During the weeks before Pentecost, the disciples earnestly sought God in prayer.
Acts 1:14 says that they were in “one accord in prayer and supplication.” This experience of “one accord” reveals a strong unity and harmony among Christ’s followers that would not have been possible without repentance and confession. Prayer and confession prepared them for what was going to come.
Read Acts 5:30-32. What important points can we take from what Peter said here?
Peter makes two critical points. First, repentance is a gift. As we open our hearts to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, Jesus gives us the gift of repentance. Secondly, the disciples themselves were witnesses in their own lives of the reality of repentance. They not only preached repentance, they experienced it.
“As the disciples waited for the fulfillment of the promise, they humbled their hearts in true repentance and confessed their unbelief. As they called to remembrance the words that Christ had spoken to them before His death they understood more fully their meaning. . . . As they meditated upon His pure, holy life they felt that no toil would be too hard, no sacrifice too great, if only they could bear witness in their lives to the loveliness of Christ’s character.”-Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 36.
Repentance and confession are common themes throughout Acts (Acts 17:30-31; 26:19-20). It is “the goodness of God” that leads us to repentance; it is the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that brings us to the realization of our need for a sin pardoning Savior. At the same time, we must remember that the Holy Spirit does not fill unrepentant hearts (Rom. 2:8; Acts 2:38-39; 3:19). The Holy Spirit fills hearts emptied of selfish ambition, of the desire for personal recognition, and of the drive for personal glory.
Why is it so difficult to acknowledge our sins and repent of them? Why is it so easy to let self get in the way of true repentance?