Today, advertisers and marketers have their pick of the lot when it comes to selling us on self-improvement or self-preserving products. Billions of dollars are spent annually on gimmicks, gadgets, and services that promise to make us look younger, live longer, and feel better. When it comes to fad diets, plastic surgery, holistic remedies, and nutritional supplements, we are inundated with messages that argue “this will change your life forever.” The truth of the matter is that yo-yo dieting doesn’t work, and plastic surgery and augment procedures are dangerous and temporary at best. Preservation of the physical body is achieved through eating properly and modestly, working out for 30 minutes per day for at least five days per week, and seeing your doctor routinely. It’s that simple.
While the preservation of our physical bodies is essential, what’s most important is our place in eternity. Peter preached the formula for securing our place in eternity and living an enduring life. Peter was preaching to people who carry the same baggage as we do today: sin. Sin seeks self-gratification, self-aggrandizement, and self-centeredness. Sin keeps us fixated on preserving the temporal. When Peter gave an invitation to be saved from this “perverse generation” obviously the people knew that they were living in spiritually deprived times and among spiritually deprived people because there was no rejection of his message. In fact, they asked Peter, “What must we do?”
What caused this mosaic of humanity that was gathered in Jerusalem to ask Peter and the people who were with him, “What shall we do?” What part of Peter’s message “cut to the heart” of those gathered? In verse 36, Peter proclaims, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the crowd heard these words, they sensed a harrowing and deep sense of sorrow. The power of the Holy Spirit evidenced to those in Peter’s presence that it was their sin that caused the death of the Son of God and the Anointed One that they’d been waiting to see, worship, and obey. They (we) crucified him. Therefore, we, just as those who gathered at Pentecost, are called to repent and be baptized.
Lent is a season to commemorate our complicity in the death of our Savior and our complete dependence on him as our forgiving resurrected King. Since the fourth century, the Church has observed the days of Lent as a time when believers were found repenting of sin and consecrating themselves to God. Let us utilize this period as a time to do the same for our soul-preservation.