| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 30 - Page 36 of 179 Index | Zoom | |
"Jews" are coupled with or contrasted with "Greeks" in no less than twenty-one
passages of the Acts and Epistles, and while the Jew and the Gentile do occur together, it
is with nothing like the same frequency, and cannot compare with the reiterated "Jew and
Greek" of Paul's epistles. To attempt an explanation of this peculiarity is beyond our
present scope. That it is of purpose we most surely believe, and the series of articles that
have appeared in these pages dealing with Greek wisdom will give direction to the
enquiring mind. In the Jew, God manifested the bankruptcy of human righteousness; in
the Greek the utter failure of human wisdom. To both Paul preached and taught the same
"Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20: 21).
"Repentance" is metanoia, and means "a change of mind", or "an after mind".
Repentance presupposes that one has entertained false ideas, consequently we find
repentance urged upon Israel concerning their false ideas as to the King and Kingdom.
The Corinthians had entertained false ideas concerning the scope of their liberty in Christ,
and had to be shown that liberty was not license (I Cor. 8: 9, 10). The man caught in
the snare of the Devil was delivered upon repentance or, as it is expanded, by
acknowledgment of the truth (II Tim. 2: 25). Paul urged repentance upon philosophic
Athens (Acts 17: 30), no longer restricting this need to the people of Israel, and in
another summary of his earlier ministry he said:
"I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but showed first unto them of
Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea and then to the
Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance"
(Acts 26: 19, 20).
So the Thessalonians:
"Turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God" (I Thess. 1: 9).
Repentance, however, cannot be separated, except mentally, from the positive act of
faith. He who "turns from idols" without "turning to the living God" may be but "empty,
swept and garnished". Repentance and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ go together.
At this point we must bring our exposition to a close for it is too late in the article to
consider the implication of such words as "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ". The
interested believer, however, knows the prime importance of the words, and it is with
them that Paul brings the survey of his "Acts" ministry to an end. His next words denote
a change, "And now", but this too we leave for consideration in another article.