Some people today prefer to remain ignorant of what matters most – that is, ignorant of the meaning of life, of its cause and destiny. They live for the day, the month, and at most the next year or two. Today we read about Paul’s challenge to the people of Athens when he explored their attitudes and way of life: the people worshipped many gods, all of them the result of human imagination.
He told them about the one true God who was “unknown” to them. Paul proclaimed, “the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he 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” (Acts 17:23-27).
Getting to know the one and only real God is a process; in the ultimate, it is a lifelong process. It is not to be compared with going to college or University to learn the things needed for a career. We must realize that being intellectually aware of God is only a foundation. “Knowing” God is an experience developed in the way we live our lives in serving Him.
Paul tells the Athenians, “for in him we live and move and have our being” (verse 28). We are “God’s offspring” (verse 29) as God’s word shows and as His Son taught, “from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’” (Mark 10:6).
So Paul challenged the people of Athens – and the gospel has challenged the world ever since! The people of Athens failed the challenge; no ecclesia was formed there. The world is failing the challenge today, including those parts that see themselves as ‘educated’ and knowing all the answers; these are “the times of ignorance” (verse 30) all over again. Paul told them “God overlooked this ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (verse 30). We need to be conscious that God “has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed” (verse 31). That “day” is getting very close. Are you ready for it? How well do you and I “know” God?