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.” Why?
Within every human being persists a desire to worship something. But without knowing what to worship, we may worship the wrong object, construct an object to worship, or, like the Athenians, even worship someone we don’t know.
One day Paul, a man who knew God very well, came to Athens. He spoke the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people to help them know God. What Paul spoke in Athens two thousand years ago is just as relevant to all of us today.
Paul first told them that the true 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 who created all things doesn’t dwell in a temple made with human hands. And He’s not a God that’s according to the thought or imagination of human beings. We have to know that as the One who gives life and breath to all things, God is the source of life. As the Creator of every nation dwelling on the face of the earth, God is the source of all mankind.
Paul also told them God has set a day to judge the entire world by a man designated by Him, Jesus Christ. Who is Jesus? Jesus is the very God who became a man, a God-man, to live on this earth. As a sinless man, Jesus died on the cross to take away the sin of the world. But He didn’t remain in death—He resurrected from the dead, and one day He will return to this earth.
Paul told them God had overlooked the times of ignorance in the past, but now He charges all men everywhere to repent. To repent is to turn. We must turn from our not knowing or acknowledging the true God and turn to the real and living God, who is the Creator, the source of all life, and the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ in resurrection is now the life-giving Spirit. Like air, He is omnipresent, ever close to us. If we turn to Him, believe in Him, and call upon Him, He will forgive us of our sins and come to live in us.
God wants you to know Him. 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 Savior! Thank You for coming to be known by me. Thank You for dying for my sins. I believe in You as the One who was raised from the dead. Forgive me and come live in me. I receive You into me right now. Amen.”
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