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Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions - Lesson 6

The New Testament and Religions

This lesson examines the New Testament in the context of other religions. It covers the introductions to the various books of the New Testament, exploring their main themes and theological messages. The lesson then looks at how the New Testament relates to other religions, including Jesus' relationship with them, salvation, evangelism, and relationships.

Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions
Lesson 6
Watching Now
The New Testament and Religions

I. New Testament Context and Literature

A. Overview of the New Testament

B. Introductions to the Gospels

C. Introductions to the Pauline Epistles

D. Introductions to the General Epistles

E. Introductions to the Book of Revelation

II. New Testament Theology and Religions

A. Jesus and Other Religions

B. Salvation and Other Religions

C. Evangelism and Other Religions

D. Relationships and Other Religions


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  • This lesson provides an overview of the various aspects of Theology of Religion, and explores the complexities of engaging in dialogue with other religions.
  • You will gain an understanding of the exclusivity of Christ and its implications for other religions, as well as the challenges to exclusivity presented by atheism, theological pluralism, and other religions. You'll also learn how to engage other religions and live out Christian witness in a pluralistic world.
  • This lesson will provide you a deeper understanding of how Jesus is the central figure of Scripture, and how Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in the New Testament.
  • You will gain insight into the similarities and differences between the religions of the Ancient Near East and the religions of the Bible, looking at concepts such as Hebrew monotheism, the theology of salvation, and the theology of creation. You'll also explore how mythology and evil are portrayed in both the Ancient Near East religions and the Bible, as well as how the Bible incorporates cultural elements from the Ancient Near East religions.
  • You will gain insight into the implications of polytheism from a biblical perspective and understand the nature of God and the roles of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a better understanding of the New Testament and its relationship to other religions. You will gain insight into the theological messages found in the various books of the New Testament, and learn how the New Testament relates to other religions in terms of Jesus, salvation, evangelism, and relationships.
  • This lesson you will receive an overview of universalism, its historical context, and its implications for the Bible and theology. You will learn the different types of universalism and examine the biblical passages related to universalism, as well as the theological perspectives on universalism.
  • You will gain an understanding of what pluralism is and how it has evolved over time. You will also explore the challenges to pluralism and the implications it has for religious dialogue and multiculturalism.
  • In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of inclusivism, its history and theology, as well as its application in missions. You will learn that inclusivism is an approach to theology that respects and works with different religious paths, and offers a robust theology of salvation that is both inclusive and faithful to the biblical message
  • This lesson will teach you about the presence and role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, including Ancient Near Eastern Religion, the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, Wisdom Literature, and Prophets.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the person and nature of the Holy Spirit, the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, the process of receiving the Holy Spirit, and the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the critical questions related to the gospel, salvation and other religions, and the importance of asking them. It explores questions of homogeneity, essentialism and pluralism with definitions and examples.

With Todd Miles, Ph.D. Western Christianity’s interaction with world religions used to be, for the most part, overseas. Today, “religious others” often live next door. At a changing time when one public prayer spoken during the 2009 U.S. presidential inauguration festivities was addressed to “O god of our many understandings,” the evangelical Christian church should do more than simply dismiss non-Christian religions as pagan without argument or comment. The Church needs a theology of religions that is Christ-honoring, biblically faithful, intellectually satisfying, compassionate, and that will encourage Spirit-powered mission.

 
 
 

Dr. Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions
th320-06
The New Testament and Religions
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:11] We turn now to the New Testament to look at what the New Testament says about religious others. And of course, the best place to go immediately is to Jesus Christ himself. What we'll find here as we look at Jesus is interaction with religious others, is that there is no softening at all of the message of the gospel, reconciliation only through Jesus. And this is particularly true of Jesus himself. Jesus pattern of interaction was not dialog in which he was seeking knowledge or understanding. Jesus was always the master who knew all of the answers. Now, he did ask questions. He did ask questions, but he asked questions to best drive the listeners to the truth that he was proclaiming. Remember in John chapter four in his meeting with the Samaritan woman, Jesus told her that her people were in error in their efforts to worship the God of Jacob. But a day was coming when Jew and Gentile would worship the Father in spirit and truth. Jesus pointed her to himself, telling her that he was the Christ, the one for whom she and the people had been waiting. The sire Phoenician woman was clearly in great need, and Jesus helped her. Only after stating the singular purpose of his mission in Mark, Chapter seven. The Samaritan leper was praised for having more faith and giving God more glory through gratitude to Jesus than the Jews who were also healed. In Luke 17, the Roman Centurions faith so amazed Jesus was focused specifically on the person and ability of Jesus himself. As Jesus interacts with religious others, though, there is a demonstration of his heart for the nations as a Jewish messiah Jesus, his primary focus was on reaching the people of Israel. Yet in the Old Testament, prophetic anticipation the Kingdom of God, which the Jewish Messiah was coming to inaugurate and bring to consummation, ultimately always included the nations plural.

[00:02:19] Look at Isaiah Chapter 42, for example. Simeon understood this for upon finally seeing the promised Messiah, he declared Jesus would be, quote, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people. Israel, as demonstrated above. During Jesus's first Advent Ministry. He preached, he ministered to Gentiles. Many Gentiles repented and put their faith in Jesus, whereas most of the Jews and their leaders in particular, they refused to heed the invitation to the long awaited kingdom. The parable of the large banquet in Luke 14 testifies to this very fact. The nation of Israel was invited to the Kingdom feast, but they rejected the offer. So Gentiles were invited to the banquet, The coming of Gentiles to seek out Jesus provided the impetus for Jesus to proclaim that the hour of His glorification that is His substitution. Every death and resurrection was at hand in John Chapter 12. It's a very interesting passage because what we find throughout the Gospel of John is that Jesus is ours. Not at hand. It's not at hand. It not it is not at hand. Of course, his hours, the time of his glorification, that is his suffering on the cross. But when is encountered by the Gentiles, when the nations begin to seek the Messiah, that's the cue. Jesus is our is at hand. We spend a lot of time in the last sessions looking at Old Testament monotheism. What is the New Testament? Have to say the exact same thing. There is only one God. And yet, interestingly enough, Jesus Christ is put right into the very middle of this monotheism. First Corinthians eight is very is very instructive in this. There is only one God. Paul says, revealed in the Father and in the Son New Testament authors.

[00:04:17] They expand the understanding of idolatry. They tie it to the root of all sins. Paul in particular is very clear about linking the worship of idols and the worship of demons. Remember in the Old Testament that link is is is there. But it's not. It's not there. Often in the Old Testament, Paul is very explicit. To worship an idol is to worship a demon. So how did Paul interact with a dollar tree? This is the there's so much good information in the New Testament of how we are to confront, how we are to comport ourselves around religious others. Remember one of the criticisms that Pluralist often give, and we'll look at this in detail in a couple sessions is that, well, the Bible doesn't have anything to say about about other religions of the world. It's just the Christian book. And yet the the evangelism that takes place is always to the and evangelize those who are worshiping other gods but need to be directed to the God and father of the Lord Jesus Christ through Jesus Christ. In Paul's missionary journeys, He confronts Dollar Tree. He's in the context of of religious others. So Paul's interaction with the dollar tree, it is in a pluralistic environment, just like the kind of environment that we live in today. And what we find in the narratives of acts in the teaching, in Paul's letters is a consistent message of condemnation of idolatry and then a plea for his listeners to turn from a dollar tree to the living God. Idolatry spawns wickedness. It's the defining feature of the heathen. We find this in Romans. Chapter one idolaters will be judged with wrath and eternal torment. However, the note the tone of Paul's evangelistic encounters, it differs dramatically from the letters to the churches.

[00:06:17] When Paul writes the letters, he tells them how horrible idolatry is and the punishment that will come from it. And yet, as he interacts with religious others, he pleads with them out of compassion to repent in Lystra. Paul was horrified that he would be worshiped as a God, and he beseeched the inhabitants to to turn from worthless things to the living God who made the heaven, the earth, the sea and everything in them acts. Chapter 14, Verse 15 He offered the Gospel to the people of Lystra. He reminded them of the merciful provision in Revelation. Of God. While in Athens, Paul Spirit was, quote, troubled when he saw the city full of idols. Chapter 17. His response was to reason in the synagogue in marketplaces, telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. In verse 18, the tenor of his propagates address is one of explanation, not condemnation, though he does speak of judgment to come. He calls the Athenians to repent in verses 30 and 31 of 17. Paul's stand in emphasis against idolatry was clear. Idolatry is absurd because God's made by hands are not God's acts. Chapter 19. In these encounters with idolatry, we find that Paul presented the Gospel and he undercut the notion of idolatry without denigrating the idolaters themselves or disparaging the particulars of their religious activity. It doesn't do any good to denigrate a religious other for his for his religious practices, his religious convictions. What we need is a a compassionate confrontation. And that's what we find with the apostles in the Book of Acts. He treats people with dignity and respect as image bearers, pleading with them to turn away from their idols, to turn away from their so called gods to the God who made them and loves them.

[00:08:15] Paul's counsel to the Corinthians regarding meat sacrifice to idols and First Corinthians eight and First Corinthians ten is particularly helpful in these passages. Paul advises the Corinthians how to live in a manner that honors Christ in the context of religious pluralism and a dollar tree. Most of the meat sold in the marketplace is, of course, it had been first offered on pagan altars as sacrifices to some so called God. We find in chapter eight, verse five temples, therefore served as the focal points for religious, social, even economic life. This situation presented an enormous dilemma for the Corinthian Christian, because the lines that separated idolatry and the most basic social functions were virtually indistinguishable. How was such a Christian to comport himself in this confusing time? So Paul first addresses participation in pagan feasts in first Corinthians eight and First Corinthians ten. And then he turns his attention to meat sold in the marketplace in first Corinthians ten versus 23 through 30. He begins by stating that deities represented by the idols. They have no real ontological existence. To the extent that gods and idols do exist, they exist solely in the subjective experience of the pagan who gives allegiance to and worships them. These gods and idols, they don't have divine existence of the, but they don't have the divine existence of the biblical God. The problem is that the phenomenological existence of idols is so powerful in the weak Christian that his conscience can be injured by eating meat at the pagan feast. First Corinthians Chapter eight verses seven through ten. Ultimately, the weak Christian can be destroyed, ruined by the actions of those who know that idols are nothing. The same issues are raised in the context of eating food sold in the marketplace.

[00:10:13] The Christians are free to eat. Why? Because the Lord, the one God He owns everything, including the meat before the Christian, regardless of whether it's been offered to an idol. The issues here ethical. Paul's concern was for the weaker brother, though his counsel for living as a Christian in the context of idolatry was completely consistent with the biblical testimony concerning idols. There's only one God, the Lord, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. There's no divine reality behind the idol, but there is a subjective reality in the mind and heart of the one who ascribes reality to this so-called God. Therefore, the Christian not to flee idolatry, because to participate in pagan sacrifices oftentimes is ultimately to participate in the worship of demons. So that's how Paul dealt with the issue of idolatry and how the Christian was to comport himself in in an atmosphere saturated by idolatry. What did Paul's evangelistic encounters look like? It's wonderful for us because the Christian scriptures are written in the context of religious pluralism. So it's instructive to see the theology of the apostles worked out in their evangelistic encounters. Paul's theology regarding the position and plight of the Gentiles, apart from Christ, is not hopeful. Whenever Paul encountered someone who was not worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew this of them. Gentiles are dead in trespasses and sin. They're by nature, children of wrath. They live under the thrall of the world, the flesh and the devil. They serve idols rather than the living God. Are. Blinded by Satan. Gentiles are, quote, separated from Christ, alienated from the Commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Effusions to 12. He also knew this, though other Gentiles do not have special revelation the law.

[00:12:13] They are guilty before God because they have ignored general revelation. In the first few chapters of Romans, Paul spells out his convictions on the or on the epistemological. That is what the Gentiles knew. And the ethical. What they in fact did. It was these convictions that guided Paul in his evangelistic encounters with Gentiles. He knew this All people everywhere have some true knowledge of God. To Paul, atheists really don't exist. They might claim to be atheists, but Paul knew that everyone has true knowledge of God. They know God exists, for example. They know of his eternal power and divine nature. Romans 120. Gentiles also know that they ought to behave in a certain way in light of these truths. They are to glorify God. They ought to be thankful. They are to give God their obedience. Chapter one versus 2021 of Romans. Instead, their hearts steeped in sin, continually suppress the knowledge of God. They know they're accountable to God, and their disobedient actions warrant death. We find this at the end of chapter one of Romans, and in chapter two, verse 15, when that judgment does not come. Beginning of chapter two, it's because God's kind and patient providing time for repentance. We have to remember these were Paul's convictions about the state and plight of the unbeliever, and this drives his gospel proclamation in the narratives of acts. The best word to describe Paul's evangelistic encounters with religious others is respectful confrontation. His typical missionary practice, as we know, upon entering a new city, go to the synagogue. Reason from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ. We see this in chapter 17, verses two and three in both Acts 14 and 17. Paul addressed Gentile audiences, though the word ignorance of the Hebrew scriptures.

[00:14:13] They didn't know redemptive history. They didn't know the promises made to Abraham. They didn't know the exodus, the giving of the law. They didn't know the promises made to David. But notice that Paul does not appeal to some sort of common ground or proclaim a different gospel from the one that was proclaimed to the Jews and the God figures in the synagogues. Paul does appeal to general revelation, but this does not mean that he abandoned the biblical theological categories of the Gospel. To do so, Paul knew would have been to drain the gospel not only of its context, but also its meaning. Instead, Paul had to appeal to general Revelation to bring his audience up to speed quickly. He had to present to his listeners the biblical categories that are necessary for the gospel to make sense. Jews and God figures who who understood redemptive history, who had access to the law and the prophets. They would have had these categories already in their mind. When Paul brings an evangelistic message to those who don't have those categories. He has to bring them up to speed quickly. And in particular, what we find is that Paul teaches that God is their creator. God is independent. He is a self-sufficient sustainer of all life. God is sovereign over the nations. God is a revealing God as well. He speaks and that humanity is sinful and rebellious. You see, without these fundamental truths that challenged the pagan people at the core of their worldview, the gospel message of the life, death, the resurrection, ascension, return of Jesus. You don't make any sense at all with these truths. The Gospel not only makes sense, but it is absolutely necessary. After healing a man in Lystra who had been lame from birth.

[00:16:08] Paul and Barnabas were, to their horror, hailed as the gods, Hermes and Zuse, prompting even the priest of Zeus to begin preparations to offer sacrifices to these two horrified missionaries in Chapter 14. Significantly, Paul and Barnabas did not appeal to the listeners as fellow seekers after God, but as fellow humans who had to repent. The two Christians protested that they were mere mortals. They urged the people of Lystra to turn from a dollar tree to the living God. Notice that he doesn't give them kudos for. But I see you're very religious and you're on the right track. No, stop. Turn around. Go the other way, they say, presenting a clear challenge to the pagan worldview. Paul and Barnabas identified the living God as the creator of all things. This is an implicit argument for monotheism in the Old Testament tradition. They're still on message. They're still on message. This God that they proclaimed demonstrated his sovereignty over the nations and that he had allowed them to walk in their own ways. The Liston's, though, had not sought after the one true God. Rather, it was God who had sought after the people of Lystra by leaving himself a witness, specifically his providential care and benevolent blessing toward the list friends. It was on this basis that Paul and Barnabas urged the people of Lystra to repent, turn to the living God, to turn from these, quote, worthless things to the one sovereign Creator meant that the people of Lystra would have to reject the pluralistic ideology of many gods in the practice of idolatry. This message and call to repentance, Paul summed up in chapter 14, verse 15 as being good news The Gospel. Turn to Chapter 17. Chapter 17. This is such a helpful teaching from Scripture on how we are to comport ourselves around religious others.

[00:18:15] There are many who think that Paul blew it at Athens. Perhaps you've heard sermons where the pastors have said Paul tries to appeal to them on philosophical bases. He doesn't preach Jesus and him crucified. And so then when he's back at court and he reflects on on just how unsuccessful his time in Athens was, he purpose is to preach Christ and Christ crucified alone. Now, I do think that Paul was determined to preach Christ in Christ, crucified, alone, but I think that's what he's doing in Acts 17. I do not see X17 as a failure, but I actually see it as a blueprint for how we ourselves are to evangelize and proclaim the gospel to religious others in our day and age. I think the narrative of Paul's evangelistic efforts in Athens, they provide the best example of a gospel encounter in a pluralistic context in the Bible. So it should be the careful object of study by those seeking to minister in a post-Christian, postmodern, pluralistic context. Why? Because the Athenian world was pluralistic. The Athenians were well versed in philosophy in the latest trends. But like so many around us today, they were biblically illiterate. Paul was not able to assume any knowledge from Scripture on the part of his audience. So he had to he had to develop quickly the necessary biblical categories, usually from general revelation for the gospel to make sense. Paul arrived in Athens after being chased out of Thessalonica, and he waited there for Silas and Timothy. Athens was one of the primary intellectual centers in the Greco-Roman world, leading the world in the way of architecture, literature, society, philosophy. But as Paul surveyed the city, we find that his spirit was provoked within him because the city was full of idols.

[00:20:10] By reasonable estimates, city contained about 30,000 different idols. But as we might be tempted to do today, far from regarding these idols as merely beautiful works of art and culture, Paul was outraged and heartbroken at the thought of so many held captive by idolatry. He was compelled to reason then in the synagogue, in the marketplace, anybody who would listen every day with those who happened to be there, we find in verse 17 of Chapter 17. And in doing so, he enters into dispute with two significant worldviews of the day epicureanism and stoicism. The epicureans were naturalistic in their thinking. They believed that all life was dependent upon the random interaction of atoms, molecules in motion, very materialistic, very naturalistic. Therefore, humans ought to pursue pleasure. I mean, after all, what else is there? Particularly if that pleasure was constituted by detachment from pain, passion and fear. The so-called gods, if they did exist, they were remote, uninterested in interfering in the affairs of men. Stoics, on the other hand, were pantheistic. They believe that God inhabited in spirit form everything in a kind of pervasive world soul. Stokes were also brutally fatalistic. History was caught in an eternal cycle being destroyed, ultimately through conflagration and beginning again, only to repeat the exact same pattern again, down to the smallest details of human life. So if you're listening to this and you're not quite understanding what I'm saying about Stoicism will be encouraged. Because if the Stoics are right, you will hear this an infinite number of times in the future, and maybe you'll get it by then. Of course, on the downside, you've heard it an infinite number of times in the past as well. And you still don't have it because people are caught in this cycle, the cycle that can't be changed.

[00:22:08] They had to resign themselves to trying to live in harmony with nature and reason. I mean, there's nothing you can do about you're living your life and you're just a participant or it really almost a spectator in it. What is the one thing that you can control, though? Can't control the circumstance. You can't control what's going to happen to you. What you can't control is your reaction to those circumstances. Your reaction to this impersonal fate. By pursuing your duty, by controlling your response to it, by being, as we would say today, stoic. Now, the Athenians reaction to the gospel we find was mixed. Some accused Paul of being a babbler, literally a seed picker. This is a derogatory term that was used for those who ignorantly peddled ideas they'd collected from various places thinking there's something because they have something to say. Others accused him of preaching quote. Foreign gods. This is a very serious charge. We consider this for this exact same charge that Socrates was condemned to die. The basis for this charge was Paul's proclamation of Jesus and the resurrection. We need to remember that when we get to Paul's evangelistic address, because he has been preaching the name of Christ to the Athenians. Some are curious, though. They want to hear more of this new teaching we find in verses 19 and 2017. Luke, though, describes the Athenians as spending their time, quote, in nothing except telling or hearing something new. They are a tolerant and open minded people like so many people that surround us today. So Paul is brought before the Acropolis, the old court in Athens with jurisdiction over all things moral, civil and religious. Paul's Arabic is addressed, I think, as a model for respectful confrontation with pagan cultures.

[00:23:57] He's simultaneously courteous and bold. He establishes a point of contact with them through his earlier observation of an altar that was inscribed to an unknown God. But his mention of this altar was not an appeal to common ground between the two of them. The point of the contact is human ignorance. The Athenians, he says, are extremely religious in every respect. But Paul's purpose is not to affirm that, but to oppose their world view. And he confronts their ignorance and superstition by proclaiming the one true God. The irony of this narrative is Rich Paul is brought before this group of learned men to be examined. But Paul begins by emphasizing their ignorance. Paul's proclamation of God begins with a transition from new to pronouns. What you worship in ignorance. This I proclaim to you. And then he transitions to masculine personal pronouns. He is the Lord of Heaven and earth. This demonstrates, I think, that Paul was not going to proclaim to them simply the identity of one whom they worshiped in ignorance. There is no basis for contending that religious others who are seeking God but do not know his name are in a saving relationship with God. Paul instead argues from that which the Athenian God represents, namely human ignorance, to that which the Gospel makes known, specifically the God and Father of Jesus Christ. Paul described the God, if whom the Athenians were ignorant by laying a theological foundation that he derived from the pages of Genesis. He began by establishing the creator creature distinction. God is the Creator. He made the world and everything in it. You see, contrary to Epicurean thought, the universe is not the result of blind chance. Matter molecules, atoms. They are created not eternal, nor as got a part of the world.

[00:26:00] As the Stoics believed the evolution of the world spirit. Rather, the universe was created by a personal and sovereign God. Paul began by confronting and denying the most basic aspect of the epicurean and stoic worldviews by positing the essential truth that God is God. And all that He created is not creator. Creature distinction entails the fact that Paul's God, the true God is transcendent. He enjoys creator's rights over everything that He has made, including the right to be obeyed. His creation is obligated to honor him. This is an entirely different worldview because the Greeks did not believe that they were ethically responsible to the gods at all. Paul The entire that God is utterly independent because He is completely self-sufficient. He has no needs that have to be met by the human. Rather, God gives to his creation life and breath in all things. We don't meet God's needs. He meets every one of ours. The Greeks viewed the gods as being dependent upon humanity to meet their needs. The gods, therefore had to be satisfied in order to evoke a blessing from them. But this is not true of the God that Paul is proclaiming. The God who is the independent Creator is sovereign over the nations in verse 26. Paul's language is strong and confrontational. God determined and appointed the times and boundaries whereby every nation lives. He is sovereign and there are implications for that. Furthermore, this sovereign God is also self disclosing. The purpose of His control over the affairs of human history is so that people might seek him. Paul's expression of God's purpose in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. It indicates blind groping. The point is that since intervention has rendered humanity blind in.

[00:28:00] Your search for God. Problem is not God's revelation. It's clear. Problem is human sin for which humanity alone is responsible and culpable. God is self revealing and humanity cannot escape knowledge of him. Even pagan poets like f amenities and eroticism with all their bogus ideologies and false ideas. And despite their active suppression of the truth, they can't rid themselves of God's powerful and meaningful revelation. Why? Because God will not be shut out of His world. Paul's message is very confrontational at this point. The problem for the Athenians was not that their unknown God was silent or hiding. Rather, God had revealed himself and the Athenians had suppressed that revelation. The standards may have been ignorant, but it was a culpable ignorance. Ultimately, God may have been unknown to the Athenians, but not because he is silent or hard to find. The problem was that the Athenians did not want to know this God, and for that they were guilty. Only after teaching the Athenians on the nature and actions of God. Paul then turned to the implications for it. Paul's understanding of humanity and his gospel proclamation is Theo centric. It's God centered rather than cultural, sociological or human centered. It works this way. Given who God is, who humanity is, and what humanity has done in response to God's governance and revelation, why does God allow humanity to live in idolatry and open defiance without bringing swift judgment against them? And Paul's response? Includes four critical aspects. One God overlooked ignorance in the past. Two now people everywhere are commanded to repent. Three The call to repentance is urgent because a day of judgment is coming and for God has validated Jesus as judge by raising him from the dead. Each aspect of Paul's response is crucial for constructing a theology of religions.

[00:30:15] How are we to comport ourselves among religious others? The first phrase of verse 30 Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, it's difficult passage to interpret theologians and biblical exegesis. They differ on its meaning. But Paul begins his Arabic as address by underscoring the ignorance of the Athenians. He ends his address by returning to the same theme. Previously, the Athenians had lived in, quote, times of ignorance, which God had overlooked. The Greek verb there hyper or rato means overlook, ignore or negatively scorn. In context, it probably means that God did not judge the Athenian idolatry as severely as he might have. Paul statement, though, is definitive. The tide times of ignorance in the past are contrasted with the particle of time. Now God may have overlooked times of ignorance in the past, but no longer. Those days are over. Ignorance is no longer a valid excuse for failing to respond to God, because now God gives a comprehensive command that all people everywhere should repent. There is no chronological or geographical limitation placed upon the call for repentance. Consistent with the experience of Cornelius in ex Chapter ten and 11, redemptive history and the particularities of people's required response to God has changed for all places. All people in all places. With the advent of Jesus, this very sovereign God who created the world, made every nation of people. He determined the boundaries where they live. He has vowed that judgment will come, that the timing is not specified. The coming judgment is certain, though, and it will be performed justly or in righteousness. As Paul says further, the coming judgment will be exercised, is exercised through or by means of a man of divine appointment. The resurrection serves as God's validation of Jesus, to quote everyone, and is therefore a universal demonstration of proof of God's call of Jesus to be Judge Paula Luke in his narrative.

[00:32:43] Here he doesn't mention the name of Jesus in his account of Pastor Robert, his speech. But I don't think that's significant because Paul had been proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection earlier. Further, we are told at the end of Paul's presentation, some men joined him and believed verse 34, Luke's use of the word believed in this narrative. It's always definitive in the acts. It always refers to saving faith in Jesus. According to Paul, Christ's qualifications were validated by the resurrection. Given everything that Paul has said about God, his governance, his revelation, and humanity's need for repentance. Everything depends upon Jesus Christ. You see, Jesus, according to Paul, is not merely one among many for the task. He is the only one qualified for the task because he comes at the initiative of this sovereign God. If you contrast this with your present experience of people around you, it's not surprising that the Athenians were offended by this talk of the resurrection because Paul had just portrayed Jesus as the Lord Savior and judge of humanity. Then, as you know now, people are offended by such a portrayal of Jesus. But their offense does not make it less true.

 

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