In Acts 3:19, Peter declared, “Repent, therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” God wants us to repent, not because He is out to get us, but because He is out to be with us.
Times of refreshing come when we enter into the presence of God. The step we take to keep living every day in the fresh outpouring of God’s presence is through repentance.
Repentance is an offer to turn away from what is destroying us, to be brought back into the loving embrace of a Good Father. God established commands as boundaries that would allow us to use the freedom that we have to enjoy the fullness of all that He created.
The restrictions are given for the purpose of increased enjoyment in life. None of God’s commands are punishments. They are teachers that warn us and reveal the paths of freedom, discovered identity, and abundance in life. God gives us commands because He will never tolerate what can destroy us—He loves us too much.
God wants us to experience fullness of life because He is the giver of life! As we live in God’s ways, the result is that we experience more of God’s presence and the joys of life in which we were created to delight.
But the opposite is true as well. When we sin against what God says, we experience a loss of intimacy with God and an absence of fulfillment. We invite into our life a deadly power that begins to steal, kill, and destroy the life that Jesus bought to resurrect.
That is why repentance is so important. It is a way back to “times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord.” Through repentance, we change our mind so deeply that it changes our personality from the core of our being. We turn back to Christ because we want Him. We want to live in His protection, experience His love, and receive grace to live like Him.
What is biblical repentance? It’s the process of taking steps to turn back to following Jesus Christ. Remember that we are not just believers, but followers!
Follower assumes that someone else is doing the leading. When we lead ourselves, it always ends badly. This is why through faith we keep turning back to Jesus to lead us.
Repentance is relational. It’s not about doing what is right or negotiating to get out of trouble; it’s about restoring the relationship as we keep following. It’s not just turning from something but toward someone—the God who loves us and the One in whom fullness of life is found. Is there any greater invitation?
Pastor James Hilton