Repent of Works and Turn to Grace, For He Overlooks
Your Times of Ignorance ~ Ray E Horton
The Holy Spirit brought a message to the Athenian philosophers through the Apostle Paul, and He is bringing the same message to the religious church of today:
“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30).
Having overlooked these times of ignorance, I now declare that all people everywhere should repent of their man-made ways of coming to Me
Even as the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers of Athens had idols of “gold or silver or stone,” images “formed by the art and thought of man” (vs. 29), so man today has idols of material gain and intellectual progress, and religion has come up with legalistic formulas “by the art and thought of man.”
And even as Paul preached the message of grace through faith in Jesus, that message is being reestablished in this day, and God now says to the religious of every denomination:
“Having overlooked these times of ignorance, I now declare that all people everywhere should repent of their man-made ways of coming to Me, and come on the basis of My Word, which is to trust in your redemption by My finished work on Calvary, My resurrection for your new life, and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than the weakness of your flesh.”
Paul, preaching to the Athenians on Mars Hill, pointed out that, as children of God, “we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like” the idols of our culture and philosophical thought.
From the time of Christ, people, even believers, have remained worldly in their affections and trusted in vain rules, laws, and their human performance to somehow get in God’s good graces.
If you have been religiously trying to please God by attempting to follow all the rules, not depending on His grace, the Lord is speaking to you now. He has overlooked your ignorance – you did not know or understand – and He is calling you to repent, change your mind, turn around and follow the Gospel way of trust in Him alone, and not your good works, for your salvation and journey in this world.
We can trust in Him alone for this life and the life to come, “for His divine power has given to us everything we need for life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).
We have His righteousness
God was speaking through Peter to “those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (vs. 1). And that applies to us today as well. And not only have we received a “precious faith” through His righteousness, but we also have in fact received that very righteousness ourselves if we are Born Again. As the Holy Spirit wrote through Paul in 2 Cor. 5:21:
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
In godly wisdom, Paul wrote to the Athenians: “I found an altar with this inscription, ‘To An Unknown God.’ Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.”
Likewise, if you have been worshiping and living for the things of this world, your own good ideas, or a religious ritual or unknown god, the Lord knows it has been in ignorance, and we proclaim to you now that you can know Him and live a fulfilling life in His grace by stepping out in the faith He supplies and putting your trust in Jesus Christ alone. We are near the end of the age, and now is the time to awake and arise out of complacency and to become alive in Him.