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The Gift of Knowing God

A great number of people today consider themselves agnostic, meaning they don’t believe there is enough evidence to confirm or deny the existence of God. British philosopher Bertrand Russell explained the difference between a Christian, an atheist, and an agnostic: “The Christian holds that we can know there is a God; the atheist, that we can know there is not. The Agnostic suspends judgment, saying that there are not sufficient grounds either for affirmation or for denial.”

The apostle Paul, in today’s passage, addressed the people of Athens who considered themselves religious but did not believe in the Christian God. As the text notes: “the city was full of idols” (v. 16). Paul was attracting so much attention by talking about Jesus that a group approached him to ask for an explanation (v. 20).

Paul pointed to an altar in their midst with the inscription: To An Unknown God (v. 23). To the crowd gathered, Paul suggested they should know the true God they are worshiping. God, said Paul, is the Creator (v. 24). He made the world and everything in it. God does not need us to exist. In fact, the opposite is true: He gives us breath and life (v. 25). He shapes our lives and gives us purpose. He “marked out their appointed times” (v. 26).

God gives the extraordinary gift of life: “For in him we live and move and have our being” (v. 28). This view of God as our Creator changes how we see and worship Him. Paul said that since God has made Himself known to us, we have a responsibility to repent and follow Him. The response to Paul’s sermon was mixed. Some “sneered” while others wanted to learn more (v. 32).

Apply the Word

Each of us probably knows people who consider themselves atheists or agnostics. As God brings those friends or family members to your mind today, pray for them. Ask God to reveal Himself to them and to open their eyes to see His truth. Ask that He provide a way for you to share with them, just as Paul did, that you know who God is.

BY Jamie Janosz

Jamie Janosz serves as a content development manager for Moody Bible Institute. She writes monthly devotionals for Today in the Word and has published non-fiction essays with Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Recently Jamie wrote a book titled When Others Shuddered: Eight Women Who Refused to Give Up (Moody Publishers). Jamie studied theology and writing at Moody Bible Institute, Columbia College, and Illinois State University. She lives on the Atlantic coast of Florida with her husband, Milt, and daughter, Sabrina.

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