Taking time for vacation is a wonderful blessing and truly can bring refreshment to your life! We’ve just experienced that personally here at Clearview and we’re so happy to be back! As I pondered what to share this week in the Real Faith article, the phrase “times of refreshing” came to my mind, and it wasn’t random, it’s from a Bible verse in the book of Acts. I want to share it with you, because as much as our modern-day lives have “re-defined” certain words and ideas…it’s my desire and conviction to always compare and move toward what God’s Word says and how He defines ideas and concepts vs. our modern society. What does the LORD say brings times of refreshing? Let’s read Acts 3:19-26. To set the scene, this is after Jesus has ascended back to the Father and His disciples are spreading the truth of the Gospel of His Kingdom; Peter and John have just healed a lame man by God’s power through them, and here is an excerpt of what Peter says to the crowd who is in total awe:
19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshingmay come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah 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. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
So, according to Acts chapter 3, what brings “times of refreshing?” It’s actually repentance! Turning from our own way and going God’s way. Turning back to God. Turning from our sins, our wickedness, and turning to Jesus the Messiah who was sent into the world to save His people from their sins. The Bible also gives us a definition of what sin is, too! We don’t have to wonder or guess or hope that we get it right! 1 John 3:1-10 says:
3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s[b] seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
The definition of sin is rebelling against God’s instructions, because practicing sin is “lawlessness” that means breaking God’s law i.e. His instructions for life in His Kingdom; and the definition of “times of refreshing” is turning back to God and having our sins blotted out. Thus removing our lawlessness and bringing us into right standing with Him, fully forgiven! He made a way to do that through His Son, Jesus, by repenting from going our own way, or the world’s way, the way of sin. We can repent of our sin and be completely forgiven and made whole again – oh what a joyous and beautiful thing it is to admit we’ve sinned and turned from God and then run back to Him through Jesus (and He is the only way back, John 14:6)! His arms are open wide…may it become our greatest joy to choose God’s way OVER ALL ELSE over and over and over again, having our sins blotted out so that times of refreshing may come! Amen!