Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.
Acts 3:19, NLT*
Peter’s not being judgmental here, not waving a big stick or speaking condemnation. If we could hear his tone, we’d hear urgency. Longing.
In the Temple, he’s speaking to a crowd about Jesus. He has just put it to them plainly: Jesus is the Messiah from God, whom they and their leaders have rejected and killed.
He’s also declared that they didn’t know the full story, and their choices were part of God working out His plan (Acts 3:17-18).
Now that he has laid out the truth, he’s calling for a response. He’s inviting them into forgiveness. Into the Kingdom, where they belong.
This is Peter, who denied his Lord three times. He can’t even claim ignorance for that. Only fear. But Peter knows from personal experience about the forgiveness and grace of God, about the love that longs to restore and reinstate and repurpose.
We know that love, too, so as we encounter people who don’t know Jesus, if the Spirit leads us to address some form of sin that’s holding them back, let’s remember that the goal is reconciliation, not rejection.
Addressing sin isn’t about “look what you did.” It’s about “this is serious, but don’t let it keep you from God’s love.” And instead of pointing fingers, we can speak from a place of experience: “God does forgive, because He’s forgiven me.”
Oh Holy God, You alone are Judge, and You are also Saviour. Give us compassion for those still trapped in sin, and speak through us to offer reconciliation. We know this is a hard topic, and many will take offense at the truth, but help us to speak it in love and to entrust the results to You.
Here’s Michael Card’s haunting question: “What Will it Take to Keep You From Jesus?” Let’s remember the heart behind the call.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.