Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Christ Jesus, who was ordained for you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God spoke long ago by the mouth of his holy prophets.(Acts 3:19-21, emphasis added)
Peter and John are at the Temple preparing to enter for worship. At the gate is a lame man. He is placed there every day seeking alms. Peter approaches the lame man who reaches out as if expecting a coin or some other gift. Peter tells the man that he has no money to give, but that the gift of the Holy Spirit will be his. “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out….” Peter reached out with his right hand and lifted the man from his mat to his feet. The man did repent and he danced with joy and from that moment always praising the Lord.
Peter, by way of the Holy Spirit of God, healed that man. Peter was being confronted by a number of Jews. He was challenged by the Pharisees. Peter points out their role in the sacrifice of the Lamb. The Pharisees turned over the “Author of life” and chose to pardon a murderer. Peter preaches to the crowd that has gathered to see the miracle in the formerly lame man. He lays out how Jesus is their Messiah. He tells them of their blame for demanding the life of Barabbas be spared and violently demanding the Life of Jesus be taken. The accusation is clear, “…You killed Him….”
Peter declared the lame man’s healing was by the power of Christ Jesus; the same Messiah they demanded be hung on a cross. Then Peter says something remarkable, benevolent and demonstrative of God’s love. “Now, brothers, I know that you did this in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But the things which God announced by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled” (verses 17 and 18.) The people are forgiven. They are not forever lost. They cannot be held accountable for their horrendously violent hearts. They did not know what they were doing. Jesus said, “It is finished!”
The doctrine of universal reconciliation complements God’s relentless love. The Lord Christ Jesus obediently gave His precious Life “to draw all men to Himself.” Heaven does not hold Him. He is alive and lives in the hearts of men. There will come a moment when He causes “the restoration of all things.” He reigns now. He is the King of Kings. His subjects will be all the men He restores to Himself and He will draw all men to Himself.
“Repent!,” Peter says. “Repent.” Why? So “that your sins may be blotted out….” Whose sins? The sins of mankind generally, but certainly the sins of the Sanhedrin specifically.
Belief in Christ Jesus is a “time of refreshing.” It is a time for a life of peace. Repent and be at peace. Christ is in heaven, but a time will come when He returns “…for the restoring of all things which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.” What was spoken by the prophets that speaks to the restoration of all things? There would be One Who comes to restore all things to the Father. He comes to restore all things, not some, but all things. This is Impartial Grace.