God’s Offspring

Acts 17:21-31

Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 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. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 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.”

I read this story and was intrigued by the twenty first verse that talks about the Athenians and foreigners who “would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new”.

I assume the writer is trying to convey to the reader that these were opened minded people and willing to listen to anything they hadn’t heard before.  This was fertile ground for Paul to spread his words.

Paul tries to enlighten them and what he says about God is how I felt for years.

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.

I believe Christ was sent by God to enlighten us.  Paul’s words are to continue that enlightenment.

What Christ says in Mark 2:27 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”, is what Paul is trying to convey to the Athenians.

You don’t seek God in a building filled with images and works of art.  You don’t find God in a set of rituals meant to help God or please God.

Paul is saying to the Athenians that over the past two or three thousand years man was to learn this.  At first the rituals, the laws of Moses were to instill the habits of good.  But now you are wise enough to realize that God isn’t like some benevolent king that you go to and pay homage.  God doesn’t need stroked or his ego fed.

Through Christ, God was letting us know what Paul says in verses twenty seven through thirty.

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’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent…

Paul is telling the Jews and gentiles that God isn’t about the building, the carvings, the robes or the pageantry.  That is how I feel about the churches of today.

They have become like the Pharisees in the time of Christ, reverting to the time of ignorance which breeds corruption.

Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’;

Paul confirms for me and strengthens my belief, God is not Sundays, churches, priests, deacons, and choirs.  There is nothing wrong with any of them, but it’s not God.

God is every day as we live and breathe and think.  God is to be sought by each individual because we are God’s offspring and like your brothers, sisters and children none of us are alike.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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