Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,Acts 3:19(HCSB)
Israel were God's chosen people who were called to proclaim the good news to the nations, but they failed and fell into apostasy. Despite prophetic calls for Israel to repent and turn back to the Lord, their hearts remained hardened and their eyes were blinded to the truth.
John the Baptist was Israel's final prophetic voice. He was the fore-runner of the Lord who urged God's chosen nation to repent of their sins for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. And despite Christ's ex-clusive role as Israel's promised Messiah and His in-clusive position as the Saviour of the whole world, the Lord Jesus Himself proclaimed that He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel during that special time that He sojourned on earth.
But following Christ's sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary (where as Messiah He was Israel's Passover Lamb, and as Saviour He was the sin-sacrifice for the whole world), the Lord Jesus rose from the dead and commissioned His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
But in the early chapters of the book of Acts, we discover that despite Christ's call to "go and make disciples of all nations," the exclusivity of the glad tidings of great joy which were for all people, continued to be offered only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
It was the men of Israel who were therefore called upon on a number of occasions to: "Repent" and turn back to the God of their Father, and to believe in Jesus as their promised Messiah. Then, their sins would be wiped out and the seasons of refreshing (that were promised to the nation of Israel by so many prophets of old), would finally come from the presence of the Lord. Those times of refreshing will indeed come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, when Christ returns as King of kings and Lord of lords, sets up His earthly kingdom in the land of Israel, and is seated forever on the throne of His Father David.
But although in its historical context this verse is mainly towards the nation of Israel, there is much that we can learn from these inspired words of Scripture and much that we can apply in our own lives - during this Church dispensation.
How we praise our Heavenly Father for Calvary; that our sins are forgiven, that there is no more condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus, that we have been placed in union with Christ, and accepted forever in the Beloved.
How important to know the Scriptures that are written for our learning, and to read, mark, learn, inwardly digest, and apply their godly instruction during this age of grace, and to rightly divide the Word of truth so that we may grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
How important to trust the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father Whose promises toward His nation of Israel will one day be finally and forever fulfilled and His promises toward His Church will never fail, for are all 'Yes' and 'Amen' in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word of truth. Help me to read it with understanding and to learn all the lessons that You would teach me. I pray that I may live a godly life to Your praise and glory, as I look forward to that day when Israel will finally receive their promised times of refreshing, and we will all worship together at Your feet. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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