Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
God Makes Himself Known
“I am spiritual, but I’m not religious.” When someone says those words, the meaning is something like this: “I believe in a god, a higher power. I believe that morality is good, and goodness is noble. I believe that I should treat others the way I want to be treated. However, I don’t believe any one religious group has sole claim to the truth. I don’t think that anyone can really claim to know god fully…if at all.” Such people are sometimes labeled “agnostics”. They believe there is a god out there somewhere, but he and his ways remain elusively hidden…unknown. They may be indifferent about it. They may be casually or frantically looking, searching, grasping for this god. But in their minds, he can only be called the unknown god.
When the apostle Paul walked in the ancient city of Athens 2,000 years ago, he met a group of people who had similar thoughts. They “knew” a whole bunch of gods that they worshiped just like their ancestors had. But they didn’t want to offend any of the gods by inadvertently missing one of them. So they built an altar for an unknown god. Paul saw this altar and saw an opportunity. Paul knew what was missing. He knew that the gods the Greeks worshiped were only the imaginations of someone’s mind. And he knew the God who was unknown to them. He knew the only true God of the Bible.
Even though God remains very much hidden to our senses of sight and hearing and touch, God is real, and he wants to be known. He leaves his fingerprints on the created world in a way that causes us to say, “There must be someone behind this, but who is he?” Our hearts tick in such a way that we understand the basic concepts of good and evil, justice and accountability. At times we might think, “What does God think of me and the way I live?” When death knocks at our door, we wonder what’s on the other side. “Is it God? If so, how will that go for me?” We ask.
God gives us answers in the Bible. Paul shared them with his audience. (Read Acts 17:22-31.) God created all things, including us. We have not lived as his children—we’ve done wrong, we’ve sinned. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior from sin. Jesus died on the cross in our place. He rose from the dead, showing that he finished his work and the Father accepted it. God calls us to turn to Jesus in faith and live in confidence that our sins are forgiven, we are his dearly loved children and heaven is our home after death. God wants to be known to you. Turn to him and live!
Lord God, help us to know you by your written word, the Bible. Help us to see you as our loving Father and gracious Savior in whom we have physical, spiritual and eternal life. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.