TODAY’S READING: ACTS 1-3
“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.'” – Acts 2:38
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.” – Acts 3:19
The forgiveness and blotting out of sins is a marvelous thing.
But, when you think of the forgiveness of “your sins,” what comes to your mind?
I’m sure we could make a list infinitely long to describe our sins.
But, are these the sins Peter is talking about? The sins that need to be forgiven and blotted out?
Or, is there a root sin, a foundational sin, that if we know is forgiven and blotted out eliminates all other sin?
These two verses from Acts regarding the forgiveness and blotting out, or wiping away, of sins come immediately after Peter’s first two sermons. And, in these two sermons, I believe Peter specifically addresses two sins. These two sins are the my sins, your sins, our sins that are forgiven and blotted out. And, the recognition of the forgiveness of these two sins changes everything. Because these two are sins are at the core of all other sins.
What are these two sins?
Let’s look at what Peter says.
First, Jesus was delivered up, betrayed (Acts 2:23). “Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate.” (Acts 3:13) “But you denied the Holy and Righteous One.” (Acts 3:14) Jesus was delivered over and betrayed by us. I wrote about this in “Who Delivered Jesus? Who Killed Jesus?”
By delivering over and betraying Jesus, we denied the goodness of God.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
“For whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.” – John 3:34
“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life.” – John 12:49-50
By delivering over and betraying Jesus, we denied what God was giving us – eternal life. And, every gift from God is good.
Second, “this Jesus…you crucified and killed.” (Acts 2:23) “You killed the Author of life.” (Acts 3:15)
Having delivered over, betrayed, and denied the gift of eternal life God was giving us, we crucified and killed the very author of that life.
At the most fundamental level, we have committed two sins:
- We denied God, specifically that he is good
- We killed God, seeking to rid ourselves of him
This goes straight back to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. God had given them every tree of the garden of Eden that was good, including the tree of life, to eat from freely. They are only not to eat from one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet, they refused the good gift, the tree of life. And, by refusing the good gift, Adam and Eve separated themselves from God, effectively killing him.
From these two sins, every other sin was birthed out of. Many years later “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)
Sure, there are many things that we do that are sins that need to be forgiven. But, every thing we typically consider sin, sin that we need forgiveness of, derives from the foundational sins of denying God’s goodness and, consequently, removing God from our lives.
Until those two sins are truly addressed, truly repented of as we immerse ourselves in Christ and the Spirit, the rest is just window dressing.We are not thinking differently. We are not transformed.