So, do you have a God?
Some people call their ultimate god career, family, excitement or love. But everybody finds something to base their life on. No one wanders aimlessly, unless they choose wander aimlessly as an ultimate purpose. We all give our lives to something or someone. As musical theologian Bob Dylan wrote, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Christianity is just one track in a world of possible roads.
I want us to think soundly, honestly, and theologically about, “What is our track?”
“What are we seeking as Christians?”
The Bible teaches that God created the world and humanity “so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:27-28).
As Christians, the beginning point is that we are seeking God. But what God are we seeking? As I said, everybody is seeking some god. This is what theology is about. It defines the target our our faith and our search for God (theology means “god-study”). The Westminster Confession is a core theological statement of our Christian faith. It makes this bold statement about the God of the Bible:
“There is only one living and true God…”
Psalm 86:10 is clear: “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” Christians, along with some Jews and Muslims would ascribe to this core truth. This is a radical statement in our pluralistic world. There is but one true God. Exclusivity. If there is but one God, all other theological or lifestyle trails lead to false gods and empty philosophies. The three major religions agree, but then diverge. Only Christians believe Jesus, as God in flesh, when he says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). Pretty exclusive, right? It is a core of his Judeo-Christian thinking: one God, with all others as pretenders and idols. The way. No exceptions. “There is only one living and true God.” Jesus is the way to find him.
Living with Exclusivity
Does this make biblical-Christians narrow minded? Yes, theologically speaking. I will deal with the belief that “All roads (all religions) lead to God” in my next blog. Today, let me ask, “How do we then handle this theological exclusivity, and the conflict it will often cause?”
First, we die to our own pride by admitting we are not better or smarter than other people, no matter their beliefs. All humanity runs down wrong ways, and we have joined the race too often toward our own idols. As God’s chosen, we are simply under God’s good grace when he shows us the truth of his one path. We have been set right to follow “the one only, living God” by the one only, living God. It has nothing to do with us. And we still are imperfect theologians—we get some things wrong. Even those of us who are believers in the Bible must admit that Christians have made some serious mistakes in history. Humility is key.
Secondly, we seek patience for everyone who doesn’t agree with us. We give freedom to everyone. We let people choose whatever they desire to choose, while protecting the innocent. Recognizing that everybody is on a spiritual journey, we must give them time to find out how poor their own philosophies work. We offer space, praying that they might come to the dead-end box canyon of their idolatry. God works in time, and he is redeeming people based on a purposeful plan in time. He is reaching out in love, that “none should perish.” Sometimes dying-to-self is a long, brutal process.
Third, we overwhelm the world with our love. Whether they understand it or not, we love them. Practically, this means we sacrifice for them, we give up our time and attention for them, we serve them, we look for common ground with them, and we avoid conflict as often as is possible with them. This can be difficult. None-the-less, we trust, pray, and endure in love. It is the way of Jesus.
We cannot change the exclusive Oneness nature of God and still be Christians. But neither can we make people see our way from their vantage. We can, however, stand up for what we believe is true. And then we hold on, trust God and love more.
“There is only one living and true God…”
[…] wrote previously about the first tenet of Christian faith– we are seeking one living and true God. The statement comes from the Bible as summarizes in the Westminster Confession of […]