Thursday, January 22, 2015

"The ONE true God!"

Is there one true religion?  How do you know who the REAL God is … or if there is one?  Can anyone know for sure?  The Muslims worship their "god," Christians worship ours, other religions have their own ideas of "god" and some say there is no god.  There is only one place to begin … at the beginning.  Satan wants people to believe there was no beginning … thus, evolution.  Those who have given up on any meaning in life or in death go to this default setting because they cannot imagine anything else.  Their minds are darkened and they are spiritually dead.

But for the rest of us, there is really only one place to start:  the beginning.  As the Apostle Paul addressed the men of Athens he said, "I see that in every way you are very religious.  For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:  'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.'  Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you"  (Acts 17:22-23).  He claimed to know the one true God … to have knowledge that the men of Athens did not have.  The same is true for those of us who know God today.  God Himself has given us knowledge that other people do not yet have, and it is our calling to share it.

Paul went on to begin with creation:  "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.  From one man (Adam) He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live" (Acts 17:24-26).  That there is only ONE Creator, ONE God, should be clear to all except that they are spiritually dead and blind and make up all manner of "gods" in their own image to suit their own desires … gods that those who do not know the one true God think they can manipulate for their own purposes.

It is said that there are only three "mono-theistic" religions in the world:  Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  "Religious" Jews repeat the "shema" (the Hebrew word for "hear" or "listen") of Deuteronomy 6:4:  "Hear, O Israel:  The LORD our God, the LORD is one."  Christianity is the fulfillment of true biblical Judaism.  This one God, the Creator, reveals Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, and sends His Spirit into the world to work in those whom He has chosen (before He created the world - Ephesians 1:4).  This ONE God reveals that He exists in "three-in-oneness" - what we have called the "Trinity."   It would perhaps be better to say "Tri-unity" or "three-in-one," because the Father, Son and Spirit are ONE.

Jesus was aware of this when He prayed for the disciples and for those who would believe in Him through their message:  "I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You.  May they also be in us …" (John 17:21-22).  John writes, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.  In Him was life …" (John 1:1-4).  And, "the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father" (John 1:14).  And more:  "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made Him known" (John 1:18).

Jesus came to make the one true God known, and so He prayed to the Father, "Now this is eternal life:  that they may know YOU, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent" (John 17:3).  Jesus said, "I have revealed You to those whom You gave me out of the world" (John 17:6).  Knowing the true God requires revelation.  You cannot know Him apart from God revealing Himself to you by His Spirit.  God revealed Himself in Jesus and following Jesus' ascension into heaven God sent His Spirit to inspire the writers of the New Testament, as He had the prophets of the Old Testament, to give us knowledge of HIM.  Apart from God's revelation of Himself by His Word and Spirit no one would know Him.

While Jews know of the God of their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, most of them have not believed in Jesus as the Messiah, the One who came as true God in human form to make the perfect sacrifice for sin on the cross and to conquer death for all who would believe by His resurrection.  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the ONLY true God!  There is no other.  Islam claims to believe in this one God and people claim that Jews, Christians and Muslims all trace their religion back to Abraham, but it is not true.  Mohammed's "god" is NOT the God of Abraham.  Do not be deceived.  There is ONE true God and ONE true religion.  Christianity is the fulfillment of biblical Judaism.

As Paul continued to speak to the men of Athens in Acts 17, he says, "He (the Creator, this one true God) 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 all men by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).  The one true God became a man in order to reconcile sinful people like you and me to Himself and so reveal His mercy, love, compassion and grace.  This message is unique to Christianity and is found only in the Bible, God's Word, His revelation of Himself.

With one voice the writers of Scripture, from Genesis through Malachi, from Matthew through Revelation, reveal the truth of the God of creation who plans our salvation, who accomplishes our salvation and who will finally deliver our salvation when He creates a new heaven and a new earth and comes to live with us forever in a perfect new world - the home of righteousness (II Peter 3:11-13).  Will you be there?  In the chaos of this world, are you living with the sure and certain hope that comes by faith in Jesus Christ, the One who is the Way and the Truth and the Life?

There will be a day of judgment and the only escape is found in claiming the blood of Jesus as your payment for sin.  God … the one and only true God … has made a way for sinful people like you and me to be reconciled to Him.  You can know Him today by reading His Word and believing in Jesus Christ.  I pray that His Spirit confirms that message in your mind and on your heart today.  I pray that you find rest in the assurance that our God reigns over all things and over all people.  Evil men, deceived by Satan himself, do their worst, but God will deliver His people and we will one day see Him face to face.

Until then, may His truth lift you up and encourage you today, no matter what may be going on in your life.  May you know HIM and draw near to Him through faith in Jesus, offering Him your praise and thanks for His gift of salvation and living to proclaim His name to those around you.  There IS only ONE true God, and knowing HIM is life!!

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