Saturday, October 14

Three promises for those who turn to God

Scripture: Nehemiah 11-12, Psalm 1, Acts 3

Acts 3:19-21 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that he will forgive your sins. If you do, 20 times of spiritual strength will come from the Lord, and he will send Jesus, who is the Messiah he has already chosen for you. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for all things to be made new, as God announced through his holy prophets who lived long ago.

Observation/application

In Acts 3, God heals a lame man, a crowd gathers and Peter proclaims the gospel.  He makes it clear that Jesus is responsible for the miracle, not him.  And he makes it clear that they are responsible for Jesus’ death.  “You handed him over…you rejected him…you killed him.”  And then, of course, “…but God raised him from the dead.”

After charging them with Jesus’ death, Peter calls for them to repent, to turn to God, and promises them three things if they do.

First, God will forgive their sins—including killing Jesus.

Second, God will send “times of spiritual strength.”   Almost all other translations use the word “refreshing”—a time of refreshing will come.  It’s a Greek word that means “experience of relief from obligation or trouble, breathing space, relaxation, relief, refreshment.”  Literally it means “to cool again.”  Most scholars think it is referring to the Messianic age, which would free Israel from her oppressors and usher in an age of peace and prosperity.  I think it could also refer to Jesus’ promise of abundant life—John 10:10—and spiritual rest in Matthew 11:28-30.  That “refreshing”—that cool relief and breathing space comes to us as soon as we repent and believe.

Third, God will send Jesus. He must remain in heaven “until the time comes for all things to be made new.”  The early Christians looked forward to the return of Jesus!  Peter seemed to believe it was imminent.  It’s been 2000 years and we’re still waiting for “the time.”  When Jesus comes, all things will be made new, or restored.  This is the final movement in the Big Story: creation, fall, redemption, restoration.  Jesus will restore the world to it’s original state—before sin spoiled it.  This is why we look forward to His coming!

Forgiveness, refreshment, hope—those are wonderful promises and they are ours when we turn to God.

Prayer: Thanks Lord for these promises.  I’m glad to be forgiven; I’m enjoying the refreshment that You provide; and I’m looking forward to Your coming.  Come Lord Jesus!