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Aug
10

Seizing Opportunities (part 2)

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Peter’s explanation of the gospel in Acts chapter 3 began with him declaring the wonderful glory of Jesus Christ. He then took an interesting twist, moving from the glory of Christ to the guilt that each person carries because of their sin. In Acts 3:14-18, Peter shared a list of accusations. They had handed Christ over for crucifixion, denied and disowned him as Messiah, demanded the release of Barabbas, and ultimately “killed the author of life.” Why does gospel preaching seem to gravitate toward sin and guilt? Why so confrontational?

First, as my father used to say, you cannot be saved until you know you’re lost. Gospel preaching informs the listeners of their grave situation of danger. Sin and guilt have separated all of us from God. Furthermore, we must assume personal responsibility for who we are and what we have done. And in case we ever wonder, ignorance is not an excuse (cf. 3:17). That’s why the preaching of Acts falls on our ears as strong and at times even harsh. Our self righteousness is no righteousness at all.
Second, gospel preaching helps us to understand that we are not like God. We are not even remotely close. Once again as we read Acts 3, Peter begins with the glory of Jesus, and contrasts that glory with our own guilt. This is not wordsmithing, but basic theology. Jesus is glorious and we are guilty, and there’s really nothing we can do about it. It’s the distance between Jesus’ glory and our guilt that makes grace so compelling.

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