God promises us times of refreshing in the gospel, but He always does it on His terms—never on ours. If the arrangement were to be made on our terms, it wouldn’t be gospel at all. Repent, He says. Be converted, He says, which means to be turned . . . away from self and toward Him.
The times of refreshing that are promised come from the presence of the Lord, and we cannot enjoy any of it if we are engaged in fleeing from the presence of the Lord. The Lord Himself is present with Himself, and the Lord Himself is our refreshment. There is no other way.
Our joy is God Himself. Our salvation is God Himself. Salvation is not a commodity that the Lord would have us purchase. Salvation is of the Lord, but it is also important to say that salvation is the Lord. Thus, it is not possible to be saved if you detest Him. To detest Him is to detest salvation.
In this sense, repentance and faith are the same time. If you turn away from the east, you are turning toward the west. The same motion can be described in two different ways. Repentance describes what we turn away from. Trust describes what we are turning toward.
Further, what we turn away from is personal, and what we turn toward is personal. We do not repent of impersonal sin substance, and we do not turn toward an impersonal righteousness substance. We repent of our very personal addiction to self, and we turn toward a very personal, our tri-personal, God.
The phrase that summons us to “personal relationship with Jesus” is hackneyed and clichéd, but never forget that this fact never made anything untrue. Truths never wear out because they have been repeated often.