Understand God’s PURPOSE for the entire HUMAN FAMILY
November 11 Bible Reading: Acts Chapters 16-18
"And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'" (Acts 17:26-28)
It is interesting to observe that Paul extensively used the Old Testament as common ground whenever he addressed the Jews. However, with the Athenians, Paul begins with the general revelation that everyone has already received. God brought all people into being and they only exist by His providence. Paul proclaims the true God as Creator and therefore transcendent above His creation (vv. 24, 25). This true God is sovereignly involved in the affairs of men (v. 26). In fact, the true God is near them, within the reach of those who seek Him (vv. 27, 28). Therefore all peoples must repent and turn to Him, because a resurrection and a judgment day are coming!
In discussing the origin of the human race, Paul contends that all nations came from the common ancestor, Adam. Not only were the nations brought forth by God, but He also arranged the years, and determined the countries in which the various peoples would dwell. It was God who designed their courses (see Dan. 2:20, 21). Further, God showered innumerable mercies on them in order that they might seek Him. He wanted them to grope for Him and find Him, even though in actuality He is not far from each one. It is in the true God that we live and move and have our being, so not only is God our Creator but He is our all in all. Compare this with the fact that the three great mysteries of philosophy and science in the ancient world were the questions of life, motion, and being!
To further emphasize the relationship of the creature to the Creator, Paul knew that the Athenians did not know the Old Testament, and he quoted from some of their Greek poets, who said, “For we are also His offspring”. Although their words originally referred to Zeus, the head of the Greek gods, Paul applied the quotations to the living God of heaven. Thus, Paul laid a foundation from which he built his presentation of Yahweh, the God of Israel. We are the offspring of God in the sense that He created us, but we only become sons of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God also is sovereign over the political and military affairs of nations, though the Greeks liked to think they determined their own destiny. God’s purpose in regulating times and boundaries was that people would realize His sovereignty and seek Him (v. 27). Our loving Creator has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to demonstrate His love for us and save us. It is our responsibility to respond to Jesus and follow Him as well as witness about the saving knowledge of the gospel to all our unsaved friends and relatives.
We should understand God’s purpose for the entire human family! The incidental statement that God made from one blood all the nations of men, is an inspired assertion of the unity of the race, and accords with the Mosaic history. We all proceed from one blood, both figuratively and literally, for the same blood types are found in all races. Humankind is a universal family. “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” (Mal. 2:10).