Sin Deceives; Obedience Feeds
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. (Acts 3:19-21)
Oh, this passage. It deserves much attention and clarity. I’ve been reading it over and over, yet I feel I’ve only scratched the surface. This loaded sentence given to us by God isn’t to be taken for granted. Before you read my words, go read the rich chapter of Acts 3. Read it two, three, ten times. Read it slowly.
We all have many things in common. There’s one of which I’d like to address here. We all desire refreshment.
The third chapter of Acts tell us a nice heap of truth, indeed. The 19th verse, stated above, is really the point of Peter’s second recorded sermon. A call to repentance is given. Peter gets it. Something has provided better refreshment for himself—the presence of the Lord.
I believe this is something we can experience today. God is near to us. With the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us believers, he has the power to refresh us. We need times of refreshment every day. Do we not? If it’s not refreshment we are experiencing at the moment, we’re working towards it somehow I feel. Times of refreshment are crucial for us humans. It’s no bad thing. Peter wanted these people on Solomon’s porch to have it.
Because the enemy is crafty, and because we are wretched, we must abide in God. The temptation to look places for refreshment other than God is real. Do not run anywhere for your times of refreshment other than to God.
So what does it mean by saying sin deceives and obedience feeds? Sin will always leave you feeling full of regret. Sin is deceitful. You know this. Every person filled with the Holy Ghost knows it experientially. It first promises to be enjoyable, satisfying, pleasurable, better. Only when we go and taste of it do we realize it’s not what it promises.
Obedience, on the other hand, is enjoyable, satisfying, pleasurable, and better. We don’t always know what we want. Young toddlers think they know what’s best for them based on what they’re feeling in a moment, but a good parent knows best for the long haul. Our flesh is not going to lead us to God, but the Holy Spirit will. We have this war waging in us between the Spirit and the flesh. It’s a battle that’s already won, but forgotten about sometimes.
Have you died?
If you are to be raised with Christ, in a resurrection like his, you must first die with him, in a death like his.
During your mundane days, sin will creep in to ask you, at some point, to come close for your times of refreshment. But it will deceive you. Don’t go there.
You will never regret obeying the mighty Author of life, but your flesh may hate it. In fact, beat your body! Discipline it. Think back on a time when you obeyed God’s lead in something. Remember when God presented direction to you, and you responded in obedience. Do you regret obeying him? Of course not!
Let us abide in God. And with God’s help, remember that obedience feeds—it refreshes. Turning to the Lord is the surest way to receive lasting, fruitful times of refreshment. Going to him in the Bible, in prayer, in church, in worship, in work, in rest, in sorrow, in joy, in everything will be the refreshment you’re seeking!
There is no one that satisfies like my God! His presence is better.
Sin isn’t my portion. I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good. Running elsewhere is a lesser option. Remember, as you abide in God, that sin deceives and obedience feeds.
Repent, and look to the perfection of Christ! See his beauty. Behold his purity. Gaze at his authenticity. Ponder his works. Believe his word.
I believe salvation has been set before us, those who’ve been chosen before the foundation of the world, to believe Christ, and so we are freed to repent. We are stirred up by the Holy Spirit to turn to God, because salvation awaits us due to the perfection of Christ.
Thus, it will be quite a day when Christ does return and restore all things as the 20th and 21st verses of Acts 3 promises. As Peter invited the Jews on Solomon’s porch to turn to God, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, we too are invited today.