"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent."
- Acts 17:30
When the apostle Paul proclaimed the gospel to the men of Athens, he used a word that we rarely hear today: repent. He said, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30–31, emphasis added).
Notice that Paul didn't say, "I suggest you repent" or "I advise you to repent" or "I hope you repent." Paul was saying that God commands people everywhere to repent. And "repent" means to change your direction. Instead of running away from God, you run to God.
But why should we repent? Paul gives the answer in verse 31: "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world." A day of judgment is coming. There is coming a day in which God "will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained."
There was a time when the church was criticized for its hellfire-and-brimstone preaching. But when is the last time you have heard a hellfire-and-brimstone preacher? I would venture to say that it has been a long time.
In fact, there are some preachers who are questioning whether hell even exists, although Jesus spoke about it more than all of the other preachers in the Bible put together.
I have heard a lot of feel-good preachers. I have heard a lot of preachers who say that God wants me wealthy. I have heard a lot of preachers tell me a lot of crazy stuff.
But the Bible says there is indeed a future judgment. And there is no avoiding it.
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