Acts 17:26 From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands.”

Athens was one of the most influential city-states of ancient Greece. Named after the goddess Athena, the very invention of democracy arose from this people. The Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Agora all decorated this glorious city that 500 years earlier had been known for its theater as well as being a hub of cultural, political, and military might.

When Paul arrived in 51 A.D., the luster had worn off and this once great city was but a shadow of its former self. Having risen into an imperial city, Athens was known for other notables that precluded Paul including Thucydides and Herodotus, famous historians, Hippocrates, the patron saint of the medical profession, and Socrates, the philosopher.

It’s important to understand the history and perspective of a people when taking them into account. Without speaking to the condition of a people or knowing from where they’ve come, we might not understand how they came to be.

Proverbs 23:10-11 “Do not move an ancient landmark
or enter the fields of the fatherless,
for their Redeemer is strong;
he will plead their cause against you.”

Boundaries were a big issue for city-states. A citystate was an independent sovereign city which served as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. A modern day city-state would be the Vatican, in Rome. These territories were renowned throughout the world for thousands of years and the power struggles that accompanied these forms of life created much upheaval.

This disorder and chaos of man is confronted by the order and boundaries of God.

Psalm 74:16-17 “Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter.”

The athenians as well as every other person in the world had a clear understanding for the necessity of boundaries. It was understood that without a boundary being clearly marked and established in power, it would be broached by an invading army soon enough.

The establishment of our boundaries is something that is easy to miss when people aren’t spiritually inclined. Just like a people in a given city-state may encroach upon an ill defined border if not properly marked, we might also offend a spiritual boundary unless it is defined.

Acts 17:30-31 “Although God overlooked the ignorance of earlier times, He now commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”

God’s defined Boundaries

  • You Shall have no other gods before Me. The athenians were renowned for idolatry, the major deities of the Greek Pantheon each defied God’s authority. Had these false gods helped the Greeks? Historically, the One true God had been forsaken among their people and the destruction of this city showed its negligence for honoring the Lord as their deliverer.
  • You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Not only did the idolatry of Greece bring with it destruction, it encouraged the judgement of God upon their people. Worship of anything or anyone other the Creator is giving allegiance to demonic worship of idols made by man. It is a form of pride to lay claim to any deity that is contrived by man.

The spiritual boundaries that God has ordained is His moral law, it is fixed and those who broach it have a death sentence upon their heads. This standard of righteousness is one that not only directs people to the Throne of God, it gives freedom from the destructive heresies this world contrives. The beauty of God’s law is that it eventually leads to Jesus. He is the One who will ultimately bring peace.

What boundaries have you placed in your life?

The means by which we make these markers is reflective of the core of our belief system. The boundary markers become principles by which we live and are founded in God’s Word, if you follow this path you will be blessed. If you have established principles that are grown out of worldly philosophy, then the very sin of the athenians is being renewed all over again in you.

Proverbs 15:25 “The LORD will destroy the house of the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow.”

To those who are weak, the Lord becomes their strength. The widow isn’t the only one the Lord cares for, she is just a type cast of a person who has been left vulnerable. It is to those who humble themselves under God’s mighty strength are those who receive His power. He establishes our boundaries and none shall cross them without His approval.

Proverbs 12:7 “The wicked are overthrown and perish, but the house of the righteous will stand.”

Continuous attempts to attack, defend, overthrow, and counterattack….this was the existence of those who lived in the city-states of old. God’s people are also under a continuous spiritual attack today. The Kingdom of God is like a spiritual city-state, it is the one that has been established by Jesus and formed by the apostles of old, it will also be the only Kingdom that will remain when the New Jerusalem is established in the days to come.

The strength of our city is found in our King.

The Lord reigns now and it is His seat of power that will be evident to all in the future.

Whether it was Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, or any other great thinker in history, the men who missed the mark as to who God truly was should serve as a warning today for the need to carefully consider our ways.

Where have we placed our hope? By what measure have we lived our lives?

“It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one”


The questions I ask are ones I must consider myself. It is so easy to get distracted by the enticements of this world. It is far too easy to succumb to the rigors of life, temptations that surround us, and weakness of the flesh. If we are to be vigilant in our walk as testimonies of God’s light, we must remind ourselves who we are living for….and where is our citizenship?

Philippians 3:20 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”

God’s people are a people who have been set apart from this world. Like a city that is set upon a hill for all to see, the Kingdom of God beckons the weary soul to come take rest.

The requirements to enter this Kingdom are well defined. The way is straight and the gate is narrow. You may only enter through the covenant of the cross. Leaving behind all of this world, is to die to your past and allow the Lord to form you as His own.

1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

It is by grace that God’s people are saved. Belief is revealed by action. Those who trust the Lord do so by the way they live their lives. The citizens of Heaven have been redeemed from death to life, they no longer stand condemned.

To which city do you belong?

Do your actions reveal your citizenship? Do you follow the King of Glory?

It’s easy to say one thing and do another, the Lord and the world both consider it hypocrisy.

It is time for God’s people to be separate. Let holiness be found among you and then your light will shine brightly for all to see.

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