully exercised.
Forgiveness of sins is the change in the person’s legal state, away from condemnation, unto justification. The former respects the end of rejection, the latter respects the beginning of acceptance. The sinner, once forgiven, is no more condemned.
This forgiveness is not possible, except through the satisfaction of the sinners debt by the Lord Jesus Christ. And although he has satisfied the debt, the credit is not given to the person, until the death of Christ is applied to them, and they are united to Christ, for the law of God requires that satisfaction be made in their own persons.
This satisfaction is applied to them in regeneration, whereby God, of his free justice, crucifies their sinful selves with his only Begotten Son. For in dying to sin, and living to God, they pay the penalty of death, and their consciences are all cleansed, that they might freely receive forgiveness of sins, and justification by faith.