Acts 3:19-21. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
These words in Acts are spoken by Peter to the Jews at the Temple in Jerusalem. He and John have just healed a lame man. As the people rush over in amazement to see what has happened, the sermon begins. Peter shares Christ with the crowd calling them to repent. And as he shares why we should turn back to God, we are given one of the most beautiful summations of the work and life of Christ in us in all of the New Testament.
Peter tells us that the indwelling Christ offers us three blessings that will transform your life. 1) The blotting out of sins. 2) The refreshing presence of the Lord. 3) The restoration of all things when he returns.
The blotting out of all sins – I think sometimes we talk about our sins being forgiven so much as Christians that we can lose sight of what this actually means. Total acquittal. No record of wrongdoing. Zero condemnation. Every sin, past, present, future, blotted out. Erased. No sin is too big (Peter was talking to Jesus’ murderers). No sin is beyond God’s great mercy. We stand forgiven and free from all guilt today at the foot of Christ’s cross and one day at the foot of Christ’s judgment seat.
Too often, because we keep failing, we begin to doubt this promise of blotted out sins don’t we? We think maybe only my past sins were blotted out, but not my present sins. Or we are sure that God must be tired of forgiving me by now. Or, if I truly believed I wouldn’t keep sinning like this. But these attitudes reveal that your focus is on you, and your performance instead of on Christ. Was his cross enough or not? Are you united to his death or not? It is not your level of sincere repentance that blots out your sin, it is the blood of Christ. Period.
The refreshing presence of the Lord – if all we received in Christ was the blotting out of sins we might call that grace enough. But God’s grace is beyond belief. It’s over the top. Abounding. Now that all our sins are blotted out, and we are perfected by the blood of Christ (all sins paid for) and by our union with the death of Christ (our sin nature put to death), the Spirit of Christ can move in. And with him comes the refreshing presence of the Lord.
There is no greater relief in life, no greater rest, than the personal presence of God in us. Adam and Eve walked in the refreshing presence of the Lord in the garden (Gen. 3:8). In the cool breezes of his Spirit. Talking with him. Knowing him. Being known personally by him. Christ’s refreshing presence returns us to that place in our hearts. We walk with God every day in the cool breeze of his love. Knowing and being known. Never alone. Never forsaken. Never denied. Never powerless. Never without hope. Never without his grace. Never without his love. Forever free from all striving, performing, earning, and working.
So relax. Take a break from running the universe. Enjoy the refreshing presence of God.
The restoration of all things when he returns – It just keeps getting better and better. Our union with Christ offers us blotted out sins, the refreshing presence of God, and, as if these weren’t enough, the physical restoration of ALL things. No more sin. No more sadness. Everything made right. Every good thing lost will be regained. Every good thing given up for Christ will be renewed.
Peter chooses the language of Judah returning from the Exile to God. But here it’s the return of Christ for us. He’s coming back. And his rule and reign will restore all good things. All wrongs brought to an end, all sorrow brought to its completion, all satisfaction brought to our hearts, and all worship brought to his throne.
“To live is Christ” is worth repenting for. Turning to God through faith in Jesus is the wisest choice a person could ever make. Only union with Christ offers this beautiful triple blessing – sins blotted out, the refreshing presence of God, and the restoration of all things. You won’t find these three graces anywhere else. So stop looking everywhere else and turn back to Jesus.
Which of these three blessings of Christ stands out to you? Why?
You in Christ
How does being in Christ give us forgiveness, refreshing, and restoration? Can you articulate this?
Christ in you
How might your life be different today if you really trusted that you have these three blessings in Christ?
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