After his panoramic sermon in vv.13-39 Paul now offers his listeners a warning:
“Watch out, then, that what is spoken about by the prophets does not happen to you:
‘Look, you scoffers; be amazed and perish!
For I am doing a work in your days,
a work you would never believe, even if someone tells you.’”
(Acts 13.40-41, NET)
He quotes from Habakkuk 1.5 to say that, simply, if God judged Jerusalem in the past then His people now will certainly not be held to any different standard now. If people were judged for rejecting the preview and foreshadow then how much more for the substance and Saviour Himself?
Maybe this doesn’t sit well with you: God is a God of love so why is there still talk of judgement?
Yes, God is a God of great love and great grace but He is also a God of great righteousness and justice. The sin in our lives must be accounted for, must be judged and dealt with. But, because He is a God of great love and great grace, that judgement and that payment can either be made at the cross of Christ or in ourselves.
It might seem strange to finish a Gospel focused sermon with a warning and a choice but the Gospel itself does the same. The Good News is so good because the alternative is so, so bad. The sin in our lives, the times we have missed the mark God sets for us as His creation, must be accounted for. You can, by the grace through faith, have it paid for at the cross of Christ or you can go your own way and as Paul writes, be astounded and perish!
The Good News is so good because the alternative is so bad.