Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”
Have you ever had someone blatantly offend you and not apologize? About a zillion times? Have you ever had someone do something hurtful and apologize because they knew you wanted one but the apology was about excuses and as empty as a bag of popcorn at the end of a movie?
I know that none of us would ever have the thought that God is stupid, but sometimes we act like it. We think He doesn’t know our heart. We think He doesn’t know the futility of our excuses. Who do we think we are fooling? Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked…” God is not stupid. When we are stubborn in our sin, He knows it. He tries to reach out to us and influence our hearts with His love. He speaks words of His mercy to us so that we won’t be afraid of Him. Exodus 34:6-7 says, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin…”
Why is God so merciful and what is His ultimate goal? Two things. First is made clear in today’s Fresh Manna verse; “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” The Lord wants to gives us a fresh start. We all have times of needing a fresh start because we’ve messed up some how. Today’s verse tells us that God will blot out our sins. He blots them out with the blood Jesus shed for our sins. (Did you ever take a black magic marker to blot over something you didn’t want anyone to see? It became unseeable – blotted out!) A fresh start brings great refreshing to the offender.
Secondly, God wants us to come into His presence unafraid so we can hear His voice, learn of His love and begin to learn from Him as we read His Word. He’ll lead us to places of blessing. Psalm 25:8-10 says, “The LORD is good and does what is right; He shows the proper path to those who go sin and go astray. He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way. The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees.”
Having said all this – as Christians, repentance is to be a continuing part of our life – in many cases daily! As I say this, remember again that God is not mocked and people don’t like to be either! We sin or mess up in little or bigger ways almost daily. We offend God, or people or both! That means that sincere repentance is going to be happening often in our life. That means you are going to have to learn the words “I’m sorry” – “I’m sincerely sorry.” That also means you are going to need to learn to say them with sincerity whenever it’s necessary to say them.
Lucifer’s fall from Heaven was over pride. He is proud and would never repent. That is why He will ultimately end up in the lake of fire – and yes that is a real place! God’s Word says, “… be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. “(1 Peter 5:5) Pride will rob from you and kill you. Humility will open all of God’s heart to you!
I’m 52 years old. My parent’s generation and generations prior to that had great difficulty with open, honest, and personal communication. Saying “I’m sorry” was something that was very difficult for many people to do then. Its better today but nothing like what it should be for the Christian life. My generation and younger are probably the best generations to live on the face of this earth in having learned to communicate more openly. Even so, pride is still looming big. People are still proud and too stubborn to apologize. The truth is, if as Christians, we were walking in the revelation of godly sorrow – repentance at all levels – for things both great and small, repentance would be a continuing and reoccurring experience – both to God and man. This repentance would be to God and to those around us with sincere words from a sincere heart. We know we mess up in all sorts of little ways all the time. Then why not admit it and repent and ask forgiveness or give a simple “excuse me, I’m sorry,” with sincerity when called for. This keeps a heart so very tender before God.
Today, know and remember today’s Fresh Manna: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Repentance – true godly sorrow – brings refreshing to you and those affected and brings you freely again before the presence of God.
Tomorrow, I’ll go into more about how some of those apologies should take place…
In His Love,