Acts 3:19-20~ “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” (NIV)
Peter explained to those listening that Christ was the fulfillment of the prophecies of old and Stanley explains, “Peter pointed out that the men of Israel were crippled in their souls. Their healing would come the same way it had for him—through “faith in His name” (v16).
So, I ask you, isn’t it the same principle for us today? Until we recognize our sin, not in front of men to make a show or to blame others, but in humble repentance, are we going to be set free from being overly sensitive by what others say or worse yet, blaming others for our behavior. This weighs people down. The only way we lift this heaviness is to pile it upon someone else.
We must stop dumping our pain on other people and start taking responsibility for our actions by admitting our sin to ourselves, to those we’ve offended and, most importantly, to God. If you don’t see what you are doing as sin, then you won’t admit it and cannot repent nor ask God for forgiveness.
Acts 4:12 helps us to understand why admitting and repenting of our sin is so important. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” That is Jesus!
This is what some will call salvation or being saved. We have to ask why Jesus had to be crucified if He were just an ordinary person? “God does not make mistakes, and His wisdom is always sound. Jesus died so we might have eternal life. He says that we can only come to Him through faith and acceptance of His life, death, and resurrection.” (Stanley, Life Principles Bible, p1574)
We even have Scripture that helps us examine ourselves to make sure we have surrendered our lives to Jesus the Christ. It’s the truth of God’s Word that holds us accountable. If we are reading the Word daily, drinking the Word into our innermost being, it will change our lives. John 8:31-32 explains it this way, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
He’s just given each of us the “formula” to not only check ourselves to see if our walk is pleasing to God but we can look at others who claim to know Christ but continue to walk in their former way of life. “Just as truth is in Jesus…in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.” (see Ephesians 4:20-24 NAS)
We see this very example in Scripture with the Apostle Paul. Through one way or another we are forced to take a good look at ourselves and through the Word, truth shines on the inner being of our soul. It will shine truth—it exposes darkness and evil. Are we walking a new path, a path that is pleasing to God and a blessing to those around us?
When we are forced to leave what we know, the dirty filth that is thrown up into our face, and expose the past by the love and truth of Christ, we are set free. We are set free to be used of God in ways that we never would have imagined. He has such a special purpose for each of us…through Christ!
When this happens, that total surrender to Christ, He will use circumstances to teach us to behave in a different manner than we have in the past. He will take people out of our life, those that are no longer a part of our new journey. People who will throw our past into our already suffering soul, or people who will pull you back into your sinful behavior. Gone are the people who will hinder you from serving Him the way He has intended.
We cannot be around people who hold us in the bitterness of our past or that hold us in bondage, keeping us from serving Christ. Stanley points out, “If you say you’ve received Christ, but continue addressing situations with your worldly goals and ambitions—there is something terribly wrong, and you must reevaluate your priorities.” (Life Lessons, p 1583)
Finally, I want to close with Proverbs 6:16-19:
“There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things He detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.” (NAS)
You can’t continue to blame anyone else for your behavior, you are accountable for what you choose to do. Continue living your life like you have or surrender your life to the only One who can set you free.