One of the purposes of the Book of Acts is to give a defense of the spread of the Christian faith, while serving as a testimony of the work of God. This book, like every book of the Bible, calls readers to repent and believe in Jesus. 

In Chapter 3 we have this amazing account of Peter and John healing a lame man. The people who witnessed this were amazed at what Peter and John were able to do. 

Why were Peter and John given the power to heal? It was so they could show the people their need for a much deeper, spiritual healing, one requiring faith and repentance. Consider both the calling and the gifts of the gospel where Peter says, “Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19-20a).

The Calling of Faith

Faith precedes and gives life to repentance, but this faith needs to be placed in the proper person. Having faith in ourselves will not change our hearts. Having faith in others will not heal the brokenness deep within. Having faith in a system, philosophy, world view, or works will not fix the sin problem separating us from God. 

Our faith must be in, and only in, Jesus, the Son of God. He is the only One who can restore, correct, change, and heal us in the deepest and most important way possible. 

The lame man had faith. While Peter and John healed him of his immediate need, Jesus healed him of a much deeper need. 

“And on the basis of faith in Jesus’ name, his very name has made this man—whom you see and know—strong. The faith that is through Jesus has given him this complete health in the presence of you all.” –Acts 3:16

The Calling of Repentance

Peter used the attention of the people around him to call them to repentance and faith in Jesus (v. 19). 

I find James P. Boyce’s (1886) simple definition really helpful. He said, “Repentance is sorrow for sin, accompanied by a determination, with the help of God, to sin no more.” Repentance is an acknowledgment we have sinned and need God’s help to walk in His ways, fueling our determination to live for His glory. The call to repent is connected to the gifts of the gospel.

The Gift of Forgiveness

Repentance leads to a beautiful gift, the gift of forgiveness. The people who were there with Peter had no idea how deep their sin problem went. Two-thousand years later, we also don’t have the clearest understanding of our sin. Everyone needs the gift of forgiveness, and the beauty is of forgiveness is that it is an ongoing gift. God does not forgive only one time and expect us to be perfect. He forgives us daily, even hourly. 

This forgiveness comes through repentance, which comes by faith. 

The Gift of Refreshing

As Peter called the people to repent and believe, he told them faith and a changed heart would lead to a time of refreshment (v. 20). We all need and want this, don’t we? 

What is this gift of refreshing? The sacrifice of Jesus brings gifts upon gifts, and one of them is the time of spiritual refreshment which includes joy, comfort, and peace. It is why Christians are able to go through hard times with tears in their eyes and still have joy in their heart. They can be isolated and still find comfort. Life can be stormy and yet there can still be peace because of the gift of salvation.

Don’t take your salvation for granted. Repent daily and praise the Lord for all the gifts He gives you. 

Looking to Jesus,



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Jen Thorn

Jen Thorn

Jen Thorn grew up in Germany and then spent her teenage years in Africa, where her parents were missionaries. She moved to the United States for college and attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where she met her husband. They have been married for twenty-two years and have four children. Jen lives in the suburbs of Chicago, where her husband is the pastor of Redeemer Fellowship. Jen is passionate about theology and the connection to daily living.

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