“In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.” –Acts 14:16-17NLT
One clear theme in the book of Acts is that God’s grace is for everyone. Peter mentions it first in his sermon in the second chapter. Then God teaches him this again through his rooftop vision and visit to Cornelius. Later Paul confronts him with this message once more. Peter must have struggled with this: God offers grace to all.
Paul communicates this message, too, eventually turning his ministry toward the Gentiles because of his frustration with the Jews. See Acts 13:46 and 18:6.) He knows salvation is for everyone, by grace alone through faith in Christ, and hopes the transformed lives of the Gentiles will be a convincing witness to the Jews.
In Acts 14, above, Paul tries to help Gentiles see that God is reaching out to them, that He always has. Even in Old Testament times, when His focus seemed to be on His chosen people, the Jews, God gave evidence of His existence, His character, His love to everyone. Even then God had a plan to redeem the whole world.
And now, God still permits nations and individuals to go their own way, to live in rebellion if they choose. Yet, as in the Old Testament, He never leaves them without evidence of Himself and His goodness. He sends them rain and good crops and gives them food and joyful hearts.* Best of all, He lives in us. As God’s chosen people through Christ, our transformed lives give evidence of God’s character to the world. By His Spirit, let’s live carefully.
Thank You, Lord! Evidence of You is all around us even now. Thank You for sending Jesus to gather us together, no longer to go our own way. Thank You for including all people in Your plan—for the open invitation. Thank You for Your Word which introduces us to You and teaches us how to live. Thank You for Your Presence in this world now and for a future with You in the perfect world to come. We love You, Lord! With grateful hearts, Amen.
*This does not mean that God makes everything go well for people in order to prove His existence to them. Paul is simply saying that evidence of God’s existence is all around us every day. Christians learn to recognize and thank God for His blessings. We pray that non-Christians will come to recognize that all their blessings come from God as well.
I’m sharing today’s post with Monday Musings.