[b]The GOSPEL of God's Great Love
Part 6 The BLESSING of Repentance
Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (Acts 3:25, 26)
At a time when the Jews were looking for a messiah to come that would solve their political problems and establish the Kingdom to Israel, the Holy Spirit reveals the nature of the blessing that God intended to send to the children of Abraham. So misguided were the Jews individually, and even the disciples, that after Jesus appeared to them for the last time they could not resist the question; Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? This is a political question. This is a great revelation of how out of sync even the disciples could be with what God was doing in the earth.
When we ask the wrong questions it is likely we will also pray the wrong prayers. Why? The temptation of an evil and adulterous generation is to focus on the fleeting and temporal. People desire to be left alone to think what they want to think, feel what they want to feel and do what they want to do. And they do not care who gets hurt in the process. This is what Francis Schaffer calls "The idol of personal peace." But Jesus came to disrupt everyones personal peace and get us thinking about eternity and being reconciled to our Creator.
Knowledge when it comes before the mind causes a person to 'feel'. If the knowledge that is presented does not jibe with ones personal peace they block it out or try to reject it. This is a curious thing. Unbelievers will sit on the edge of their seats waiting to hear some worthless information, but get out of sorts when they need to learn something that will actually 'benefit' them. They lust for forbidden knowledge, but reject the knowledge of God.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. (Hosea 4:6,7)
Scripture uses the picture of being 'asleep' as a metaphor for people that are careless about their souls. (Romans 13:11, I Thess. 5:6, Luke 22:46) Sleep is a powerful thing and it is a powerful picture. When folk are asleep they do not like to be disturbed. The old timers used the concept of 'awakening sinners'. This can be dangerous, but it has to be done. The light of truth shines into the darkness where careless sinners sleep; where they don't want to be bothered.
The Greatest Blessing
The highest blessing that can be conferred upon people is to be turned from sin. Sin is the source of all woes, and if people are turned from that, they will be happy. Christ blesses no one in sin, or while loving sin, but by turning them from sin. (Barnes) God desired to reconcile man unto Himself, the ultimate blessing. And who can imagine one greater? It is the sad state of affairs in the human race, that though God was mindful of sinful man, sinful man did not like to retain God in his/her mind (Psalm 8:4, Romans 1:28). Man does not need more blessings as he/she understands them, man stands in need of Christ.
If we mix metaphors for a moment, we see that careless sinners want to be left alone, but often they still want to be blessed. The blessings they seek are those that will help them be comfortable; like blankets and pillows to help them just 'sleep on'. Again we read, Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. The word here iniquities is translated in all other places in the KJV as wickedness. That is how God views the life of those that live according to their own way. To just 'sleep on' when God is trying to awaken is wickedness.
People ask for blessings and rarely realize what they are asking. To ask God for a blessing is to ask Him for Himself. Before He can bless us with Himself He has to bless us with REPENTANCE. Yet people typically do not want God or even more of God. They think that already have enough or even too much and they are not even started yet. Why? Their god is their sleep- their 'personal peace'; it is the altar they give their bodies as a living sacrifice for. They present themselves to themselves as a living offering.
Christ came to turn us from Sin and keep us turned. An evil and adulterous generation focuses on the trivial temporal needs of the times and asks for a 'blessing' along those lines. God had an all together different plan. This is the blessing that God promised Abraham's Seed; Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. This [u]is[/u] 'prosperity'.
Robert Wurtz II