Sunday, May 23 2021
GOD IS NOT FAR FROM ANYONE
Scott J Shifferd
Because God is not far from anyone, no one has an excuse for not knowing God. Believers should not think that people are in a fair or neutral condition when they do not know God, because they are overlooking God who created everything and gave them life, breath, and everything. They do not know God because they do not seek God. The Bible explains this with sound reasoning.
"God is not far from each one of us" comes from the apostle Paul's speech in Athens at Mars Hill, the Areopagus (Acts 17:27). The apostle Paul spoke by reasoning from an inscription to the "unknown God" that the Athenians admitted not to know God by their worship of the unknown God (17:22–23). Paul taught the God whom they did not know. The apostle built on the truth that God who made everything does not need anything from man (17:24–25a). God gives life, breath, and everything to humanity (17:25b). God has made every nation and ethnicity having determined their times and boundaries to seek Him and find Him because God is not far from anyone (17:26–27). Everyone can find God because God is not far from anyone (17:27b).
God is not far from His offspring, humanity, whom He created (Acts 17:28). Furthermore, God does not conform to the imaginations of men (17:29). Therefore, God no longer overlooks ignorance of who He is and commands all people to repent (17:30). God will judge the world by righteousness that is by a man (17:31). God has given assurance of this by resurrecting that man from the dead (17:31).
The apostle Paul reasoned by the God who created everything. The apostle did not reason to God but by God. The apostle took the high ground on Mars Hill and transcended all other excuses and destroyed every stronghold raised against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:3–6). Paul did not start with evidence of God's existence because the evidence is found by those who sincerely seek and denied by those who do not seek. The God who created everything and gave humanity life, breath, and everything cannot be far from those made as His offspring in His likeness.
The Bible offers evidence of God for those seeking Him and not for those not seeking. God has made His attributes plain and clear for everyone to see (Romans 1:18–21; cf. Genesis 1:1). The evidence for God is apparent to those who will seek and accept what they find. The faithful see evidence of God everywhere (Psalm 16:11). God's existence is not the debate. God has given more than enough evidence but not so much to overcome one's choice to recognize and follow God.
Paul reasoned from God to Christ and His resurrection. The response to Paul's speech was mostly positive. Some mocked Paul's conclusion of Jesus's resurrection from the dead. Some wanted to hear more again. Some believed and joined Paul (Acts 17:32–34). Paul's reasoning was persuasive all over the world from nation to nation to whom he proclaimed God and the gospel of Christ. Christians would be foolish to overlook Paul’s reasoning and apply it today.
No adult can claim ignorance as an excuse for not knowing God. Paul's speech on Mars Hill gives wisdom on how to speak about God and Christ in a world denying God — an atheistic world, a pagan world, a new age world, a philosophical world. The wisdom of God from the apostle is to recognize that God is not far from anyone and to reason upon this essential truth. Christians always have an evangelism starter by talking about God, who gave everyone life, breath, and everything, so God is not far from anyone (Acts 17:27). For this, Paul instructed the faithful, "Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" (Colossians 4:5–6).
Come join us for Bible Club!
Every Wednesday night 7-8 PM, we have Bible lessons, crafts, games, and snacks for grades K-6.