Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19
Acts records NT believers sharing the good news with Jews and non-Jews alike. The lengthy message in Acts 2:14-3:26 is the perfect opportunity for Peter to tell the unbelieving men of Israel that if they don’t shape up and accept the message, they’re going straight to hell. Yet Peter fails to seize such an opportunity. “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus…whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:19-20).
Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, also blows his opportunity in Acts 17:30-31 when he delivers a gracious and inclusive message to the learned men of Athens, who were idol-worshiping, pagan Greeks: “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to all people that everyone everywhere should repent (Greek: obtain a new outlook), because He has fixed a day in which He is about to be judging the inhabited world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, furnishing belief to all by raising him from the dead”.
As we will continue to reveal, God’s judgments do not inherently indicate an everlasting hell sentence. Isaiah 26:9, to which Paul likely referred here, explains their purpose: “When the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.”
From Raising Hell by Julie Ferwerda
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