We sometimes talk about, or hear people say how back in the day we used to do this, do that, be this way or that way. "Do you remember the time" when we did such and such? Didn't Michael Jackson sing about that in one of his songs? You know what I'm talkin' about! I certainly can remember the times – and I shudder to think about them now – how things could have turned out terribly wrong. In some cases, I probably could have died, but thank God He protected me and brought me through.
For instance, I remember years ago being at a nightclub arguing with some braggadocios pimp talking about his money, cars, diamonds and women. I was arguing that those things don't necessarily make him a man. I guess I riled the guy because someone grabbed me and said, "man that guy will shoot you, let's go!" I was in bad company, and the Bible says in Proverbs 14:7, "Escape quickly from the company of fools; they're a waste of your time, a waste of your words." I was the fool for even engaging in the argument, but God winked at my sin, because His grace covered my ignorance. I just didn't know! How do you know to stop where there is no stop sign; no right instruction? Thank God, He didn't strike us all dead in our ignorance.
We shudder now to think where we might have ended up had we not come into the knowledge of the truth; of God's word that teaches us about freewill and the call to choose the joy of life in Christ rather than death in the temporal, carnal pleasures of the world. Once we come into the knowledge of the truth, it's hard to enjoy the pleasures of the world again in defiance and disobedience. It's like shaking a fist at God, and everyone should know, our arms are too short to box with God!
The Book of Acts reads in Chapter 17:30-31, "Therefore God overlooked ("winked at" as it reads in the King James Version) and disregarded the former ages of ignorance; but now He commands all people everywhere to repent [that is, to change their old way of thinking, to regret their past sins, and to seek God's purpose for their lives], because He has set a day when He will judge the inhabited world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed and destined for that task, and He has provided credible proof to everyone by raising Him from the dead."
That "Man" is Jesus who died a horrible death on the cross to be the propitiation for our sins, becoming the gateway, that we (mankind) may have a pathway to be reconciled to a sovereign and holy God, who is our Creator. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." When God winks, He's giving us grace to come to the cross. We can only come into the kingdom of God by belief and faith in what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
So, let us be grateful that God winks at our ignorance. However, when we come into the knowledge of truth; going back to our old ways is, as the Bible says, like a dog returning to its vomit. If we know what's right, and yet are hellbent on going our own way, God won't wink; he'll laugh – and then comes the judgement! The choice is ours: which will we choose today, life or death?
– Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of "Things Are Gettin' Outta Hand" and "Book To The Future" on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. E-mail: LBuford8101@hotmail.com.