God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Years ago, I heard a seminary professor teach that God doesn’t require anything of us unless we’re able to do so. I was dumbfounded by his statement. “Can we keep the Ten Commandments,” I thought?
Why did God give the Ten Commandments? One of the reasons was to give us the knowledge of sin: “For by works of the law no human being will be justified [stand righteous] in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). In the next chapter, Paul wrote: “For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15).
God didn’t give us His law because He believed we could keep it; rather, He gave it to show us our sins and His just wrath against them. His Law reveals our utter need for a Savior who fulfilled it on our behalf: “By the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19).
Today’s verse states that the Father exalted Jesus to give repentance. Could it be that God’s call to repentance doesn’t imply that we’re able to do so, apart from Jesus giving us repentance? Paul wrote to Timothy that, “God may perhaps grant them repentance” (2 Tim. 2:25).
When we assume that man is able to repent apart from Jesus giving repentance, we ignore an essential part of His saving work. When Luke later on wrote that God “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30), he didn’t assume that Jesus wasn’t necessary in order to do so.
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