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 NIV
For large parts of North America, Europe, and Africa, the summer of 2017 was about land so dry and heat so oppressive that forested mountains exploded into smoke like volcanoes. It was about fires fierce enough to jump the Columbia River; fast enough to light up the outskirts of Los Angeles like an invading army; and pervasive enough to threaten natural treasures like the tallest and most ancient sequoia trees and Glacier National Park. In BC, there was enough smoke to blot out the sun.
The Jewish Temple sacrificial ritual was a well-developed religious system that gave the people of Israel a constant reminder that God loved them and had a plan to one day set them free from their bondage to sin. Once a year, in the holiest of places, the High Priest would symbolically place the sins of the people of Israel on the mercy seat and then sprinkle the blood of lambs to cover the sins. While the sins were covered by the blood, they were not washed away. That would demand the sacrifice of the unblemished blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. And what a difference He makes. Listen to what Acts 3:19 tells us: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” This post-Pentecost call by the apostle Peter would have been radical to Jewish ears. Sins could be covered, and for millennia they were. But wiped out, blotted out? Yes, because of Jesus’ death on the cross. His blood doesn’t just cover sin – it eradicates it. Jesus will do that for you if you will turn from your sin and put your faith in Him.
These have been words from the heart.