Do We Get a Pass?
I was reflecting on Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 3, under the verses titled “Peter’s Speech.” These passages, of course, come after the death and resurrection of Jesus and the Coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, which is described in Acts 2.
Anyway, in Peter’s speech, as he was proclaiming what God has done (the Kerygma), it struck me that it was through the sins of man that Jesus was crucified, yet Jesus stayed faithful to the Father and allowed himself to be crucified, for their sake.
Do you see how remarkable that is?
Scripture doesn’t tell us that Jesus died for them because they were repentant, or after they had turned away from their sins and sought forgiveness.
No, Jesus died for them, even though they had sinned, in the midst of their sin, because clearly, they needed it—as do we. (See Luke 5:32, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.”)
Peter tells the crowd they were ignorant, just like their leaders. Even the smart guys got it wrong, blinded as they were, by their disappointment that Jesus wasn’t the sort of military hero they were expecting, and fearful of the political chaos he could cause.
Now in hindsight, we should be able to appreciate the depth of God’s love for us—that he was willing to die for each of us, on that cross, even when he was ignored, rejected and tortured.
Yet, still, even today, we often ignore the call for repentance. We ignore and reject the Gospel, and Jesus himself, even though we know that turning away from sin is foundational to our entry into heaven.
Do we not realize that the salvation that Jesus brought by his death on the cross still holds true for us? Do we not desire it?
Perhaps those who crucified Jesus can get a bit of a pass since, as Peter said, they were ignorant, but can we also make that same claim after hearing it preached, so many times, as in Acts Chapter 3, Verse 19, when Peter says:
“Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”
The time has come for us to take this call to repentance seriously, and pay attention to the second part of that as well.
We need to be converted. Our lives need to change. As Christians in an increasingly non-Christian culture, the proclamation of the Gospel is greatly needed.
The voice of Jesus, his message, must not be quieted.
Our lives, and those around us, depend on it.
Jesus died out of love for us, and his mercy continues to flow abundantly upon us, but we can no longer claim ignorance and live our lives as if his death and resurrection had no meaning.
It was—is—our only path to salvation.