Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

All Men (and women) Everywhere!


Acts 17:30 “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.


Limiting the Gospel

I have noticed over the years that there is always a tendency on the part of different groups of people to limit the Gospel.  Some limit it to ethnic groups.  Some limit it to a select group of the elect that God has predetermined will be saved.  Whatever the limitations are, I notice that the people that preach the limitations include themselves in the select group that they believe God has called to be saved.  The people that I talk to who limit the Gospel take pride in the fact that they are a select people that God has chosen to be saved.


There is no Limitation in this Command

This verse settles all of that for me.  I always let the simple scriptures explain the difficult ones and this scripture seems fairly straight forward to me.  God commands ALL MEN EVERY WHERE to repent.  Now we know that true repentance is the change of mind that brings us to faith in Christ.  One who hasn’t repented still has problems with what God has revealed in the Scriptures that are keeping that person from believing.  Once we quit arguing with God, we are able to accept the truth of God.  Repentance produces works just as faith produces works.  Works do not produce repentance.  So when Paul says that God commands all men everywhere to repent, he is saying that all men everywhere need to change their minds so that they can come to faith.  No one is saved apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Obviously, the Jews need for repentance involved different issues than the Greeks need for repentance in Athens. Athens is where Paul was preaching that God commands ALL MEN EVERYWHERE to repent.


Can all men everywhere repent?  God would not and does not command us to do that which we cannot do.  Some might argue that we cannot move mountains but that command is a conditional promise.  If we have faith as a mustard seed, we could remove mountains.  I apparently don’t have that much faith.  Paul refers to the faith required to move mountains in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.  In that passage he lists all faith along with other improbable exaggerations.  So I think I can say, that properly understood, the commands that the Lord gives us are commands that we can and should carry out.  Man is weak and fails with regard to the moral commands of God, but this command is given to overcome that weakness.  This command must be obeyed to be right with God.


We need to Lose our Pride

We need to lose our pride after we are saved and recognize that we are just sinners saved by grace.  I know that sinners become saints upon believing in Christ.  But saints are still just sinners saved by grace.  We have nothing of which to be proud.  In preaching the Gospel, we preach that we too were caught in the quagmire of sin.  We too had been deceived by Satan.  But by God’s grace we heard the Gospel and dealt with our problems of unbelief and trusted Christ.  Yes we who are “in Christ” or “in Him (Ephesians 1:4)” are now God’s elect people.  In the Old Testament those who were “born right” were his elect people.  In the New Testament those who are ”born right” or “born again” are his elect people.  In the Old Testament, his elect was a physical people.  In the New Testament, his elect is a spiritual people that has obeyed the command to repent.


I have had people tell me that repentance is just a message to the Jews.  This verse puts that argument to rest.  I have had people tell me that only select people out of every tongue, and nation and tribe are chosen to be saved.  This verse puts that argument to rest.  Ultimately, no one is excluded from the promise that those who trust or believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved.  After all, in John 3:17 the Lord says, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”  Of course the whole world is not saved, but God’s purpose in sending His Son was to make it possible for the WHOLE WORLD to be saved. 


Personal Responsibility

Those who miss out on God’s salvation will have only themselves to blame.  Limiting the Gospel to certain groups of people would allow the unsaved to blame God for their unbelief.  The Serpent questioned the certainty of the Word of God in the garden and he is still doing that today.  We who have repented and believed should certainly not be used in limiting the Gospel in any way.  We should not be doing Satan’s work of questioning clear simple promises of Scripture.  When I preach the Gospel, I know that God is ready and willing to save any in my audience who are willing to come to Him by faith.  God loved the world–the whole world without limitation.  For that I am truly thankful.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of March 1,  2015

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