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REPENT AND BE CONVERTED

 

In Acts 3:19 we read, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  This statement comes after a notable miracle occurs in Jerusalem.  The church was in its infancy and we have here an occasion where Peter and John are going to the temple complex.  They enter Solomon’s porch and find a lame man asking alms.  Rather than giving him alms, Peter heals him immediately.  This causes a great stir.

 

The NKJV uses the word “converted” four times – Psalm 19:7, 51:13, Matt. 18:3 & our text.  It is a word that means, “to return to a point or area where one has been before, with probable emphasis on turning about.”  The idea is being restored to a previous state.  The actual Greek word is found some 39 times and is usually translated turn or return (cf.  Acts 11:21 – a number believed and turned to the Lord;  2 Pet. 2:21-22 – turn from the holy commandment; a dog returns to his own vomit…” ) 

 

For the next few moments we want to examine the four verses that use the word converted.  In all four of them we find the power of conversion. 

 

Psalm 19:7 – the law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul.  This is part of a beautiful passage that describes the power of God’s word.  In this statement we read that it converts the soul.  The NASU uses the word “restores” again indicating returning to a proper state as before.
God’s word is powerful to cause one to turn their life around.  But it also, when properly presented can cause one to come BACK to a state of being right with God.

 

Psalm 51:12-13, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.  Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.”  In a psalm of repentance David covets a restored relationship with God.  The then says as that happens he will teach transgressors of His way and sinners shall be converted to the Lord.  A couple of thoughts come to my mind with this.  1) Before he could be any good to others, he needed to take care of himself first – and he did.  2) He would be an encouragement to the lost who think they are without hope.  He can say with humility, “Look at me”.  If God can restore me, He can restore you too.  This is similar to Paul’s statement that Christ came to save sinners of whom I am chief (1 Tim. 1:15).

 

Matt. 18:3, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”  What is interesting about this text is that Jesus is speaking to his own disciples.  They are bickering about greatness in the kingdom.  Notice it is to THEM that He makes this statement.  Sometimes we too need to examine ourselves and perhaps we need an attitude adjustment to rekindle the fire, be restored to where we once were.

 

Finally, we have our text, “Repent and be converted.”   Speaking to Jews who had crucified Jesus and were now learning of their fate, this statement is made.  What is interesting about this is that gramatically, the text is the same as Acts 2:38.  Peter equates being converted with being baptized for the remission of sins.    When you think about it, who needs to obey the gospel?  Certainly, all who have reached an age of accountability need to obey the gospel, but before that they were pure in God’s eyes.  As little children they were SAFE.  And isn’t that the example Jesus appealed to in Matt. 18:3?  When we have sin in our lives, we need to repent and do whatever it is that we need to do (whether it be obeying the gospel or being restored) and return to the proper path.  Consider also James 5:19-20 where the same Greek word found in our text is found twice – someone turns  him back he can have comfort knowing the he who turns a sinner from the error of his way, saves a soul from death and covers a multitude of sin.

 

So there you have it.  UNLESS, you are without sin, you need to be converted.  Why not take care of yourself today?