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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 17 - Verse 30

Verse 30. And the times of this ignorance. The long period when men were ignorant of the true God, and when they worshipped stocks and stones. Paul here refers to the times preceding the gospel.

God winked at. uperidwn. Overlooked, connived at; did not come forth to punish. In Ac 14:16, it is expressed thus: "Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways." The sense is, he passed over those times without punishing them, as if he did not see them. For wise purposes he suffered them to walk in ignorance, and to make the fair experiment to show what men would do; and how much necessity there was for a revelation to instruct them in the true knowledge of God. We are not to suppose that God regarded idolatry as innocent, or the crimes and vices to which idolatry led as of no importance; but their ignorance was a mitigating circumstance, and he suffered the nations to live without coming forth in direct judgment against them. Comp. See Barnes "Ac 3:17"; See Barnes "Ac 14:16".

 

But now commandeth. By the gospel, Lu 24:47.

All men. Not Jews only, who had been favoured with peculiar privileges, but all nations. The barrier was broken down, and the call to repentance was sent abroad into all the earth.

To repent. To exercise sorrow for their sins, and to forsake them. If God commands all men to repent, we may observe,

(1.) that it is their duty to do it. There is no higher obligation than to obey the command of God.

(2.) It can be done. God would not command an impossibility.

(3.) It is binding on all. The rich, the learned, the great, the gay, are as much bound as the beggar and the slave. There is no distinction made. It pertains to all people, in all lands.

(4.) It must be done, or the soul lost. It is not wise, and it is not safe, to neglect a plain law of God. It will not be well to die reflecting that we have all our life neglected and despised his plain commands.

(5.) We should send the gospel to the heathen. God calls on the nations to repent, and to be saved. It is the duty of Christians to make known to them the command, and to invite them to the blessings of pardon and heaven.

{e} "winked at" Ro 2:16 {f} "commandeth all men" Lu 24:47; Tit 2:11,12

{&} "winked at" "overlooked"

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