Christianity 201

March 20, 2014

Spiritual Responsibility

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30 NIV)

This is another verse that teaches what some refer to as spiritual responsibility in the light of privilege. Those of us who live in a time where there are multiple Bibles in every home, where Christian radio and TV proliferate, where millions of pieces of Christian periodicals and devotional literature are printed each month, and now where the internet offers untold access to unlimited Bible study resources and commentary; we have a much greater responsibility.

Sadly, the same printing, broadcast and electronic resources offer us the potential for limitless distraction when it comes to spiritual focus. While I don’t believe we’re meant to live in a bubble — you should enjoy know what’s happening in popular music and by all means take ten seconds to look at the cat pictures your friend emailed you — we are citizens of another country and there should our focus lie.

In context, verse 22 tells us, Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus; this was the TEDTalk of Paul’s day and verse 32 tells us Paul was invited back; …others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” With the completion of God’s work in Christ, followed by the giving of the Holy Spirit to enable his followers to share this message with power; the message is broadcast in that culture with every bit as much significance as our mass media holds today.

The Reformation Study Bible so clearly explains the importance of our key verse today, verse 30:

That is, God took into consideration the limitations of their knowledge about God, but now Paul has revealed the truth about the living God. With all people, they are called upon to repent of their sins.

So what knowledge has always been available? Paul writes,

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

This verse is one of several that establish the general revelation of God.

He then says,

Romans 2:2 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

Jesus teaches in Luke 12:

47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Paul is talking about ultimate responsibility in light of the general revelation given to all, Jesus is explaining particular responsibility in light of what has been heard and seen.

The truth is, You and I are the means by which the truth of God can now be seen and heard. Yes, we are to share a verbal and visible witness to our friends, co-workers, neighbors, fellow-students and extended family; but we are also the ‘givers’ who can make possible the printed literature, the Bibles, the radio broadcasts, the television programs, the podcasts, the blogs, the films, etc.  We live in a time where media can do much. (Is this part of what Jesus meant by ‘greater works you will do’?) But it still takes individuals to produce and disseminate that media.

What role are you playing in all this? What role would God want you to have?


This devotional was prepared exclusively using BibleGateway.com.  You can do this, too. Try your hand at writing a devotional based on a scripture God has placed on your heart. Submit it; we’ll critique it, edit it and send it back to your final approval and then possibly print it here.

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