I wonder if you have ever felt beyond redemption. If you realise you are guilty of murdering the Son of God you might think you have committed the unforgivable sin.
After the resurrection, Jesus had ordered the apostles to wait for the promise of the Father. John the Baptist had also had said he baptised with water, but they were going to be baptised with the Holy Spirit, receiving power to be Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the world. When Jesus ascended into heaven the apostles returned to Jerusalem, devoted themselves to prayer together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers, waiting for the promise of being baptised in the Holy Spirit. They were around 120 people. When the day of Pentecost arrived they were all together in one place. Jews came to celebrate this Jewish Feast from every nation under heaven and also people who weren’t Jews but who feared God or had converted to Judaism. They were around 3000.
When the Holy Spirit fell, all these visitors were absolutely astounded as they could hear them talking in their own languages. So Peter stood with the other apostles and addressed the locals and the visitors. He reminded them of the prophecies in the Old Testament that were written centuries before and that they knew so well. And showing them how the Scriptures clearly told that Jesus whom they had crucified was the Son of God. They always believed that when the Christ came, the promise that God had made through the prophet Joel would come true (Acts 2:17-21), that God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. Peter was explaining that that was exactly what they were witnessing which baffled them so much. Seven weeks earlier they had shouted, ‘Crucify Him!’ Watching Him being spat at, laughed at and mocked. Can we imagine how they felt as they began to realise that their sins had crucified Jesus Christ?
Those people who jeered, and mocked were no worse than any of us, and the sins that made them do it; cowardice, envy, hatred, fear, are the sins that lodge in our hearts and minds, so we were there when they crucified the Lord. So we can take to heart Peter’s words and say this Jesus whom we crucified, whom our sins nailed to the tree God has made Him Lord and Christ. It seems a hopeless situation.
If we realise we are guilty of murdering the Son of God we might think that we have committed the unforgivable sin. Peter’s response is full of hope, full of mercy; Acts 2:38-39 ‘Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself’.
Repenting is not a feeling, it is an action. To think about our behaviour and to turn away from it and come to the Lord, to be completely washed, totally cleansed. This was the Lord Jesus’ command. So faith alone isn’t enough, we need to repent, believe and be baptised. So we understand with our mind, believing that Jesus is Lord, respond with our heart, repenting, turning away and being baptised, washed. As we do this God responds by forgiving our sins and remembering them no more; Isaiah 43:25 ‘I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more’ and Hebrews 8:12 ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more’. God is able to do something that we aren’t able to do and that is to forget. But if we understand the measure of our sin and the love and forgiveness that the Lord extends to us as we receive the promised Holy Spirit into our lives we will be able to do the things that by ourselves we can’t achieve.
There isn’t any need we will ever have that God hasn’t already provided for; Philippians 4:9 ‘And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus’. There is no limit to the promise of the Holy Spirit either in time or space; Acts 2:39 ‘The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call’. If we feel beyond forgiveness, beyond redemption, then please read Acts 2 and appropriate these amazing words of hope. Jesus is alive today, ready to pour out upon us the Holy Spirit and to share with us the victory over sin He won at Calvary.
Author: Betty Plumb
May God bless and enrich your life
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