The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
Acts 17:30 – Scripture of the Day (February 19, 2014)
This verse answers the question sometimes asked, “Will God still judge the people in some third world country or in the deepest darkest jungles of Africa who have never even heard of Jesus?” God overlooked ignorance of his existence and his will in the past…that past specifically being in the time before Paul said this two thousand years ago…but from the days of Jesus and Paul going all the way up to today and until Christ comes again God commands “all people everywhere to repent.”
This shows the great need for evangelism (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). Why did Jesus tell us to go to the entire world with the good news? Because he wants all people everywhere to repent of their sins and turn their lives over to him. If that was not the case, then why did he give these commands? Not only that, but why bother to share the gospel with your next door neighbor, much less make the attempt to reach someone on the other side of the planet? The truth is that God shows no partiality. If he requires you and me to repent of our sins, believe in his Son, and be immersed in water for forgiveness of sins – and he does (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-39) – then he requires the same of every soul on this planet.
He wants us all to repent, the literal meaning of the word being “to change our minds.” He wants us to change our minds about our sin. If we do that, if we stop glorying in our sin but instead feel the godly sorrow he feels over our sin (2 Cor. 7:9-11), then we will turn away from our sin and start living for him. That in turn will lead to our salvation.