What do we do with what we know?  For Peter’s hearers in Acts 3, there was but one solution.  Peter says,

Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you– even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.

This time of restoration is the Advent which the Jews have eagerly anticipated: the one of refreshing, vindication, and judgment.  Christians know this as the Second Advent, the Return of Christ.

The Jews have not been wrong to see that the ultimate coming of the Messianic King will be with a King who does not die.  The fault can be found with not seeing—even after the explanation—that sin had to be wiped out in order for the restoration to happen.

Here’s the key though: we cannot wipe out sin on our own. 

We need God to eradicate our sin’s consequences.  We need Him to pay for the wrath we deserved.

That’s why Jesus had to come first as Perfect Sacrifice (Advent 1) before He could be pronounced by God as Lord and Savior (Ascension).  

Interestingly, though, He’s been Lord and King through it all.

Repentance, our turning away from one direction (sin) and turning toward God, is necessary for the refreshing to occur.  Jesus made that refreshing a reality in principle and turned sacrifice into Savior, just as God promised in the Scriptures.  Whether that refreshing will apply to us depends entirely on what we do with the first Advent.

Questions for pondering:

  1. Why did I say that that refreshing is a “reality in principle” and not just say it was a reality?  What distinguishes grace from universalism?
  2. What distinguishes what Jesus did on the Cross from what He does in our hearts?  How do we get forgiveness applied to us?
  3. Do you long for refreshing, for restoration, and for forgiveness?  What did Peter say is the answer to all that?
  4. Advent, which begins November 30th this year, offers a time—much as Lent does—for preparing our hearts to receive Him and to take His mission of salvation seriously.  What might be some activities you can do to make Advent meaningful and not just a season of holiday shopping?

Carol Me, Christmas (2014 Advent Devotional Series) will begin November 30th.  If you haven’t signed up yet, you can receive these devotional studies in your email throughout Advent 2014 by entering your email address on the home page in the space provided in the sidebar.  Or “Like” the SeminaryGal Facebook page to access them there.

must remain in heaven

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on November 25, 2014

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