Acts 3:15-19 (NIV) 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.
17 “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
God is Not Overriding Free Will But…Using Choices to Open Blind Eyes..!
Do you see it?
Verse 17 says, “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.”
He is basically saying, “There is mercy and grace available for you…because your sins…your awful sins were from ignorance. You just…didn’t realize.”
He goes further; “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”
Do you see it? Those sins were terrible. They “killed the author of life”. Yet…Christ knew it was out of ignorance and He offered mercy, grace and love…redemption.
When we look at the one(s) who have hurt us the most or who are living out sins that seem to us like “the worst of the worst”…we consider them rebellion. No ignorance here. Purposeful rebellion. “He or she knows right from wrong!”
But do you see it? On some level, every one of us sins with a certain amount of ignorance, no matter how well we were taught the difference between right and wrong…the truth of sin. Yes, we (or our loved ones) make deliberate, rebellious choices. But mixed in there, is ignorance. We have blinded ourselves through our own wrong thinking and choices and…the enemy of our soul has given us the wrong picture…fed us the lie.
Out of that mix comes a level of ignorance. Ignorant choices. One that leads to another until it can become our way of life.
Many of these people who crucified Christ knew the Old Testament prophecies of His coming, His crucifixion and resurrection. Yet…they chose ignorance of one type or another. Either they wanted to hang on to their financial or social status, or they didn’t want to take the chance of persecution by family or society. Maybe they listened to friends and family rather than to the voice of God. Who knows? But there was ignorance.
Let’s face it, sin comes out of some measure of ignorance/blindness, self-imposed or not. Wise people who have truthfully thought through and faced the consequences of sin…are not going to choose to carry it through and ultimately allow it to become “a life”.
It is important that we remember, as Christ does, that within the rebellion, there is some blindness…some ignorance. If we don’t, we will be less likely to believe that God will open our loved-one’s eyes. In our hearts, we might condemn them as hopeless. After all, they are making intentional choices…why would they ever change? Our faith and hope grow dim…right along with our mercy. In our hearts, we are close to giving up.
But when we remember that there is some level of ignorance/blindness…we are absolutely going to have more mercy, more hope…more faith.
It will dawn on us…after all…
God is not overriding rebellious free will. He is…opening blind eyes!