Times of Refreshing

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,” that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19

Our God is so gracious that even after we have rebelled against him, he not only wipes out our sins, but he also goes on to give us times of refreshing. Now this phrase, “times of refreshing,” encompasses quite a bit, including the return of our Lord, but it also seems to include a sense of spiritual refreshment that comes to the individual believer. Think back to when you first came to know the Lord. The burden of your sins were heavy upon you as you felt the curse and judgment they demanded. Then someone pointed you to Christ, and through faith, your sins were washed away. Then, do you remember what followed? Do you remember being refreshed as the Joy of the Lord became your strength? The world was just a little brighter, the mountains where a bit more majestic, and the burdens of the world seemed lighter, because you knew nothing could separate you from his love.

What we experienced during these times was the Holy Spirit’s work, as he bore witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16). As Paul told us, even if the outward man is perishing, the inward man is being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16), because even in this fallen world, the Spirit has been given to us as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Cor. 5:5). As he works in our life, our spirits our refreshed knowing that our sins can no longer condemn us because of Christ’s work, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever when this life is through.

There are, however, times in the believer’s life when this refreshing may fade. If we begin to turn our focus to the things of this world, whether its vanities or trials, there is an intimacy with Christ that can be lost; much like when Peter was walking on the water and turned his eyes away from Jesus. Maybe you are finding yourself in that place right now. Something has caught your eye that is luring you away from the Lord, and seeking first the kingdom of God is no longer your main desire. Maybe the straight and narrow is not as appealing to you anymore because some lesser light has stole your heart as it offers you more than it can actually provide. The problem with this is that you are being tempted by your own evil desires, and when it is conceived it will give birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown gives birth to death (James 1:15). As this process is taking place the Holy Spirit grieves within you, and there can be a dimness that can come back to your eyes as you once again try to shoulder the weight of this world without Christ’s abiding presence. So much so, that at times you can begin to wonder if you were ever a child of God to begin with.

It is at this point, that the enemy begins to mock you for taking the bait, and begins to tell you that you’ve gone too far and that you have never been his child. But the Spirit of God, who has never left you, has many ways of stirring you to remembrance of the times of refreshing you once had. He does this for at least two reasons, first to remind you that you are his child and give you strength as you deal with the sin in which you now find yourself entangled, and second, to call you to repentance, because the times of refreshing can be experienced again.

If you find yourself in this situation, and the joy of your salvation has been eclipsed by the cares and sins of this life, remember the times you once had with your Savior. By doing so you can be confirmed that you are his child, and you will hear the call to repentance saying, come back to your First Love, and as you “draw near to me and I will draw near to you” (James 4:8). And if you have never come to Christ for the forgiveness of sins, you too can have your sins wiped out, that times of refreshing may come.

Doug Eaton

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One thought on “Times of Refreshing

  1. Regarding your comment: If you find yourself in this situation, and the joy of your salvation has been eclipsed by the cares and sins of this life, remember the times you once had with your Savior. By doing so you can be confirmed that you are his child, and you will hear the call to repentance saying, come back to your First Love, and as you “draw near to me and I will draw near to you” (James 4:8). And if you have never come to Christ for the forgiveness of sins, you too can have your sins wiped out, that times of refreshing may come.

    Remembering the times (and the joy of our salvation)we had with the good Lord when we first came to Him does not bring about a new “refreshing.” If we struggle due to worries about this life, we have merely taken our eyes off Jesus and fail to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit we first received, which is always there in its fullest measure. It’s not about remembering how we felt when we first accepted Christ (faith is not a feeling) that will produce good fruit. It’s about obedience to the faith, not allowing the worries of this life to control our walk. To expect that “refreshing times” come about by remembering when we first chose to follow Christ is to accept that the Holy Spirit is present solely to do our bidding, turning His power off and on as we do the TV or the Internet. The “refreshing” here has to deal with His return, His Parousia, His presence on earth with us.

    Matthew Henry spoke best about these times of refreshing:

    “They must believe that times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord (v. 19), and that they will be the times of the restitution of all things, v. 21. There is a future state, another life after this; those times will come from the presence of the Lord, from his glorious appearance at that day, his coming at the end of time. The absence of the Lord occasions many of the securities of sinners and the distrusts of saints; but his presence is hastening on, which will for ever silence both. Behold, the Judge standeth before the door. The presence of the Lord will introduce, [1.] The restitution of all things (v. 21); the new heavens, and the new earth, which will be the product of the dissolution of all things (Rev. 21:1), the renovation of the whole creation, which is that which it grieves after, as its present burden under the sin of man is that which it groans under. Some understand this of a state on this side the end of time; but it is rather to be understood of that end of all things which God hath spoken of by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began; for this is that which Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of (Jude 14), and the temporal judgments which the other prophets foretold were typical of that which the apostle calls the eternal judgment.

    This is more clearly and plainly revealed in the New Testament than it had been before, and all that receive the gospel have an expectation of it. With this will come the times of refreshing (v. 19), of consolation to the Lord’s people, like a cool shade to those that have borne the burden and heat of the day. All Christians look for a rest that remains for the people of God, after the travails and toils of their present state, and, with the prospect of this, they are borne up under their present sufferings and carried on in their present services. The refreshing that then comes from the presence of the Lord will continue eternally in the presence of the Lord.”

    Let’s not provide an ersatz key to those who seek a soft approach to their walk with God, as if He is here to do our bidding than maintaining a consistent walk with Christ!

    Joe Ortiz, author
    The End Times Passover (Author House)
    Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (Author House)
    Saved? What Do You Mean Saved? (GBM Books)

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