“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” Acts 3:19
I was talking to a dear friend on the phone one day. They were telling me how disgusted they were about a friend who had found God. They said that it was wrong because this guy and his wife were doing horrible things before, and finding God was just a way to make them feel better, a way out of their guilt, shame, and old life. As I pondered his statements from months ago, I wondered is this how people feel, are we just making ourselves feel better? I have been praying to God “I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24) for months when those thoughts would occur, but last week, God went above and beyond. He helped me to not only believe, but to understand completely.
I was driving with my son. As we passed a Laketran bus, I noticed the advertisement on the back. It said 4 GIVEN on an oversized license plate. The small print read about an insurance company and accident forgiveness. I worked at an automobile insurance company for about 10 years until my son was born, so I started thinking about accident forgiveness and how it worked.
If someone had an at-fault accident and had no other violations, the insurance company would not charge them for it. So their insurance premium would not increase; it was like it never existed. However, the accident certainly did exist, and there was a wake of evidence to prove it. Bills from the automobile repair shop, the new fender on your car, the stiff neck that tends to flair up when it rains, the list goes on. So back to the policy; the premium is a legally bound contract between the insurance company and the insured. The fact that the premium does not go up, is only known by the person who caused the accident and the insurance company.
As I thought about this process, it became evident to me that freedom in Christ is the same way. When we confess our sins to each other, and pray in faith we will be forgiven (James 5:15-16). What does that mean? It means it is gone; the blood of Jesus has washed it away. Does this mean everything caused from our sin will disappear? Unfortunately not; the wake of evidence will again be there. The health issues, injuries, people who were hurt or saw you live a sinful lifestyle will remember, possibly judge and maybe even condemn you for your past life. But we must remember that our relationship with Christ is a divine document sealed with faith that is between only Him and us. When God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross, He did it to wipe your sins away.
So when I rethought the comments made by my dear friend, I realized that they were absolutely right. Remember they said that opening their life to God would just make them feel better? This is true because the burden lifted from confessing our past to God gives unbelievable peace (Matthew 11:28). They said that it was just a way out of their shame and guilt. This also is true, there is no guilt or shame in Christ (John 3:17, Romans 1:1-4). You see, no matter what your past life held, once you repent not only will your sins be wiped out, but refreshment will follow (Acts 3:19). To repent means to not only confess your sin, but to turn from it. So I thank God for my new life in Christ and I will thank my friend who challenged me to believe, on a whole new level.