26 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27).
In the Apostle Paul’s message at the Areopagus, he first told the Athenians that God was the true creator of the universe. Secondly, God not only created the universe but also sustains it. Thirdly, God not only created and sustains the universe, He also governs it.
The purpose for God having created the world, sustaining it and governing it is so that His creation should, and would, seek Him. God’s intention is that creation would, as it were, feel their way toward Him and find Him. Unfortunately, that is not what the ancient Greeks did, nor is it what fallen man ever does.
Psalm 14:1-3 says, “1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”
Romans 3:9-12 says, “9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Like people who grope in the darkness because they cannot see, so also are fallen sinners. They recognize that there is within them a desire to worship someone, or something, greater than themselves. However, much like the Greeks, they invent their own gods to satisfy that desire. The tragic truth is that the one, true God is never far from any sinner.
Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
This remains the sinner’s fallen condition. What is required for the sinner’s conversion is a divine initiative. This divine initiative is what God provides.
Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”
Take notice of the first two words in Ephesians 2:4: “But God.” God alone does what is required in order for sinners to come to Him in faith. He gives them new life by regenerating their souls in order to believe the Gospel. The fallen sinner is born again by God in order to believe the Gospel, instead of believing the Gospel on their own in order to be born again (John 3:1-3).
Fallen sinners do not seek God; God seeks them. Fallen sinners are spiritually dead; God gives them spiritual life. Fallen sinners seek good works to appease their false gods; God gives sinners grace and mercy.
Take time today to reflect on the biblical truth that God made you spiritually alive in Christ. It is not to your credit that you are a Christian. Rather, it is to God’s glory that you are converted. Praise Him today for His divine initiative.
Soli deo Gloria!