Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; – Acts 3:19 KJV
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The disciples had just received the baptism of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus Christ, as they gathered in the upper room in one accord and the transformation that ensued was marveling to the inhabitants of Jerusalem who began to wonder how such a major transformation could have occurred within such a short period of time. Some having no human explanation to give for such a major act accused them of being drunk, an accusation which Simon Peter had chosen to defend – Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-13.
It was still in this new ability that Simon Peter and John on their way into the temple for the ninth hour prayer, met a man who was lame from his mother’s womb and had made the gate to the temple called the Beautiful Gate his permanent position to seek for alms. This lame man sighting Peter and John decided to beg for alms as usual and when they both stopped before him, he expected nothing but the usual, only for both men to make the name of the gate reflect in his life by making him walk. The man did not just walk, he was jumping, leaping and praising God as they all entered the temple together – Acts 3:1-10.
This transformation in Peter and the disciples was now too much for the people of Jerusalem to bear as they marveled at the miracle they just witnessed. Simon Peter seeing the way they were marveled at what they just witnessed decided to let them know that the source of the power behind the miracle was Jesus Christ whose coming had been foretold but who they refused to acknowledge when he came but instead killed him – Acts 3:11-18. Acknowledging that they may have done all they did out of ignorance, he advised them in the foundation scripture for today’s devotion;
1. To repent from their sins. Repentance is a feeling or an expression of sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrong doing or sin. It is a clear acknowledgement of an act that one has has been involved in, acceptance that it was a wrong decision that was taken at that point in time, have a true sense of regret for getting involved in such an act with a promise that a different decision will be taken should the opportunity re-present itself. From the above it is obvious that repentance goes beyond a verbal statement made by the one that claims to be repentant. It is a product of inner conviction with an external demonstration of such regrets. It may be possible to find a repentant person repeat the same error of judgement, but if there is definite conviction about the earlier claim to been remorseful, then it can be safely concluded that such an individual requires help to overcome the lure of that particular act. Many people are really in that state today but the average Christian group has refused to recognise and be patient with these group of brethren. There may actually be a sincerity to stop that act of sin but it is not always the case that the individual can go it alone. A major step that must be taken by the Christian group to support the repentant brother will be to create a counselling forum that will help sustain the decision. However, the whole journey to repentance must start with the voluntary decision of the individual to avoid such steps that are been regretted now, in the future. Help must be made available to the repentant brother or sister.
2. To convert from their ways. One of the ways to help a genuinely repentant brother or sister retain the decision to avoid the act that he/she is repenting from is to ensure physical adjustments to the lifestyle of the one that is repenting especially with regards to the particular act in question. There must be physical action that will support the one that has taken a decision to repent. One who has decided to repent from stealing for example must stay away from desires that encourage such stealing. There must be proper guidance to make such develop the attitude of contentment with whatever such has, learn to appreciate what others have but know that the only route to possessing them is hard work and grace of God, and other similar teachings that will make such see life from the Christian perspective. There must also be a conscious decision by the individual to avoid groups that will continue to encourage such approach to life and provision of teachings that will help the repentant see the Almighty God as the final decider of the fate of man. A repentance that is not accompanied by a physical act that indicates the genuineness of what is been said puts a huge question mark on such a decision. There must be a physical action from both the repentant one and the one that is receiving the confession such that will help to retain the repentant one in his/her decision.
3. By taking the above steps sincerely, sins will be blotted off and a time of refreshing will come. There is no doubt that genuine repentance will be rewarded with instant forgiveness of sin in a manner that blots the sin away. To blot something away in this instance means that there is another object that sucks up what is blotted unto itself which is different from washing the thing away . It may be common to use the word “wash” when people refer to the effect of the death of Jesus Christ on sin but the real picture is that Jesus Christ absorbs our sins and takes responsibility for all our transgressions through the sacrifice he made on the cross. He paid the ultimate price once and the grace associated with that act became available to many several centuries after, by just acknowledging him and accepting him as Lord and Savior. He took all those sins with him and nailed them to the cross so that we who actually performed the act of sin can be made sinless – Col. 2:13-14.
What a great sacrifice as the result of that act is the acquisition of a fresh life devoid of the weight and stain of sin.
Are you being weighed down in any way in life? Are the tides of life rocking the boat of your life and leaving it directionless and rudderless? You may need to accept him today, an act that will be dependent on your genuinely acknowledging your sins and repenting from them. You can then be sure of receiving a new life free from all those stress, as the pains and pressures disappear. May that be your testimony very soon in Jesus name. Amen.