Repentance and Thriving in Life
Read Acts 3:11-26
‘Repent…in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”
How do we thrive in times of uncertainty? We all feel the pressures of the day and the emotional exhaustion that we face. While there are certainly a number of circumstances we are facing that can weigh us down there is one that is especially demoralizing and that is the reality of our sin. Proverbs 28:13 states, “he who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” The term prosperity refers to a state of success where one accomplishes what was intended. From a spiritual perspective, it speaks of one who is able to succeed in the work that God has given him to do. For example, the word is used of Joseph to describe that he fully accomplished what God intended for him (Gen 39:2-3). This is why the wicked appear for a time to be prosperous (from a world’s perspective) but in the end, they come to ruin. Thus, for the sage, the person who continually overlooks sin their life will never be able to fully realize God’s grand plan and blessing.
This is what Peter is referring to in his second message after Pentecost. Peter confronts the Jews with their rejection of Christ when they put him to death. Nevertheless, as terrible as this act was, there still remains the opportunity for salvation. Peter points out that their act of rebellion was out of ignorance for they failed to understand the prophecies the foretold that Christ had to die on the cross in order for salvation to be achieved. However, salvation could only be attained through repentance. If they repent, not only will their sin be completely, but “times of refreshing may come”. The term “refreshing” refers to the restoration of vitality and freshness, especially after a time of distress. We can easily imagine the weight of guilt felt by those who demanded Christ’s death felt after they came to realize who he was. The hope of salvation must have seemed beyond their grasp because of the gravity of their sin. But Peter’s words offered new hope. If they repented (that is to acknowledge their sin and turn away from it), Christ would not only forgive them but give them assurance of their participation in the full inheritance God promises his people.
For many of us, we still struggle under the weight and guilt of sin. We have done things in the past we deeply regret, and it seems to continually define us in the present. To become aware of our guilt is to face how unworthy we are. We live defeated in our Christian life, always trying to atone for our past, but never feeling that what we do is sufficient to erase the sin we committed. This is why Peter’s message breaths a breath of fresh air. If we repent and seek God’s forgiveness, he promises to completely remove our sin. The language is emphatic. The picture is that God removes the guilt of our sin by completely erased by obliterating any evidence against us. In other words, we stand before God free from any judgment for there is no longer any indictment against us. There is no longer any evidence pointing to our guilt. What refreshing and vitality it brings.
This takes us back to Proverbs, for in our forgiveness from our sin we can now prosper by fully realizing God intended purpose for us. God not only completely forgives us our sin, he orchestrates our life in such a way that our sin no longer thwarts his purpose. This makes forgiveness refreshing and worthy of praise. Do you have something in our past (or present) that is robbing you of joy and leaving you discouraged? Remember, with repentance comes complete restoration where our sins no longer define us and God will accomplish his purpose for us. Spend time reflecting and rejoicing in the forgiveness God has given.