17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead. Acts 17:30-&31 (Emphasis supplied).
When Paul made this profound statement he was speaking to the people in Athens who were totally ignorant of the true God of creation and his purpose for their lives (see Acts 17:16-29). However, this statement applies to every person, nation, kindred, tongue or people that learn a truth that they had not previously known before or is given a deeper understanding of a truth that they have previously known. In either case, God did not count the sin they were committing against them because they were living up to all the truth that they God had given them the ability to know or understand. But now God was revealing more truth and convicting them of the sin they had been committing as a result of their ignorance and He commands them to repent: God commanded them to repent because now they know better and that sin will be held against them on the day God has appointed the world to be judged by Jesus.
Again I say, this is what God expects of every person every time He sends new truth or new light through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. However, in order to understand the exact nature of the repentance that God expects we must look at what we are told in John 3:16 – 21 which reads as follows:
3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (Emphasis supplied).
This portion of scripture is known and quoted by every professed Christian in the world. It is so popular because it powerfully expresses the essence of the gospel: JESUS SAVES. However, even though most people quote it the plain fact of the matter is that most people do not fully understand the depth of what it is saying because if they did they would keep the 4th commandment in accordance with the 1st and 2nd angel’s messages. Before you stop reading give me time to explain why I say this.
John 3:16-21 tells us that we are lost for one reason and one reason only and that reason is: The lack of faith in Jesus. In Hebrews 11:6 we are told:
But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Emphasis supplied).
This tells us that those who live by faith will only do one thing and that is diligently seek God because they believe He is and He will reward them with whatever they need whenever they need it. Therefore, those who walk by faith will embrace the truths revealed in the 1st and 2nd angel’s messages and repent of their sin of trying to serve both God and mammon: A sin that God had not held against them because they had been made drunk by the wine of Babylon and erroneously believed that the 4th commandment allowed or even commanded them to work 6 days for mammon and rest 1 day to worship God.
But God so loved the world that He sent the last installment of the everlasting gospel in the 3 angel’s messages of Revelation 14:1-12 to prepare His people for the final judgment that is announced by the following angel’s in Revelation 14:13-20 and spoken of in Acts 17:31. Those who reject this light will be condemned, not because they don’t keep a day holy but because they do not believe in Jesus’ ability to supply whatever they need whenever they need it both spiritually (their righteousness) and physically (their needs and desires).
Those who reject the light given by the 1st and 2nd angel’s message that commands us to stop doing our work and walk in God’s holiness 24/7 through daily surrender to Jesus will reject that light because they love the lie that leads to ungodly living and that lie is: Gain is godliness (please read I Timothy 6:3-11): They love that lie because it allows them think that they are serving God when in truth they are serving mammon.
This is exactly why we are told in John 3:19-21:
3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (Emphasis supplied).
So in summary, God is using the Present Truth gospel for this final generation to lead His people back into the rest Adam and Eve enjoyed before they listened to the lies of Satan and tried to be God rather than to continue to surrender to God: A rest that comes as a result of trusting and depending on God’s promises to supply all of our needs and true desires more than trusting and depending on our works to supply all of our needs and desires: A rest that comes as a result of no longer living by the lie that we can serve both God and mammon but a rest that comes as a result of believing the truth as taught in the 4th commandment and leads to worshiping God only 24/7. God is allowing this generation time enough for all to hear the 3 angel’s messages so we will be able to stand true to Him when He allows the winds of trouble to be fully unleashed on those who refuse to heed them and receive the mark of the beast (see Revelation 6:12 thru Revelation 7:1-3 & Revelation 14:1-20).
Remember, God winks at our ignorance but once He sends us more truth or light God commands us to embrace that light so Jesus can work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Next week I am going to revisit the 1st angel’s message to show how God will use the 4th commandment to change our character from the number of the beast (#6) to the number of God (#7). Until then I leave you with this portion of scripture to ponder and pray over:
13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six. Revelation 13:16-18 (Emphasis supplied).