Acts 2:38-39 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
This whole sermon by Peter is something of the antithesis of political correctness. In verse 36 he has just said that his hearers had crucified the Son of God, and that bald truth penetrated just as it was supposed to. That brought his hearers to the sharp awareness of their own sin, causing them to seek the remedy, and here Peter provides it. It is important to remember that this was an audience prepared by God for exactly this occasion. In the first place, they were Jews who cared enough about their faith to travel to Jerusalem, some of them for long distances over several days. In other words, they knew the foundation of who God is, and they sought to be in right relationship to Him. In the second place, ritual bathing was a common feature of the religious customs of the day, as the recent discovery of a pool for exactly that purpose in the area of the Garden of Gethsemane points up. With that preparation, Peter’s words here were all that were needed. However, we’ve got to remember, again, that all of this was the work of the Holy Spirit, who had just been poured out. A similar thing is happening right now in Iran. It has been said that Ayatollah Khomeini was Iran’s greatest Christian evangelist, because he exposed so completely the spiritually bankrupt nature of Islam. As a result, people are turning to Christ in droves, despite all the persecution, and the government is getting increasingly desperate about it. Similarly, the political and moral situation in the US is causing more and more people to open their eyes, preparing the nation for another great awakening. However, that won’t happen without believers speaking the truth in love, regardless of the social or even legal consequences. Political correctness is a tool of the devil!
Ministering in Japan, I long for God to prepare the people to receive the Gospel. There was a time, almost 500 years ago, when they obviously were prepared, and Christianity spread with a speed that totally alarmed the Edo government. However, the ensuing crack-down was the most effective persecution in Church history, and with the exception of a brief surge right after WWII, Japanese society has been one of the most difficult in the world to penetrate with the Gospel. That said, nothing is impossible for God. Wonderful things have been happening in the Tohoku area since the earthquake and tsunami, but so far that has remained largely localized. Recently we have been getting hints that God is doing something marvelous here, but my prayer is for the whole nation! I honestly don’t know what is necessary to prepare people’s hearts, but God does, and He’s working on it. My job is to be bold in proclamation, speaking the truth in love but never letting political correctness get in the way. I am not to be afraid of being seen as “un-Japanese,” because I already am anyway! No less than Peter, I am not to let my past failures keep me from total obedience right now.
Father, thank You for this strong Word, and for all that You are doing in, around, and even through me right now. May Your Spirit indeed be poured out, on believers and unbelievers alike, bringing genuine repentance and active faith, for the salvation of this nation and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!