Can you place yourself in the sandals of the Apostle Paul as he enters the city of Athens? On every corner, in the parks or market places, there are sculptured images of Greek gods and goddesses. It is clear that the Athenians had taken the pantheon to its limits, and just in case they had overlooked one, they created an image “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.”
What an opportunity for Paul to present to these Greek citizens the Person and message of the true God. Was Paul a match for the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers who, in their extensive cogitations, spent their days seeking that which could not be found by human intellect? Yes he was, and the apostle would present to the intellectual philosophers the only way to know and have relationship with God … “because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18b KJV).
To the churches in Corinth, the Apostle Paul wrote … “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried , and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4 KJV).
Scripture states … “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:26 KJV). Note that faith in Christ is the basis for being a child of God, not just being born into the human race.
Nicodemus, a brilliant teacher of the Jews, was confused on that very issue. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he" (John 3:4 NASB)? Jesus answered …“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again'” (John 3:6-7 NASB).
Scripture probably does not record for us the entire conversation that occurred that night, but we know that the message of salvation that was given to this leader of the Jews … "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NASB). God can only be known by means of faith in Christ. Jesus said … “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV).
That is the genius of God; just one way -- by means of faith alone in Christ alone. Thus all people, regardless of intellectual capacity, nationality, ethnic origin, or social status can have a relationship with Him. In the simplest of terms, Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer … “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31a KJV).
Notice that this faith was not so-called blind faith. It required that faith be directed toward an object, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus there is motivation to give out the gospel, since faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Scripture confirms that it is the Spirit of God that draws individuals to the Savior. “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44 NASB).
The wonderful truth is that God reveals Himself to every person … “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:19-20 NASB).
From the lips of Jesus came the message of hope and love … “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt 11:28-30 NIV).