S (Scripture): Acts 11:15 Peter said, “Then as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he did on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, as he used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave them the same gift as he also gave us after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to hinder God?” 18 When they heard this, the apostles and brothers ceased their objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted the repentance that leads to life even to the Gentiles.”
O (Observation): Repentance that leads to life. What a powerful sentiment. What a powerful truth. God makes it possible for ALL people to repent and be given new life.
Peter was called to reform the church of his day. He was helping Jewish Christians to accept the fact that Gentiles could become Christians, even though they had no compulsion to follow the Jewish laws of cleanliness. All have the opportunity at any point to follow Jesus…to believe in him…to repent.
A (Application): We all deserve death. We all deserve punishment. (Thought I’d start on a cheery note : )
Yet our Lord Jesus has overcome the power of sin and death and calls us to new life. Through faith instilled in me by the Holy Spirit – marked by the waters of baptism as an infant – I choose to believe that God ushered me into the Christian community – the body of Christ.
As an infant, I did nothing to deserve this salvation. When baptized as teens or adults, we do nothing to earn this salvation. All rests upon God’s mercy, regardless of our beliefs. For our beliefs will falter. Our doubts will rise. Our acts of mercy will be less than complete, or non-existent. We will fail to stand up to those who abuse power. Some will struggle in this life so much, they will succumb to the temptation to end their own lives.
We fall short, but our story is not just our own. We are part of a larger story…God’s story. And the hope I have is that whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s (Romans 14:8).
P (Prayer): Lord, you know what weighs on my heart this day. Console me and those who mourn – whatever the cause. Amen.