“Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
The problem with religion is that it doesn’t quite accept God’s severity of judgement and his attitude to man’s sinfulness. It tends to stress the goodness of God, and man’s unfortunate carnality, and goes on to make sin a pardonable frailty in our genetic makeup that is not really our fault, and that God doesn’t worry too much about – He just wants us to trust in His goodness.
To believe this is to establish faith upon falsehood and build our eternal hope upon the shifting sands of moral relativism and human reason. To manipulate the scriptures in such a way as to console us and excuse us is to deny the written Word and reject the Living Word. A dreamy sentimental faith that ignores the judgements of God against us and listens to the wishful thinking of the soul is as deadly as cyanide.
A faith that passively accepts all the pleasant texts of the Bible while ignoring the commandments and stern warnings of God is a faith founded on deception. It is as Paul wrote to Timothy; “But the Spirit is saying explicitly that in later times some will fall away from the faith paying attention to deceitful spirits and the doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).
There is no true refreshing except that which comes from the Presence of God; nothing else can refresh and, until there is true repentance and a return to Christ from the ways of self, that Presence will be denied.
“We left everything and have followed you” (Mark 10:28), said Peter to the Lord. That is what it takes to be a true follower of Jesus Christ; to leave everything of self behind. He calls us to leave the old life completely and begin the new. Only thus can we live in His refreshing presence continually.