Divinely Furnished Proof
Topic: Resurrection Verse: Acts 17:30–17:31
“DIVINELY FURNISHED PROOF”
Theme: God has proven His approval of the sacrifice of His Son through the resurrection.
I. THE PATIENCE OF GOD TOWARD SINNERS – v. 30a
A. GOD’S PATIENCE IS SEEN IN HIS RIGHT TO JUDGE
- The Apostle Paul stood before a crowd of people on Mars Hill to proclaim the glorious accomplishment of Jesus to people who had never heard of Him.
- In this account, we can hear as if for the first time the basics of exactly what it is that Jesus accomplished.
- Paul appeals to them to recognize that in the plethora of God’s that they serve, they themselves acknowledge that there is one that they do not know – cp. v. 23.
- He declares that this God had created them and everything else and is Lord of Heaven and earth – holding men accountable before Him to acknowledge His glory and how we owe our very existence to Him – cp. v. 28.
- He recounts how that man had strayed far from God – even diverting their worship from Him to other gods – of their own invention and satisfaction – cp. v. 29
- Paul then shares how God has shown tremendous patience toward sinners who have failed to honor Him – “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance …”
- God has permitted men to do as they pleased – cp. Acts 14:16
- He has shown great patience and forbearance in not immediately judging sinners at the instant of their sin – cp. Romans 3:25
- The “times of ignorance” refers to the state of worshipping other gods – cp. 23.
B. GOD’S PATIENCE IS SEEN IN HIS RESTRAINT FROM JUDGMENT
- The idea of God “overlooked” [ὑπεριδὼν - Aor. Act. Part. – “to disregard”] executing His wrath against sinners is a tribute to the fact that God is not eager to condemn sinners – cp. Ezekiel 18:23.
- As we noted already, God patiently allowed people to go their own way.
- Thus, God would have been just in destroying sinners who failed to honor Him, but He withheld His wrath in order to provide opportunity for a sinner to repent – cp. Psalm 78:38; 2 Peter 3:3-4, 9.
- Such forbearance ought not to be interpreted by sinners as God’s indifference – the justice of God prohibits such an approach by God, but that doesn’t mean that He cannot be patient.
II. THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF GOD’S STANDARDS – vv. 30b-31a
A. THE STIPULATION OF REPENTANCE
- God’s patience was never intended to continue forever in the “overlooking” of man’s rebellion against Him.
- The Scriptures declare that the reason that He was patient is because He knew that reckoning was ultimately appointed – “… because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world …”
- As the opportunity remained for sinners to repent, God now makes it clear that all men remain accountable to Him.
- God now demands that men turn from their sin and repent – “… God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent.” – cp. Romans 2:4
- The call to repent is essential to the proclamation of the Gospel – it is not enough to tell people that God wants them to have a better life going forward; such is impossible until the sin scarred life of their past is dealt with through repentance – cp. Luke 24:47; Acts 26:20.
B. THE STANDARD OF REVIEW
- The consequence of willfully continue in this ignorance after being called to repentance is doom – “because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness.”
- The standard of “righteousness” that He will use will not be arbitrary, nor will it be popular … it will be qualified by the standard set by the Son of God – “…through a Man whom He has appointed”
- Nothing less that the standard of the perfection found in Jesus Christ will be acceptable – cp. Ephesians 1:6; 1 Peter 2:21-24.
- This righteousness is available to all who receive the call to believe and repent – the righteousness of Christ is granted to them through God’s grace as He justifies us by means of the blood of Christ – 2 Corinthians 5:21.
III. THE PROOF OF GOD’S SATISFACTION – v. 31b
A. THE RESURRECTION ASSURES THE RIGHTEOUS OF BLESSING
- These truths are not mere “positive thinking,” “mental manipulations,” “wishful assertions,” or “states of denial” providing “coping mechanisms” for the powerful guilt of soul plaguing sinners.
- If the death of Christ had not fully satisfied the justice of God regarding our sin, then His death would have been the end of it.
- However, the hostility of God toward our sin was fully satisfied and removed by the offering of the bloody, violent death of Jesus Christ – cp. Romans 5:9.
- The proof of God’s embrace of what Jesus accomplished when He suffered for our sin is provided through the resurrection – “… having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
- “proof” [πίστις] – a pledge or oath was provided by God that the work of Christ completely satisfied Him regarding our sin – that “proof” was given by “raising Him from the dead.”
- The resurrection is the proof that the standard of righteousness that satisfied the Father is the perfection and righteousness found solely in the living Lord and Christ – Jesus – cp. Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 2:36; Romans 1:4.
B. THE RESURRECTION ASSURES THE UNRIGHTEOUS OF BLAME
- When this is embraced by faith, a sinner is cleansed from sin and forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ.
- However, when a sinner rejects this grace (and as long as he or she does so) he is under the condemnation that Christ died to relieve – cp. John 3:17-18, 36; John 5:24
- God “will judge the world” on that appointed day and the opportunity will be over – and the resurrection of Jesus Christ assures us of both the blessing for those who believe and blame for those who spurn the Risen Son of God.