By Not Known
One of the most poignant scenes in Acts 2 is when the listeners of Peter’s sermon were described as being “cut to the heart”. They then responded to the apostles: “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter’s reply was: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins,…” (vv37-38).
We are all familiar with baptism, but what is repentance? It is often linked with our initial salvation experience but has seemingly so little to do with our daily lives.
The crowd in Acts 2 had experienced conviction of sin − that of being “cut to the heart” as God through Peter, highlighted their need for repentance and faith. The crowd knew they had sinned against God. And this was followed by the desire to be changed: “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter’s answer was for them to turn away from their sins, resolving to trust in God’s mercy and power not to sin again.
How much of this desire to repent, to turn away from sin, do we emphasise when we come before God during our daily quiet time; during our confession at worship; or during those moments when God the Holy Spirit shows us that we have grieved Him? Or do we gloss over our sins as we almost immediately mouth God’s forgiveness and then go on sinning against God without any desire to allow God to change us?
Yet that was what one of my friends very “proudly” claimed to be the “gospel”. Religiously every night, he would pray to God to forgive the same sins over and over again without any intention on his part to change.
Little wonder he would not call himself a Christian today. His heart just could not allow him to go on deceiving himself and others. This was what Dietrich Bonheoffer termed “cheap grace”. Many of us have been going through the similar motion of mouthing our confessions without any real desire for change.
Our gracious and merciful God (Ps 145:8-9) knows about it better than we do; that is why Christ came to die in the first place. God’s grace is free but it is not cheap. It cost Christ’s death for you and me − and certainly for that dear friend of mine as well. But do we really appreciate it enough to get real with Him?