I was really impressed with Acts 17:26-28 today. This passage describes Paul’s message to the people in Athens who had an alter that said, “to the unknown god.” In a couple of ways this alter is admirable. First, the people realized that there was a god, and second, they also realized they did not know who God was.
To this group Paul declares, “He (God) made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘in him we live and move and have our being.’”
The audience should be aware that God is the one who has created everyone from Adam. He is the one who has allowed them to experience the benefits of the Roman Empire, the boundries of their influence and their very existence.In fact God is very near to everyone.
How is God near? In verses 30-31, Paul says, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
Paul masterfully described their situation. They had been groping in the dark trying to find God in creation. God is near to everyone because the way to have a relationship with him has been made clear. It took special revelation from God for us to know him. Since Jesus died for our sin and communicated the way of salvation, the time for claiming ignorance is gone. Everyone needs to embrace Jesus as their Savior and God for the forgiveness of sins and for life, then a relationship will begin with the knowable God.
Father, what a great reminder of your nearness to me, but also your knowability. You are not the unknown God anymore! The way to know you is clear. Those who embrace Jesus as Savior and God have the privilege of a relationship with you!
Following Jesus with you,