For reading & meditation: Acts 17:16-34
"For in him we live and move and have our being." (v. 28)
God is active not only in the Church but in the world and in those belonging to other religions also. Christians believe that God has revealed Himself in Jesus in a unique way, as declared in the Scriptures, and has nothing more to reveal than He has revealed. But does that mean God is interested only in Christians? Not at all. One of the statements in the passage before us today proclaims: "He is not far from each one of us" (v. 27). By creation all men and women are God's offspring, and they live and move and have their being in Him. Christians believe that because Jesus is the Light of the world, and is described by John in the Fourth Gospel as "the true light that gives light to every man" (John 1:9
). Truth and beauty are derived from Him, even though people may be unaware of their source. Theologians refer to this as "common grace" - the kindness God shows to all human beings even though they know Him not. This is not to be confused with "saving grace," which is the kindness and mercy He extends to those who humbly receive the sacrificial offering which His Son made for them on the cross. Clearly, those who belong to other faiths are of deep concern to God, and that same concern ought to be ours. It should show itself in the way we talk to them, deal with them, and pray for them. There is no better way to end a discussion with an adherent of some other faith than to say and mean: "God loves you, and so do I."
O God, can it be that sometimes You are hindered in the process of bringing others to Yourself by those of us who are more interested in winning an argument than winning a soul? Infuse us with Your love - Calvary love. In Jesus' Name we ask it. Amen.
For further study:
1. How did Jesus describe common grace?
2. What did Peter declare?