Scripture: “So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious…
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 he appointed; and of this he was given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Excerpted from Acts 17:22-31
Observation: This is oratory that should not be overlooked or glossed over, because what is being said is the Gospel.
If it was ever wondered how the Gospel is preached to the face in the mirror, this is a very good place to start.
Analysis: I have seen false piety paraded; shucks, I have been the drum major of that parade before.
“I perceive that in every way you are very religious…” Somehow that smacks of a dig, a sarcastic remark, a snicker off to the side.
I can say that because I am saying it of myself. There is an insinuation of being a Teflon Christian and not authentic in this statement by Paul.
What makes an “authentic Christian?” A very good measure is: Am I the same guy in private and the secret places that I am in public? Scripture indicates that God knows the difference and, if I ask for transparency, He will be glad to answer so that I know the difference as well. See James 1:5 for confirmation.
There is one more aspect of this discourse that I wanted to point out. As Paul relates the Gospel, he also assures that the implication of the Gospel is highlighted.
Why a call to repent? Not to be good or moral or anything like that. It is because God has set a date where judgement will occur; not an evaluation, but a judgement that has condemnation-type consequences. What else? God gave this operation to his Son to execute. And how did God put his stamp of approval on Jesus? By raising him from the dead.
This section of scripture is worth a good shaking down of study to continue study of the Gospel. After all, it is because of the Gospel in all of its widespread and all-encompassing glory that I can stand.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, it is remarkable that the Gospel can be found in almost every section of Scripture. It isn’t just your conversation with Nicodemus, but from Gen 1 through the end of Revelation. What an awesome thought. AMEN