There is a theologically rich passage in Acts 17 that lays out several important truths that affect every person who has ever existed or will exist. The Apostle Paul, while engaged in his itinerant ministry of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, entered a town in Greece where there was a group of philosophers who apparently spent their time in deep thought. about things in life. Paul entered into this intellectual atmosphere and began to present to them some profound theological truths that they and all others needed to hear. It is one of the clearest insights into the theology of God and salvation in the Bible.
“22 Then Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. 23 For while I was passing by and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription: “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD”. Therefore what you worship through ignorance, I proclaim to you.
Each of us has within us the knowledge that there is something more. Ecclesiastes tells us that God has put eternity in our hearts (Eccles. 3:11). It means that each of us has a conscience that tells us that there is a universal standard that we don’t live up to. We each have a longing in our hearts for something that only God can provide. The Greeks Paul was talking to were interested in spiritual and religious things; they just hadn’t been introduced to the true God. Paul began to tell them about the God they did not know.
“24 The God who made the world and everything in it, since he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands”;
These Greeks believed, as did the Jewish community, that God exclusively inhabited certain sites, buildings and/or areas. They thought that if you wanted to find God, you had to be in a certain place…or IN a certain place. Paul’s comment was intended to dispel this conception. Paul is saying that God is able to inhabit the universe and is not confined to a specific location, such as a temple.
“25 neither is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, since he himself gives to all life, breath and all things”;
This verse emphasizes that an omnipotent Creator does not need help from anyone or anything. He is outside of time and space; It is unaffected by the limitations we might imagine. Isaiah 42:5 “Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and extended them, who extended the earth and its descendants, who gives breath to its inhabitants and spirit to those who walk in it” (Isaiah 42:5).
“26 And out of one man he made all the nations of mankind to dwell upon all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the limits of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, if perhaps they could grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; »
This verse contains several ideas. First, it tells us that God created all mankind from one man. This is one more verification that the Genesis account of creation is true and accurate. It doesn’t say that mankind evolved from an ape or some such scenario. Second, this verse tells us that God determined when and where each of us would live. I believe this is another example of God’s great love for humanity. He has orchestrated each of our lives so that we are, at some point in our lives, faced with the choice each of us must make about whether or not to be worshipers of God. In other words, God has left nothing to chance as he pursues us with his undying love and grace. If any of us end up spending eternity separated from Him, we will only have to blame ourselves…God has given us every opportunity.
This passage tells us that God created the universe and, more specifically, each of us. We were created with one overriding purpose; that goal is “to love the Lord with all [our] heart, soul, spirit, body and strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12, 11:13, 13:3, 30:6; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). It is only when we live this way that we fulfill the purpose for which we were created. God gave us a choice; we can worship Him and receive eternal life (defined as a life lived for the glory of God more than just a description of the length of his life) or we can reject His lordship and be condemned to an eternity of misery, separated from him.
He did everything necessary to make eternal life possible for each of us; but He left it up to us to choose whether or not to participate in this life. What are you going to choose?
NOTE: All scriptures are from the New American Standard Bible
Article by Robert Driskell