Acts 3:19 MEANING

Acts 3:19
(19) Repent ye therefore, and be converted.--The latter word, though occurring both in the Gospels and Epistles, is yet pre-eminently characteristic of the Acts, in which it occurs eleven times, and, with one exception, always in its higher spiritual sense. The use of the middle voice for "be converted," gives the word the same force as in the "turn yourselves" of the older prophets (Ezekiel 14:6; Ezekiel 18:30; Ezekiel 18:32).

That your sins may be blotted out.--This is the only passage in which the verb is directly connected with sins. The image that underlies the words (as in Colossians 2:14) is that of an indictment which catalogues the sins of the penitent, and which the pardoning love of the Father cancels. The word and the thought are found in Psalm 51:10; Isaiah 43:25.

When the times of refreshing shall come.--Better, "that so the times of refreshing may come." The Greek conjunction never has the force of "when." The thought is that again expressed both by St. Peter (2 Peter 3:12) and by St. Paul (Romans 11:25-27); that the conversion of sinners, especially the conversion of Israel, will have a power to accelerate the fulfilment of God's purposes, and, therefore, the coming of His kingdom in its completeness. The word for "refreshing" is not found elsewhere in the New Testament, but the cognate verb meets us in 2 Timothy 1:16. In the Greek version of Exodus 8:15, it stands where we have "respite." The "times of refreshing" are distinguished from the "restitution of all things" of Acts 3:21, and would seem to be, as it were, the gracious preludes of that great consummation. The souls of the weary would be quickened as by the fresh breeze of morning; the fire of persecution assuaged as by "a moist whistling wind" (Song of the Three Children, Acts 3:24). Israel, as a nation, did not repent, and therefore hatred and strife went on to the bitter end without refreshment. For every church, or nation, or family, those "times of refreshing" come as the sequel of a true conversion, and prepare the way for a more complete restoration.

Verse 19. - Turn again for be converted, A.V., with no difference in sense; that so there may come seasons of refreshing for when the times of refreshing shall come, A.V. Turn again. The turning to God is the consequence of the change of mind (μετάνοια). That so there may come; rightly for the A.V. "when," etc., which the Greek cannot mean. What Peter conceives is that if Israel turns to God at once in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, then there will come at once those times of refreshing, those blessed days of righteousness, and peace, and rest, and universal joy, which are the characteristics of Christ's kingdom as foretold by the prophets. Those days are delayed by the unbelief of Israel. Seasons of refreshing. The A.V." times of refreshing" is manifestly right, though there is no article in the Greek. "Seasons of refreshing" seems very vague and vapid (see Alford, 1:1, who very appropriately and conclusively cites the phrase καιροὶ ἐθνών, "the times of the Gentiles"(Luke 21:24). Meyer also compares the παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ of Luke 2:25, and so in ver. 21, χρόνων ἀποκαταστάσεως is rendered "the times of restoration."

3:19-21 The absolute necessity of repentance is to be solemnly charged upon the consciences of all who desire that their sins may be blotted out, and that they may share in the refreshment which nothing but a sense of Christ's pardoning love can afford. Blessed are those who have felt this. It was not needful for the Holy Spirit to make known the times and seasons of these dispensations. These subjects are still left obscure. But when sinners are convinced of their sins, they will cry to the Lord for pardon; and to the penitent, converted, and believing, times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord. In a state of trial and probation, the glorified Redeemer will be out of sight, because we must live by faith in him.Repent ye therefore,.... The Ethiopic version adds, "and be baptized"; see Gill on Acts 2:38,

and be converted. The apostle's sense is, repent of the sin of crucifying Christ, which is what he had been charging them with, and turn unto him, and acknowledge him as the Messiah; receive his doctrines, and submit to his ordinances; externally reform in life and conversation, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance, such as will show it to be true and genuine:

that your sins may be blotted out; or forgiven, see Psalm 51:9. Not that repentance and reformation procure the pardon of sin, or are the causes of it, for forgiveness is entirely owing to the free grace of God, and blood of Christ; but inasmuch as that is only manifested and applied to repenting and converted sinners; and who are encouraged to repent, and turn to the Lord from the promise of pardon; it is incumbent on them, and is their interest so to do, that they may have a discovery of the remission of their sins by the blood of Christ. Though no other repentance and conversion may be here meant than an external one; and the blotting out of sin, and forgiveness of it, may intend no other than the removing a present calamity, or the averting a threatened judgment, or the deliverance of persons from national ruin, Exodus 32:32. These Jews had crucified the Lord of glory, and for this sin were threatened with miserable destruction; the apostle therefore exhorteth them to repentance for it, and to a conversion to the Messiah, that so when ruin should come upon their nation, they might be delivered from the general calamity; when it would be terrible times to the unbelieving and impenitent Jews, but times of refreshment, ease, peace, and rest from persecution, to the believers, as is next expressed.

When the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; or "that the times of refreshing may come", as the Syriac version; either seasons of spiritual refreshment, joy, and peace, through the great and precious promises of the Gospel, and by the application of the blood and righteousness of Christ, to such penitent and converted sinners; which refreshment and comfort come from the Lord, and are accompanied with his gracious presence: or else seasons of rest, and deliverance from the violent heat of persecution; which was the case of the saints at the destruction of Jerusalem; they were not only saved from that ruin, but delivered from the wrath of their most implacable enemies. The Ethiopic version renders it, "and the day of mercy shall come from the presence of the Lord", repenting sinners find mercy; and a discovery of pardon is a time of mercy; and when God grants this, he affords his presence. The Jews call the world to come a time of refreshment; and say (b),

"better is one hour , "of refreshment", in the world to come, than the whole life of this world.''

(b) Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 17.

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