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Repentance Empty Repentance

Post by twin spin on Sun May 15, 2011 12:34 pm

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd … “Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
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This section of Acts is the conclusion of Peter’s sermon to the crowd on Pentecost. In verse 36, Peter presents the following thoughts: God proclaimed and proved Jesus to be the Christ, the Savior of the world, and the Jews crucified him. That’s a serious message. It implies serious guilt and serious punishment. And here’s how far it reaches: since everyone’s sinful nature and deeds demanded Jesus’ crucifixion, everyone stands guilty with Peter’s audience.

When the Word of God presents us with the great and horrible result of our sins, God intends that two things happen. First: that we are “cut to the heart” with grief. God wants our guilt to be felt—like a spiritual heart attack. You don’t ignore a heart attack. It hurts. It kills. So does sin. God wants us to know and admit the seriousness of our sins. Our sin killed his only Son. We’re guilty. God wants us to be sad and afraid. He wants us to ask with Peter’s audience, “What shall we do?” “What can we do?”

You might summarize the second thing God wants for us with two words: repent and receive. When we repent, we turn away from the sins we’ve committed. We recognize how serious they are. But we also receive God’s gifts instead of punishment. Gifts like the message that Jesus’ death won God’s love for us. Gifts like baptism, where God’s Spirit creates faith in our hearts. We receive God’s promise of love for us now and God’s promise of heaven forever after.

The result of our sins is horrible, but God’s forgiving love is far greater. There is no more important concept for our daily lives than this one. Why? Look back at verses 42-47. There you see the believers’ daily lives. They’re reading God’s Word, sharing meals, being generous, meeting in their homes. They’re lives are characterized by awe, gladness, sincerity, devotion, and praise. Look at your days ahead. God wants your days to be filled with the same gladness, praise, joy, and Christian love. So he makes sure you know that you have nothing to fear, you have no guilt to bear, and you have salvation in store. God’s love through Jesus makes your daily life an opportunity to freely express that you are his dear child.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that the guilt of my sin is great. It caused your horrible death. I deserve that same torment of hell. But you comfort me with your grace and love. You tell me I’m forgiven. Let the joy of your salvation fill my heart today. Let me express my joy in love for you. Amen.

twin spin

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