11. How could those Jews get their sins blotted out, and what was to follow this in due time?
11 “Repent, therefore, and turn around so as to get your sins blotted out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the person of Jehovah
HOW TO GET SINS BLOTTED OUT
12. What pattern for having sins blotted out does this set for us today, and why?
12 Those words of Peter set the pattern for us today. We all have sins that need to be blotted out according to God’s loving arrangement, for we are all born sinners, by inheritance of sin from our first human parents, Adam and Eve. (Gen. 3:1-24; Rom. 5:12, 18, 19) We must remember that “the wages sin pays is death.” (Rom. 6:23) If we are anxious to gain life everlasting, in the favor of God, then it is necessary that we repent, that is, feel sorrow and regret for our sinfulness and imperfection and our sins against God’s law. If we really feel sorry and hate ourselves for being sinners against God, we will try to get out of that sinful state and to cease from sinning. How, though?
13. What in addition to repentance was necessary for those Jews, and what course did this call upon such Jews to take?
13 Peter said one must take action in harmony with one’s repentance. He added: “And turn around so as to get your sins blotted out.” Mere repentance will not get our sins blotted out. We have to “turn around” and go in the opposite direction from the course of sinning, making the effort to cease from it. For those Jews back there, that meant to stop resisting Jesus Christ and, rather, to start walking in his footsteps as the “Christ [or, Messiah] appointed for you, Jesus.” (Acts 3:19, 20) Those Jews were already dedicated to Jehovah as God by reason of their having been born into the covenant that Jehovah had made with their forefathers through Moses. So now they had to accept the one whom Jehovah had appointed as their Messiah or Christ and present themselves to Jehovah as believers in and followers of His Messiah. Some days earlier Peter told some three thousand repentant Jews that they needed to symbolize their repentance and conversion by being baptized in water in the name of Jesus as now being their accepted Messiah, the Son of God.—Acts 2:37-42.
14, 15. (a) What fine result comes to the forgiven one from having his sins blotted out? (b) As to whether the blotting out of sins comes from the water of baptism, what does John have to say?
14 What did Peter say would be the fine result of such turning around from the way of being contrary to God’s purpose and appointment and going in the way of his approval and will? This: “that seasons of refreshing may come from the person of Jehovah.”
15 Certainly it would be most refreshing for them to have their sins blotted out, and no longer have the condemnation of sin nor a guilty conscience before him, especially after having been in opposition to the Messiah or Christ of Jehovah. The blotting out of their sins resulted not from the water in which they were baptized, but from the shed blood of Jesus Christ as a perfect human sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Just as Peter’s companion, John the son of Zebedee, wrote later on concerning our walking with God, saying: “If we are walking in the light as he himself is in the light, we do have a sharing with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) Thus God no longer looks on us as sinners, and the peaceful relation with God that results from this mercy on God’s part brings us tremendous refreshment indeed.
16. What did Peter mean by saying that those “seasons of refreshing” come “from the person of Jehovah,” and in that regard what does history show regarding the Jews since 70 C.E.?
16 Since these “seasons of refreshing” are said to “come from the person of Jehovah,” it means that his face is turned toward us with favor. He is giving us his favorable attention. His goodwill is toward us, during the “year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah.” We have become his “men of goodwill.” (Isa. 61:1, 2; Luke 2:14) In the days of the Christian apostle Peter it was urgent upon those Jews to gain Jehovah’s goodwill after the murder of His Messiah at Jerusalem, inasmuch as the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the breaking up of the Jewish nation in the land of Judah was getting very close. The sad history of the Jewish people after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 70 C.E. proves that the dispersed Jewish people have not been enjoying ‘seasons of refreshing from the person of Jehovah [literally, from the face of Jehovah].’
17. In this same regard what must be said about Christendom, and what does Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 C.E. indicate for her?
17 Also, as we examine the history of the religious organization of Christendom since its establishment in the fourth century, we are obliged to admit that Christendom has not been enjoying the ‘seasons of refreshing from the person of Jehovah’ during the more than sixteen centuries of her existence until now. All through her history she has been torn by inside religious disputes and wars, sectarian divisions and disunity and ever-worsening religious confusion. The destruction of Jerusalem back in the year 70 C.E. was a type foreshadowing the destruction of Christendom at the hands of worldly, secular enemies in the near future. Jehovah’s face of favor is turned away from Christendom, and he will no more protect her against the approaching destruction than he protected Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E.
18. What counsel is it therefore urgent upon all people to follow now, and who have already done so and with what result?
18 This is why it is now urgent upon the people, Jew and Gentile alike, to do what the apostle Peter advised, “Repent, therefore, and turn around so as to get your sins blotted out [or, forgiven].” This is what the Christian witnesses of Jehovah have done, and all the evidence proves that they are, in a spiritual sense, enjoying abundantly the ‘seasons of refreshing from the person of Jehovah.’ By the presenting of themselves to Him in a full dedication through his Messiah, Jesus, they have become his “men of goodwill.” As a reward for this they are enjoying what the angels said in the hearing of the shepherds at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, “upon earth peace among men of goodwill.” They do not want to be destroyed with unpeaceful Christendom nor with all the rest of the world empire of false religion in the near future. They feel great “refreshing” because of being relieved of any community share in the sins of Christendom and of that religious world empire, Babylon the Great.—Rev. 18:2-5.
A SECOND SENDING OF MESSIAH AND WHY
19. How do Christendom and the natural Jews differ as to Messiah’s coming, and for it to result in “refreshing” what does Christendom need to do?
19 Christendom claims to be waiting for the return of Jesus Christ, and she expects to experience “seasons of refreshing” as a result of his return. But for this to be so, Christendom would have to do what Peter told the sin-guilty Jews to do, “Repent, therefore, and turn around [or, be converted] so as to get your sins blotted out.” Such times of refreshing follow such a course, just as Peter went on to show, saying: “That seasons of refreshing may come from the person of Jehovah and that he may send forth the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven, indeed, must hold within itself until the times of restoration of all things of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time.” (Acts 3:19-21)