“Turn to Him so He can… send you wonderful times of refreshment from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19
I saw this posted on facebook today, a picture of one of those calendars with encouraging quotes from scripture. But something didn’t sit right with me when I read it. It’s not that the statement isn’t true; we need to turn to God, and in His presence is many blessings. However, why are there dots so close to the beginning? It makes it sound like the reason we turn to Him is so that we will receive good things. The use of dots in a scripture verse should always make you pause, because maybe it isn’t saying something quite right. And so I looked up the verse in the ESV bible.
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,” is what Acts 3:19 says fully. Doesn’t sound much like what was posted, does it? Looking at the context, I see that this is Peter’s second sermon to the Jews, telling them about Jesus. That is the point of this; to repent of their sins, not to have wonderful lives. This is from verse 17 through 21.
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 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.”
Yes, there are times of refreshing in His presence when we turn to Him, but we must never forget the center of salvation: Christ. It is by Christ that we can come into God’s presence, it is by Him our sins are blotted out forever, it is by Him that we are free. And God provided Him for us.
So, please take everything you read and hear with a grain of salt. Examine what is taught you, especially when Scripture is involved. Repentance from sin is important, God’s presence is important, and Christ is important. Let’s not forget or cut any of that out.
Have a good weekend!