Friday, August 12, 2011
“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious” (Acts 17:22 KJV).
Religion causes people to behave very strangely—they claim to see apparitions in common objects, they speak incoherently, they allegedly (and “magically”) transform ordinary bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood, and they proclaim physical healing (while still taking medication and owning health insurance!).
The Greek word translated “superstitious” in today’s Scripture is “deisidaimonesteros,” meaning, “fearing more devils than anyone else.” Are you like the Athenians? Are you like most “Christians” today? Art thou “too superstitious?”
Pagan idolatry had permeated Athens: “the city [was] wholly given to idolatry” (verse 16). Paul told the Athenians (verse 23): “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”
For fear of ignoring a deity, and angering it, Athens wanted to cover every base, so they appealed to every god and goddess. Today, many cross their hearts and purchase medals/idols for protection. They pray to anyone and everyone. Others join as many churches and religions as possible, hoping to appease whoever is the “right” God. How sad.
In the context of today’s Scripture, Paul informed the Athenians that he was preaching to them the “unknown God” (verse 23). The Athenians knew there was a God other than their silly pagan gods, but they were worshiping that one true God “ignorantly.” This describes most church members in Christendom. They know about Jesus Christ, but how many really know who He is? How many have truly trusted in Christ for their soul salvation? Precious, precious few.
Religion is vain—it will never, ever save anyone. No religion or church saves. Only Jesus Christ saves. As Paul preached to Athens, we too proclaim: Trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour (that He died for your sins, He was buried, and He was raised again), and you will be saved… that is no superstition!