In the Pisidian Antioch synagogue, where Jews of the city met together, Paul and Barnabas preached Jesus and concluded with 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
Paul quoted Habakkuk 1.5 to emphasize the need for faith in the message. The original context referred to the rise of Babylon. It is an affirmation of judgment against unbelief.
Paul is referring to a written prophecy. He said literally, “in the prophets (see NASB, ESV). He meant by that, in the book of the prophets (see AMP).
Such a warning was made to people who ought to have welcomed the message. Paul wrote that “the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God” Rom 3.2. They studied the Scriptures, Jn 5.39. But they of all peoples rejected Jesus Christ. Their own ideas of who the promised Messiah should be kept them from welcoming the Son sent by God.
Many love their own opinions more than the revealed Son of God. They prefer their religion to the Way of Christ. Warnings like Paul’s are appropriate for such people and for all of us who profess to believe and follow the Bible.
The gospel calls us to believe. It also warns us against unbelief. Rejection of Christ brings judgment. The Bible has spoken of this truth since the beginning.
“There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous” Acts 24.15. Jesus “is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead” Acts 10.42. God “has set a day” when this judgment will occur, Acts 17.31. We do not know when this day will come, 1 Thes 5.2, so we must feel the urgency to obey the gospel now.
God wants to save everyone, 1 Tim 2.3-4; 2 Pet 3.9. Jesus wants to be the Savior of the world, Jn 1.29; Jn 4.42. He will save those who believe, 1 Tim 4.10. Will he be your Savior?