Peter’s Message of Repentance

In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception “that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior.” He goes on to say, “It is revival … More


Peter exhorted the people and the leaders by telling them they had acted in ignorance because they didn’t recognize who Jesus is. However, Christ being crucified was a fulfillment of prophecies. Peter’s message:

  1. It begins with a note of mercy and warning combined (vv. 17-21). It was in ignorance that the Jews perpetrated the terrible deed of the crucifixion; but that ignorance is no longer possible, and, therefore, there can be no excuse for their further rejection of Jesus.
  2. The obligation this knowledge brings is the obligation to repent and to turn (vv. 22-23). The two words go closely together. Repent might simply mean to change one’s mind; and it is an easier thing to change one’s mind than to change one’s life. But this change of mind should result in a turning away from the old way, and a bringing forth upon a new.
  3. This repentance will have certain consequences (vv. 24-26). It will affect the past; sins will be wiped out and it will bring times of refreshing. Into life will come something which will be a strength in weakness and a rest in weariness.
Peter is telling them, first of all, to repent of their sins (v. 19). Repentance involves a change of mind about themselves, their sin, and about the Lord Jesus Christ. They were also to be converted, which meant a change, or turning away, from their sin to exercising saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The promise that would follow was that their individual sins would be forgiven. Peter spoke of Moses and Abraham to this large crowd, but he didn’t let the national blessings take the place of the personal responsibility for each person to repent. Notice verse 26.


Just as repentance was important in Acts chapter three, so is repentance necessary today, “. . . except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” I remember well when I was on board the troop ship and repented of my sin and gave my heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 3:17-26 (English Standard Version)

""And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, 'The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.' And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness."

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