Posted by: SandreS | January 31, 2010

The Nearness of God – The Message of Mars’ Hill (Acts 17), Part 5

[God] has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He is not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, “For we are also His offspring (Acts 17:26-28).

In our last segment we learned that God does not dwell in temples. The reason that there is no need for man-made temples (or other places of worship) is because God is already near to all of us.

Now we will notice four significant points that Paul makes.

Kinship of Man

He … has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.

Paul taught that all men are of the same family – “of one blood.” The truth of this would do away with social and racial division and hostility in the heart of the believer.

Feeling After God

If haply they might feel after Him.

Some of our brands of Christianity could not appreciate these words of Paul. Men were designed and placed by God in a way that they “might feel after Him.”

Christianity-in-a-Box is often quick to discount the work of God in the lives of those outside of its own group-norm. God’s drawing of mankind is a lifelong – and even beyond that (in resurrection) – work. We must not be too quick to pass judgment on those, who in ignorance, nevertheless, “might feel after Him.”

Not Far from Everyone

Though He is not far from every one of us.

We would not have been surprised if we had read this spoken to the righteous, godly Ephesians; but this was not spoken to them. We don’t find this message recorded in the letter to the Ephesians, or to any other group of saints for that matter. No, this was spoken to lost, pagan Athenians!

We like to think of God as being very “near” to us (and our group), but so very “far” from them (and their group); but the fact is that Paul told the pagans of Athens that God was “not far from every one of us.”

Paul’s message was that God is near to “every one,” but that is not all. Paul did not say, “every one of you;” He said, “every one of us.” Paul placed himself – along with the Athenians – in the single, worldwide class “us” of mankind.

God is close to all of “us.” This is because,

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself (II Corinthians 5:19).

The truth of this would do away with the “us” and “them” division and hostility in the heart of the believer.

We Live in Him

In Him we live, and move, and have our being.

Again, we would not have been surprised to have read this spoken to the Ephesians, but this too was spoken to unbelievers. One can hardly believe it, and we would not, if it were not from the very mouth of Paul, our apostle.

The simple fact is that all men are already in the presence of God; we live there! It is not some place that we “go”: it is some place that we simply “are.” He is where we – all of us – live and move and have our being.

What a wonderful thing it is to “live” in the Father. What an amazing thing it is to “move” in Him. What an astonishing thing it is to “have our being” in Him.

Each and every one of us has the privilege to live in the reality of this union with our Father – as each new day begins and unfolds. It is believers who live in the understanding of this glorious truth. What a blessed thing to be aware of our union with Him – enjoying constant communion with Him – heart to heart. This union is already fully ours, secured and maintained by His very Own nature.

What an impact upon our lives this is as we embrace it in simple faith.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2009, 2010

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