Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 43) - Act 17:30; 1Th 2:16Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.
For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse. For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace 66. Act 17:30 A. "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:" (Act 17:30) B. Does this verse teach that God commands the entire human race (all men everywhere) to repent? i. Yes, it does. ii. But it doesn't say that God loves the entire human race or that He wants to save the entire human race; it just says that He commands them to repent. iii. Repentance is a work (Mat 12:41 c/w Jonah 3:10). iv. Eternal salvation is by grace alone, not works (2Ti 1:9; Tit 3:5; Rom 11:6) (See Section II,7,A on Eternal Salvation); therefore eternal salvation is not conditioned on repentance. v. God's election and predestination makes one a child of God and saves him eternally (Eph 1:4-5 c/w Rom 8:29-30). vi. Repentance turns a child of God toward God (Act 26:20), brings him into the church where he fellowships with God (Act 2:38,41-42 c/w 1Jo 1:3), and saves him from chastening by God (Luk 13:1-9). C. So why did God command all men everywhere to repent if God only saves His elect, and repentance doesn't effect one's eternal salvation? D. An examination of the context is necessary. E. Paul was preaching to Greeks in Athens who were idolaters (Act 17:16,22,29). F. For many centuries God had only dealt with, and given His law to, one nation, Israel, out of all the nations of the earth (Psa 147:19-20; Rom 3:1-2). i. God had winked at the idolatry and false religion of the heathen during that time (Act 17:30). ii. Wink - 1. a. intr. To close one's eyes. 6. a. to wink at. (a) To ‘shut one's eyes to’ (an offence, fault, defect, impropriety, or irregularity); to connive at. b) To disregard, overlook, pass unnoticed (a fact or occurrence). 1568 Bible (Bishops') Acts xvii. 30 And the tyme of this ignoraunce God wyncked at. iii. In that God cannot look on iniquity (Hab 1:13), He closed His eyes to Gentile idolatry until after the death of Christ. G. The gospel was to the Jew first and then to the Gentile (Rom 1:16). i. During the earthly ministry of Christ, the preaching of the gospel was restricted to the Jews (Mat 10:5-7). ii. After the resurrection of Christ the gospel was to be preached to all nations (Mat 28:19-20). iii. Shortly after the great commission was given, God opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles (Act 14:27). iv. When the door of faith was opened unto the Gentiles, the gospel went to all nations (Mat 28:19), to all the world, and to every creature (Mar 16:15). v. The gospel was no longer limited to one nation; it was now to go to all men everywhere (Act 17:30). vi. Prior to this, the gospel message to the Jews had been to repent (Mat 3:1-2). a. Now the message to the Gentiles was likewise to repent (Act 17:30). b. When the gospel of repentance was preached to the Jews, it went to all the Jews (Mat 3:1-6). c. It even went to the wicked Pharisees who were hell-bound children of the devil who could not repent, nor even hear it with understanding (Mat 3:7-8 c/w Mat 23:33 c/w Joh 8:43-47). d. The same is true of the Gentiles; the gospel is preached indiscriminately to all men everywhere that they should repent (Act 17:30), even though many of them have not the ability to understand it nor to do good (Rom 3:9-12 c/w 1Co 2:14). e. The gospel is preached in every place to them that are saved and to them that perish, and is a savor of life unto life in some, and in others it is a savor of death unto death (2Co 2:14-16). f. So it was in Athens: some received it and repented; some mocked (Act 17:32). 104. 1Th 2:16 A. "Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." (1Th 2:16) B. Does this verse teach that the Gentiles would get eternal life by Paul speaking to them? C. No, eternal salvation is by grace, not works such as preaching the gospel (2Ti 1:9; Tit 3:5). D. The Gentiles would be saved temporally from their ignorance, deception, fear of death, trying to establish their own righteousness, chastisement in this life from God for sin; and be saved to the knowledge and assurance of eternal life, fellowship with like-believers, rest, and joy (See Section II,7,B on Temporal Salvation). E. For further explanation of the salvation the Gentiles could obtain by Paul preaching the gospel to them, see: Act 11:14 - Section III; Act 26:18 - Section III; 1Co 9:22 - Section III. For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace