““The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c] 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17.24-31
God is merciful. An unmerciful God would not send out messengers calling for repentance. An unmerciful God would allow the world to go the way of sin without sending a Savior, a helper, himself.
Paul gives a wonderful argument and sermon to the people of Athens. He explains to them that God can not be in their idols because God is not by human hands. He is the one who creates all things, breaths into all things. “For in him we live and more and have our being.” We did not create ourselves yet we try to make God in our own image. This is laughable.
God created Adam and from their the entire world. So that we might “inhabit the whole earth” and that we might become “his offspring.” Since he made us, and not him, God can’t be gold, silver or stone, says Paul. At one time, “God over looked such ignorance,” but not in the case of Moses, Aaron and the golden calf! But now, says Paul, “he commands all people everywhere to repent.”
Why repent? Because God has set a day “when he will judge the world with justice” by Jesus. Jesus is our judge and our hope. The risen Christ is proof that God loves us and draws people to himself.
Some would look at this and think God is not full of mercy. “Why would he condemn people for their actions?” “Why would he judge humanity and not just allow us to live according to our will and our ways?” Because living in sin is not living! Doing those things which draw us from God, that hurt ourselves and hurt others is not loving. God loves the world too much to leave it to it’s own demise. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2.4-5, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
Now is the day of salvation. Now is the day to live into the fullness of the love that God sent through Jesus. Now is the day to turn and repent of sin and submit to the One who will one day judge the entire world. Now is the day to seek a merciful God for your life.
“O Lord God, thank you for loving us. Thank you for sending your son Jesus so we might be saved and live according to your purposes. Redeem us Lord! Rescue the lost! Awaken our hearts to your saving grace so that this life might be found in you. I praise you Lord and exalt your holy name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen