Second. That our text is of the nature and design of mercy’s friendly light and intelligence to the Gentiles, and nothing penal, is evident from its being placed in direct contrast to ‘the times of their ignorance which God winked at.’ For God’s winking at the times of the Gentiles’ ignorance does not mean that he was indifferent to their sins, uncleanness, and idolatry; but judicially passed by them in righteous but awful silence, according to Rom 1:21-25; adding, ‘For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections,’ verse 26. And as that was in righteous judgment only, even so, this commanding in our text is of grace and mercy only; and but for grace and mercy designs, no such commanding would ever have been, nor have been heard of in the Lord’s name to the Gentiles. And according to this, the apostle spoke to the Jews concerning the gospel commission to the Gentiles, saying, ‘Lo, we turn to the Gentiles; for so hath God commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth,’ Acts 13:47. And according to this character of the gospel commission, Christ is declared to be ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles.’ And the apostle, to shew his authority for this ministry to the Gentiles, and why it was now come to them more than in former times, says, that God now commandeth it.


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