“Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.” (Acts 3:17)

Though the people willfully consented to the crucifixion of Christ, the consensus was that it was a noble move. Because they acted out of ignorance, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” Ignorance is never a valid excuse for sin. However, it does become a popular seedbed for it.

Not long ago we had a young Christian band from San Diego come do a concert at our church.

Really, I didn't mean to!

Really, I didn’t mean to!

They barely made it to the show. Why? Well, they were arrested. They didn’t know Texas had laws against climbing water towers. All they wanted was a panoramic view of the Hill Country. Instead they got a close-up of a putrid jail cell. Though the crime was committed in ignorance they were guilty as charged.

Without question, many offenses are premeditated. We commit them willfully and knowingly. But that’s not always the case. Oftentimes it’s ignorance that gets us into trouble. For example, one might drink beer regularly and unashamedly. “It’s my liberty!” Senior Sudz boasts – until he stumbles upon that passage in Romans which states:

“It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.” (Romans 14:21)

“Wow!” Senior Sudz declares. “I haven’t taken others into consideration. I’ve been breaking the law of love! Perhaps it’s time to rethink Miller time.” That’s a wise choice, as loving others stands as the greatest commandment next to loving God. We need to bear that in mind before reaching for a cold one, especially in the company of others.

As we grow in Christ and get more into the Word, God continues to work on our conscience. We become more in tuned with what does and does not please Him as He brings to surface those sins committed out of ignorance. Sin simply means ‘to miss the mark.’ No one hits the bull’s eye every time; therefore forgiveness remains man’s greatest need.

Whether intentional or not, the wages of sin is death. In other words, sin is poison. It doesn’t matter if poison is consumed purposefully or accidently. Either way, it kills. There is only one antidote for sin – the blood of Jesus. We must turn from sin and turn to Him. That was Peter’s message to those who ignorantly killed Christ:

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)

The first thing Peter tells the people to do is repent. Repent simply means; “turn from.” The idea behind convert is a bit different. It means; “turn to.” Allow me to illustrate. Once when I was a young teen, I went to use the restroom at the local burger joint. I couldn’t understand why girls were hanging out in there. I wanted them to leave. It finally dawned on me that I was in the wrong facility. After receiving this revelation, I not only repented I quickly converted. Turning from the ladies room, I turned to the men’s.

That’s exactly what we’re to do when sins of ignorance are brought to light. We turn from sin and turn to Him! For those willing to do this, God promises some wonderful perks. Firstly, He cleans the slate by blotting out every sin.

Not only does God grant a fresh new start, He brings times of refreshing. It’s so true. I remember the day I turned to Him as if it were yesterday, how He lifted away all the shame and sorrow. Then came His healing touch. I was clean! Forgiven! Overwhelmed by His love! Refreshed by His amazing grace! And, you know, I still experience times of refreshing. When I’m down, dry, or feeling distant, I know it’s time to turn to the Lord. He refreshes me every time I do.

What about you? Where do you turn? Are you weak, weary or worried? Could you use a time of refreshing? Follow the Lord’s simple two-step program: repent and be converted. Turn from whatever it is that burdens you and turn to Jesus. He’s there for you. He’s waiting for you. Even now, He invites you to come.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

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