Tuesday, February 15 – Acts 3:17-23
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers also did. But the things which God previously announced by the mouths of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has fulfilled in this way. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things, about which God spoke by the mouths of His holy prophets from ancient times. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your countrymen; to Him you shall listen regarding everything He says to you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’”
From an early age, it is clear that repentance does not come naturally to us. To preserve our pride and reputation, it is easy to deny, cheat, or excuse our way through our sin. We even compare our actions to others to justify that we are not as bad as someone else. But this natural response is not just wrong, it is anti-gospel. As we see from this passage, the gospel confronts our sin and wrongdoing and forces us to not only admit our wrong but to also lay it at the feet of Christ, turning away from it so that we will be renewed in Him.
If you are following Jesus, it may be easy to believe you are past the need for repentance. But we live in a broken world and sin affects everything we do. As we rely on the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us, we must practice this constant attitude of repentance. This has always been the call of God’s people. In Psalm 51—David’s famous prayer of repentance—he said, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). This process isn’t easy, in fact it is often painful! Hebrews 12:11 says, “For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Just as Peter explained to the crowd, there is fruit that comes from repentance. In repentance, we are being refined by the Holy Spirit and shaped into the image of God until we meet Him face to face.
- When was the last time you got defensive about something that you were wrong about? Why does making excuses or denying our guilt come naturally to us?
- Why is repentance so vital to your everyday relationship with Christ?
- Pray and repent for the times you have made excuses instead of admitting your sin. Ask God to reveal any areas in your life where you need to repent and turn away from sin.