Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

From One Man

Acts 17:26-28
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. 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. "For in him we live and move and have our being." As some of your own poets have said, "We are his offspring." (NIVUK)

As Paul addressed the top religious philosophers in Athens, he started by declaring God to be the only living, unique, all-powerful Creator. That idea was a serious contrast to the many invented idols who were worshipped in their temples. "There is only one God", Paul said, "but you do not know Him, so I am going to tell you who He is" (Acts 17:23). That exposition of 'only one God' culminated in a call to repentance in the face of Jesus (Acts 17:30-31).

But in today's verses, Paul diverted to say that God only created one man, and from him every nation on earth was made. The significance of that also cut into Athenian culture: they believed that they were superior to others because of their race or tribal background. Not so, says Paul. God knows where everybody is born but they all share a common father and were made by the one and only true God. Interestingly, today's scientific genetic opinion agrees that there was a single common ancestor for all of humanity.

The apparent diversity of humanity, their languages, characteristics and territories, is not designed by God for pride or oppression, but so that everybody might want to find out who this amazing God is who can create a kaleidoscope of people who differently reflect a little of His glory. Unlike the remote and demanding Greek deities, this true God is so close you can find Him if you want to. Even a Greek poet agreed that we come out of God.

In the same way that God can only be understood through the Scripture and with reference to Jesus Christ, so an understanding of human beings requires God's written Word and God's incarnate Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. People who reject Jesus cannot properly understand why they have been placed on earth, to whom they are accountable and why they have to repent (Acts 17:30). That is why the gospel messenger must dissolve ignorance by proclaiming Jesus: so that the arrogant and the worthless may repent, receive forgiveness and be filled with the God who made them (Acts 2:38). One fruit of repentance is the ability to honour all races and classes equally; valued by God and precious to the church. Discrimination by who your parents were, where you live, how you speak or how much money you have – is impossible if you understand that all humanity is made from one created human being, for God's glory.

Father God. Thank You for the diversity of humanity around me; all equally valuable to You. I repent of the discrimination by which I tend to rank people according to their status or wealth. Please help me to treat every person preciously as Your much loved creation and thereby to show my colleagues that the God in whom I trust loves each of them too. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams