God Is Bigger than Your Interest in Religion

Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: ‘Men of Athens … [what] you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.’

Acts 17:22-23

We cannot declare the gospel of Jesus without understanding the doctrine of God. As J.B. Phillips writes in his book Your God Is Too Small, “Many men and women today are living, often with an inner dissatisfaction, without any faith in God at all … They have not found with their adult minds a God big enough to ‘account for’ life.”[1] We must spare no fitting word, then, when we speak of God’s character, of His grandeur, and of His glory made known.

When Paul shared the gospel, he went to the religious, the commoners, and the intelligentsia alike, because he recognized that the good news of God was all-encompassing and sufficient for each of their concerns (Acts 17:24-31). We can learn from his approach, which was one that introduced listeners to God by identifying five key aspects of His nature:

God is the Creator. He made the world, while He Himself is uncreated, standing distinct from His creation and outside of time. He is not a force—not even the greatest force of all—nor can He be contained or manipulated into a form of our own design.

God is the Sustainer. He is the one who gives life and breath. The Sustainer of life is not served by human hands, nor does He have need of sustenance.

God is the Ruler. He commands the nations. History, geography, governments—the whole universe!—are under His control. No event takes our God by surprise; He sweeps into His purposes even the sinful acts of man. Furthermore, as Ruler, He has put everybody in a certain place, in a moment in history, that we might seek Him, find Him, and praise His holy name.

God is the Father. Men and women are His “offspring” (Acts 17:28) and, in the sense that He has given life to each human, starting with Adam, He is every human’s Father (Luke 3:38). He has created each of us in His image. We are moral beings, made with a sense of right and wrong, and we are able truly to flourish only in relationship with Him.

God is the Judge. He has authority over all the earth. There will be a judgment day that is fair and final, when every injustice will be dealt with and all wrongs be put right. Indeed, God has already intervened in His Son Jesus, and in Jesus’ resurrection He has declared Jesus’ divine appointment as Judge. It is God’s kindness and forbearance that announces judgment so that before then we might repent and find forgiveness from Him.

God is big enough for—indeed, far bigger than—anyone’s interest in mere religion. He’s big enough for you and me, for all our cares and our sorrows. He’s big enough to satisfy every intellectual quest and big enough to deal with every emotional longing—and ultimately, big enough to live for. To the extent that you know God as He truly is, so will you live in glad obedience to Him and speak with joyful confidence about Him.


Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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