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When God Winked

When God Winked
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent – Acts 17:30 (KJV)

Yes, I know that the above quote is the old King James Version and that more modern translations says something like God “overlooked” rather than “winked at.” “Winked” was used because it is like we might say, He “turned a blind eye”. So, why would God ever do that, and does He do it today?

In Acts 17, Paul is in Athens and “…his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols” (Ac 17:16). He reasoned with the Athenians that since we are God’s offspring (His creation), we shouldn’t think of God in terms of gold, silver, or stone (Ac 17:29). They had a totally wrong concept of God and His nature, but hadn’t been immediately judged by Him because it was time of ignorance.

Time of Ignorance

Ignorance isn’t bliss – staying ignorant doesn’t somehow protect us from the consequences and judgment of sin. However, God’s full plan of redemption was “kept secret since the world began” but revealed by the gospel (Ro 17:25). Colossians say this mystery had been hidden for ages, “but now is made manifest to the saints” (Co 1:26). The full completion and revelation of God’s plan of salvation through Christ hadn’t been accomplished therefore God was patient; He didn’t immediately judge all sin, reserving judgment for His Son when His will was completed.


After saying, “Truly these time of ignorance God overlooked,” Paul continued: “…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” (Ac 17:30-31).

The gospel gives what we need for faith and repentance. The times of ignorance are over. We cannot find assurance in our sins by thinking that God will somehow overlook sin or that He is waiting to judge sin until His will is completed or revealed in the future. Everyone is commanded to repent NOW.

Notice that we know that judgment is certain – that God has appointed a day of judgment and He assured us of this by raising Jesus from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus is how we Know He will surely judge the world. Rather than looking for excuses for sin, everyone simply needs to repent of sin and turn to righteousness. If we are righteous in Christ, we won’t fear the day when He will judge the world in righteousness!  dd