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The Saviour of All Men

One of the admirable traits of the apostle Paul was his ability to communicate the gospel effectively to every strata of society, and to accommodate every intellectual level. During a visit to Athens, as recorded in Acts 17:16-34, he went toe-to-toe with the philosophical heavyweights in the midst of Mars’ Hill. He had been summoned by both Epicureans (the hedonists) and Stoicks (the fatalists) to explain in further detail the strange resurrection doctrine he was disseminating in the synagogue, and daily in the marketplace.

He employed the altar inscription TO THE UNKNOWN GOD as an introduction, and argued convincingly that the days of superstitious and ignorant worship were henceforth inexcusable! God, who had winked at (overlooked) such idolatrous behavior in times past as an expression of compassion toward the ignorant, was now commanding all men every where to repent.

The content of Paul’s message to the Athenians (17:22-31) is full of theological gems worthy of an entire volume of exposition. We only have the space here to offer a few brief remarks regarding two of its phrases. The first is all men every where (17:30), an all-inclusive phrase that describes both the target audience of the gospel and the extent of the atonement. In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded His disciples to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). If God has an expressed desire for every soul to hear the gospel, then there must be a corresponding value in the atonement as a basis for the offer of forgiveness and life for those who repent and believe. If the resurrection of Christ impacts all men every where with an assurance of judgment to come, then the death of Christ brings the corresponding assurance that the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6), and has borne the judgment of all.

Paul preached that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures (I Corinthians 15:3). Paul could make that assertion with absolute assurance whether he was addressing a congregation of five thousand or evangelizing a single lost soul in one-on-one personal work. Paul proclaimed the message of repentance to all men every where because Christ had died for the sins of all men every where! Those who have a problem looking into the eyes of a lost sinner and saying confidently, “Christ died for our sins—yours, mine, and those of the whole world ” probably have a different gospel than that which Paul preached!

The second is that man whom he hath ordained (17:31). The scriptures teach us that Jesus is both God and Man. As God in the flesh, He is fully qualified to judge the quick and the dead. In this message, however, Paul places the emphasis upon Jesus the Man, and the fact that all men every where shall be judged by another man.

The man Christ Jesus, however, was unique among men. He was conceived in the womb of a virgin. As the risen and glorified Son of God, He is the one Mediator between God and men (I Timothy 2:5). As our Mediator, He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). He is a High Priest Who was touched by the feelings of our infirmities; who was in all points like as we are, yet without sin (4:15). He was taken from among men and ordained for men so that he might have compassion on the ignorant, inasmuch as He Himself also was compassed with infirmity (Hebrews 5:1-2). He learned obedience by the things that He suffered, and finished His course as the perfect man and author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him (5:8-9). Jesus, the Mediatory Man, has an eternal and unchangeable priesthood. He is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and higher than the heavens (7:24-26). This is the Man before Whom all men every where shall one day stand to give an account.

Brethren, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ distinguishes the Christian faith from all other religions. It authenticates every word that proceeded from His lips as being the truth. It proves that He spoke the truth, lived the truth, and is the absolute embodiment of truth! His resurrection exposes every other religious system for what it is—a lie! He is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe! He is the Man Whom God has ordained, Who is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them! Amen!


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