Athens, around A.D. 50—leading city of ancient Greece and center of one of the greatest cultures the world has ever known. Yet in this city famous for learning and philosophy stood an altar bearing the inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.”
Within every human being persists a desire to worship something. But without knowing what we are to worship, we may worship the wrong object, construct an object to worship, or like the Athenians, simply conclude that we worship someone, even though we don’t know who it is we worship.
One day Paul, a man sent by God to speak the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, came to Athens. He spoke to the Athenians to tell them that God is a knowable God.
What Paul spoke in Athens two thousand years ago is just as relevant to us today. Paul said that God is the One who made the world and everything in it. As the Creator, He is also the Lord, the owner, of heaven and earth. This living God does not live in a temple made with human hands. Nor is He a being that is according to the thought or imagination of man. Instead, as the giver of life and breath to all things, God is the source of life. God is also the Creator of every nation dwelling on the face of the earth; thus, He is the source of all mankind.
Moreover, Paul said that God set a day when He will judge the entire world by a man designated by Him, Jesus Christ. This Jesus is the very God who came to be a man, a God-man. Jesus lived a sinless life. He then died on the cross to take away the sins of the world. But He did not remain in death—He was raised from the dead, and one day He will return to this earth.
Paul continued and said, “That they might seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, even though He is not far from each one of us.” God is the omnipresent Spirit, close to us. He is here even as you read this, and if you seek, you will find Him. Finally, Paul said that God, having overlooked the times of ignorance, charges all men everywhere to repent. To repent is to turn. We must turn from our not knowing or our not acknowledging the true God. As we turn to Him, we must believe in the One who was raised from the dead, Jesus Christ, and simply call upon Him. He will forgive us of our sins and come to live in us, and we will truly know Him.
God does not want to be the Unknown God to you. You can know Him right now by turning to Him and praying this simple prayer:
“Lord Jesus, You are the real God, my Creator and my Redeemer! Thank You for coming to be known by me. Thank You for dying for my sins. I believe into You as the One who was raised from the dead. I receive You into me right now.”