Just as the Athenians were back then, so are plenty of us today. We are more than willing and ready to lay our differences aside to experience some of the same pleasures. We are willing to break and bend some of our rules and regulations; and even consent to them; and invent some new ones, just to please the Flesh.
The Scripture says in verse 21 of Acts 17, in parenthesis:
“(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)”
It did not matter if you were from Athens, or if you were a stranger; as long as it was something new, they chose to agree that whatever was the latest or the most modern thing going, they could worship together despite their seen and un-seen prejudices.
In our life today, we see this in quite a few areas – such as our entertainment. We make the unspoken agreement to abide by the rules of the profession and of the designated place of entertainment; all in the name of, and for the sake of – pleasure. Enjoying a good game of football at a public stadium is offered to a number of people who have no problem with being there with people who are different and distinct, but all come for the same purpose.
There’s an old saying that goes something like, ‘When you enter my house, leave your pride at the door.’ It sounds like we are given a choice when dealing with the truth of that statement.
Because there is a natural desire to be pleased, we will cross some lines or boundaries of our own, and those of others, to achieve pleasure. In crossing these lines, we are often compromising; and we know that compromise is not a good thing. Even if we do it ignorantly; even if we consider it to be good – that carries no weight in the eyes of God.
Because God is God, He is the only One who can do away with the lines and boundaries. He has set the Standard, the Rule, the Foundation; where the lines and boundaries are vanished, done away with. All boundaries are done away with in Christ Jesus.
He is the God who I believe Paul declared unto the men of Athens on Mars’ Hill and to many others as well. He tells the Romans:
“…The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;” (Romans 10:8)
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” (Romans 10:12)
Those who chose to worship this “unknown god,” if they understood who this unknown God really was (as Paul described); then they would reject all other gods and the “unknown God” would be known as the True and Living God. These people not only disagreed with what all the other gods had to offer (and their altars), but they also believed that this was a God who would accept them just as they were. And He would accept others just as they were. And they could accept others just as they were as well.
To believe that something is possible with no proof is Faith. I’m sure that all those other ‘known’ gods had some tangible form that could be seen and related to by the natural eye. But a faith that has to have an object connected to it is an ineffective faith. True faith is things hoped for, things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
When a man is willing to go past boundaries and have faith (trust) in something or someone beyond his knowledge; then he is ready for God to take over from there; where the lines and boundaries vanish.
In the place where I am today (prison), there are some who attend religious services as a way of escape. For some, these religious services are the only place where they are allowed to sit with, or be close to, some blood relatives who are a part of an opposing organization. In these services, they are allowed to enjoy one another’s fellowship outside of some lines and boundaries.
But little do they know that Jesus said:
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
Keep in mind, that being free does not mean to be totally void of lines and boundaries. It only means that we have been allowed the opportunity to operate within the boundaries of something or someone else’s boundaries without being guilty of trespassing. I thank God for Romans 8:1-2 and Ephesians 2:1 and 6:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;” (Ephesians 2:1)
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 2:6)
In the religious services the lines and boundaries only vanish temporarily; but “in Christ,” they vanish eternally. In Him we pass from death unto life (John 5:24).