Delayed judgment is not acceptance
Luke wrote a historical narrative about the birth if the church and the new ministry of the Holy Spirit for Theophilus. Paul finally got to visit Athens, which was the intellectual capital of the empire. Here he debated with various Greek philosophers and confronted them with their ignorance when he saw the blank pedestal dedicated to an unknown God. They wanted to cover their bases. Paul noted that they worship what they neither knew not understood. Paul then told them that God has tolerated their idolatry and has not dealt with them as he should (v. 30). But his tolerance should not be viewed as acceptance. One day they will be judged for their refusing to acknowledge God (v. 31).
God is patient, kind, loving, and longsuffering. He is gracious, merciful and slow to anger. But this should not be seen as acceptance of our sinful behavior. He has given all people enough revelation of Himself for humanity to be culpable for their sins and rebellion. However, this revelation is not enough for salvation. Unless a person acknowledges the revelation of Jesus as God's plan of salvation, he/she will be judged most severely. They already stand condemned as did we before we acknowledged the work of Jesus.
Our own sinful behavior is in opposition to God's Spirit. He will not tolerate our sinful behavior forever either. We have to pay attention to what the Spirit has been correcting us. Otherwise, God will deal with our sin, particularly if He has given us influence. We cannot take advantage of His grace.
John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts, The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 287.
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