Summary: Have you ever wondered how leaders should temper justice with mercy? Peter provides us with an excellent example in his sermon. The apostle shows us how to integrate grace in his message of justice, truth and righteousness. First, Peter acknowledges that
Have you ever wondered how leaders should temper justice with mercy?
Peter provides us with an excellent example in his sermon. The apostle shows us how to integrate grace in his message of justice, truth and righteousness.
First, Peter acknowledges that some people merely acted out of ignorance in putting Christ to death. At the same time he teaches that ignorance is no excuse for failing to trust the Savior of the world. Peter’s approach echoes the thoughts of James who wrote,
"The one who knows what is right and fails to do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:7)
Peter knew that true repentance would change the way we perceive our identities, our circumstances and relationships. He reminds people that without God tempering His justice with mercy we would all be on our way to hell.
2. The apostle urged people to allow the Spirit to transform our thinking about God’s justice and mercy in order to change our attitudes and actions. As we view God’s mercy we are able to develop an attitude of mercy and then show mercy.
Application: Ask God to help you to focus more on helping people change the way they view justice with mercy from a Christ like mindset. Our humble attitudes can drastically affect our relationships and ministries. Jesus said,
"Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy."
3. Peter promises time of gladness, refreshing and restoration when we allow Christâs mercy to apply to our own justice. The only thing that stands in the way of people experiencing the fullness of God’s mercy is our own impenitence, stubbornness or pride.
Today many people fail to temper their justice with mercy. Many individuals are too hard on themselves, their critics and other Christians.
When people are able to express greater sympathy, compassion and they are able to refrain from punishing themselves and enemies. Greater mercy helps us show more forgiveness.
Peter urges all men to show the breadth, length, height and depth of Christ’s mercies with an attitude of dependence on the Spirit’s enabling.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you to stop being so hard on yourself, your opposition or other believers as you express Christ’s mercifulness.
3. Peter grappled with peoples’ consciences. Instead of trying to merely tickle their intellect, Peter helped prick his audience’s conscious sense of what is good, better and best.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you speak more to peoplesâ broken hearts than their heads.
4. Peter posed a stern warning to those who failed to repent and accept Christ’s offer of merciful forgiveness. He said,
"And it shall be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people." (Acts 3:23)
Do not soft sell the harsh realities of the justice of God. Let everyone know the consequences of failing to place their faith in Christ for the substitutionary forgiveness of their sins.
Application: Ask the Lord to give you greater boldness, clarity and conviction as you speak of the wrath of God.
5. Peter speaks out of a loving appeal to his brethren whom he identifies with emotionally, historically and culturally.
Application: Ask the Lord to give you a greater sense of identification with your audience so you are growing together with them in your mutual quest to do Godâs will. Avoid patronizing teaching that speaks to people in a condescending manner.
6. Peter spoke as inspired by the Spirit. Let everyone know that your ideals, convictions and guidance comes from the Holy Spirit instead of your own personal agenda. When people understood that Peter spoke as He was inspired by the Spirit they knew he was a messenger of God. (2 Pet. 1:20,21)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you learn how to be more a steward of Godâs word without using the position for your own selfish programs.
7. Peter made the beginning middle and end of His message revolve around Christ. Christ is the key to showing us the way, the truth and lifestyle of one who tempers justice with mercy. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Rom. 11:35, 36.
Christ is our source of everything that is good, our means for every good work and our goal for all that is in God’s will
Application: Ask the Lord to help you teach of Christ the Savior and not merely Jesus the teacher or judge.