Guilt and Grace
Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away (v.19).
One of the exciting milestones I witnessed in my daughter’s development was when she first learned to walk at 9 months. She pulled herself up to a standing position while holding onto a coffee table and took her very first step! Learning to bend her knees to sit after standing, and then mastering the standing position, she was soon cruising around the house. She was walking independently at 12 months.
For more than 40 years, the beggar in Acts 3:1 never had the joy of standing up (Acts 4:22). He was crippled from birth. A miracle changed all that. In an instant, he was walking and jumping, drawing the attention of everyone in the temple (Acts 3:6). Peter and John soon found themselves surrounded by thousands of worshipers (v.11, 4:4).
Seizing the opportunity, Peter preached the good news (Acts 3:12). Twice, Peter told the crowd, “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed” (v.16). Contrasting the wrong they had done to Jesus, Peter told of the good God had done for them. They put Jesus to death on the cross (Galatians 3:13), but God honored Jesus through the cross (v.13). They condemned the “holy, righteous one” but had acquitted a wicked murderer (Acts 3:14).
This is the very basis of God’s salvation plan—the substitutionary, propitiatory death of Jesus (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:5)—the sinless Savior taking the place of sinful man (Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 2:21; 1 John 2:2). They killed the “author of life,” but God raised Jesus to offer them His resurrection life (Acts 3:15).
Peter convicted them of their guilt but conferred upon them God’s grace. For when guilt is admitted, “God’s wonderful grace became more abundant” (Romans 5:20). And when we repent of our sins and turn to God, our sins are wiped away (Acts 3:19). Our guilt is consumed by His grace.
Twice Peter said that this man was healed by “faith in Jesus’ name” (Acts 3:16). What does it mean for you to have this kind of faith?