First and foremost, the purpose of grace is to gift you with repentance. Without repentance, we have no seed or source for our faith. As one who is aligned with God in repentance, the Apostle Peter said, “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5: 29 – 32)
Without repentance we will obey man rather than God. The word ‘obey’ is built on a compound word in the Greek language which means to have trust in the rule of someone. In this case, Peter and the other apostles replied they had trust or confidence in the rule of God rather than ruling themselves or being ruled by the meant-to-be persuasive and strict orders they had received from the Sanhedrin. Without the gift of repentance, that obedience would have been manipulated and directed by the superior threats and consequences of the council. Just as today, without repentance, we will do almost anything or keep ourselves completely quiet so we can stay in the good ‘graces’ of our culture.
What is forgiveness without repentance? It is an admission of guilt where no guilt exists. What is our witness without repentance? Is it a charade? Is it being asked to suffer for what we do not believe?
Repentance aligns us with reality. In this case, repentance aligns Peter and the other apostles to the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
What is the reality with which you are aligned? Is it a reality that causes you to trust yourself or does it cause you to trust God? Is it a reality where what you think is what’s most important or have you exchanged your will for the truth that is in Christ Jesus? Is it a reality where you blame others for what is wrong in your world or have you and the Holy Spirit taken responsibility for everything? Is it a reality where you do what you have to do or a reality where you are led by the Spirit? Is your reality marked by the need that something’s gotta give or is it marked by the fact, God already gave?
Is your life marked by the purpose of Grace?
As you read Acts 6 today, notice the “double silence” that was at work in Stephen’s life. He wasn’t full of himself, he was “known to be full of the Spirit” (Acts 6: 3) and when opposition arose against him, “they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.” (Acts 6: 10)
Acts 6: 8 describes this quality of the “double silence” when it says that Stephen was “a man full of God’s grace and power”. Today, may we be so marked by the purpose of grace that we are described as Stephen is.