14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.
18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. — Acts 3:14-21
Words fail when communicating a swift stream of connected thoughts, but there are a few things to say, at the very least. Lord willing, with some measure of decent articulation.
The above sentiment is true in many ways for Christians today. Of course, not all, but many.
In what ways have we denied the Holy One and the Just and desired a murderer?
Of course, Peter who said this was speaking of the Jews release of Barabbas and condemnation of Jesus. If we can get past a fundamentalist view of scripture—which is one murderer among many—we could see the spirit of what Peter says and consider.
There are many “murderers” among us who kill the Prince of Life and replace Him with the dead ways of man, and the worse among these are within the household of the Christian faith.
As much as I, at times, want to shy away from this topic, I cannot. For better or worse, whether I have a “hook in my jaw” or no, I cannot run away from this.
I want to be a teacher of “pleasant things.” I want to encourage with soft words and tell everyone that it will all be alright. In some sense, this is true. Because, praises to God, we serve a God of mercy and if we are chastised of Him, we rejoice knowing that He deals with us as sons. We rejoice in knowing that all things are working together for our good, even when it does not feel like it. So, on that I will rest all the hard things that must be said.
With that foundation of trust in Jesus, we as a Christian body do in-fact have much repenting to do because we have placed many murderous things in the stead of the Holy One who we call Lord and Savior—who, by His grace and mercy have made me strong. One, who like the man in this story, was spiritually paralyzed, laying at the door of the temple and unable to get in because it was shut from me. It was shut by Christians who failed to uphold the gospel properly. In God’s mercy, He healed me, and I stand with Him now.
I still call all Christians brethren. For now. I still say “we” have much to repent for because we are body and I also stand with all of my brethren. There will come a day when I will not be allowed to say “we” with all who call themselves by His name, but only to the faithful. On that day, we all want to be standing on the right side of Christ as He sends a time that will divide the faithful from the unfaithful, as He has said He would do.
By the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ we can stand. We say this. We say a lot of things, but the reality of our faith is not in Jesus as it should be.
The reality of our faith is in murderous things that we have made Lord instead of Jesus. Dead things like wooden and fundamentalist use of the bible. Dead things like laws and legalism over the things of the Spirit. Dead things like self-righteous indignation and all manner of unclean spirits instead of the things of the Spirit. Dead doctrines that corrupt the gospel. Dead allegiances with the powers of this world and the pleasures of this world. None of us are without some form of culpability.
Many of us will continue to look at all the evils that this world is doing and focus on that instead of the evils within our very own brethren. Some even call themselves prophets even though they sound little different from a right-wing unbeliever.
God does not change. Jesus will return and as the prophets have said, the earth will melt with fervent heat. What manner of men should we be, seeing we look to this day when all works of darkness are burnt up by the brightness of His coming?
This is not to say that we are justified by works. We are not. It is to say that when we place murderers in the stead of the Prince of Life, we have something to answer for.
Remember what all the hard things I say rest on: the mercy and faithfulness of Jesus. God chastens those He loves. All things are coming together for our good if we trust in Jesus. Many things must come down in preparation for His return.
This is good news for us. Do we think the dead things can stand when He returns? Of course not. In His mercy, He will overthrow much ahead of time at the hands of our enemies. We are not to join with them, nor are we to overly focus on fighting them. We are to focus on our own repentance and preparation.
How long until that time? I have no idea. All I know is that I was once lame, and now I walk, and it was not by the power of mainstream Christianity, but by Jesus who rebukes us for many of our murderous ways.