Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3 – For those who need refreshing

Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you — that is, Jesus.   (Acts 3:19,20  NET)

This was spoken by Peter when he addressed the crowd that gathered at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple right after he and John and healed a lame beggar.  But repentance had also been the message of John the Baptist, the first command of Jesus, and then reiterated through the ministry of Jesus, and later a constant teaching of the apostles during the time of the Early Church.

We cannot enter God’s presence unless we are prepared to repent.   That  means: admit that we’ve sinned, be sorry for what we have done, stop the sin, determine never to do it again, do the opposite of that sin, and learn to hate it. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does insist that we trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and be honest about the state of our lives. One reason Jesus was so harsh on the Pharisees was that they weren’t honest, they proudly pretended that they were something they were not.

In the Old Testament, the new year began with ten days of repentance ending with the Day of Atonement, when people were to fast from food and drink and the High Priest would enter the Most Holy Place — the only time he could enter all year round. This day was considered the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”, the most holy day of the year — this gives us a glimpse of how important repentance is to God. In the Old Testament it was linked to animal sacrifices which enabled people to draw near to God, but when Jesus made His sacrifice He did not open the way for one High Priest to enter His presence, but for all people who have faith in Him. With the sacrifice of Jesus and our own sacrifice of the flesh, we have the right to draw near to God at this very moment and enjoy times of refreshing in His presence. It comes at a price, but the benefits of repentance are far beyond any price we pay.

Take out time today and repent… truly repent from those things that are attempting to rob you of God’s presence.

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