Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The One True God!

Why are the Scriptures so persistent in Old and New Testament in driving home the point that there is only One True God, and that He alone is to be worshipped? Why did the Old Testament prophets, and the New Testament apostles so strongly resist the age-old temptation to concede legitimacy to the diversity of other “gods” that have been worshipped in ancient and modern times? Why was God so angry with Israel when they combined worship of Him with the worship of other gods? Why can’t Christians be satisfied to have the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—be considered the equal, or even the alter-ego of the “god” or “gods” of other world religions?

Imagine a trusted family doctor had set up a practice in a small community. He had completed medical school with an exemplary record, and quickly developed the trust and respect of his patients. He gave them the best care, and was practiced in a wide variety of treatments. Then, a stream of other clinics began to open in town, with sleek new buildings and impressive equipment. Patients began to flock to these new centers and seek the treatments of the doctors there. But these “doctors” were really pretenders, who had no medical training, but were in fact scam artists. They prescribed copious amounts of bogus medicines, and promised miracle cures through quack treatments. The trusted family doctor looked on in horror as the patients whom he had so faithfully cared for, abandoned his trusted care for the work of these scammers.

He was pained to see them receiving bogus treatments that could be harmful or even fatal to their condition. What would such a doctor do? He would do all in his power to persuade those patients to come to their senses and come back to receive the proper medical care. He would expose the work of the charlatans and scammers so that people would take notice and avoid them. In a similar way to this analogy, God cannot tolerate the false presentation of other gods that exalt themselves next to the true God and woo people to themselves. Neither does He tolerate the false promises of salvation that promise a cure or healing, but in fact are empty promises.

But the reality is far worse than the limits of our analogy, because while in real life there are many trained and trusted doctors, and there are legitimate choices among doctors and treatments—when it comes to God, He stands in a “League of His Own.” There is no one, no other “god”, no other substitute, that can take God’s place or do what He does. Anything else is a fraud. God alone offers the eternal cure for the sickness of our sins, and He offers this through Jesus Christ alone (Luke 5:31-32). God testifies that there is no other God like Him, no other God who can declare and set forth the future. God says, “Is there a God like me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” (Is. 44:6-8; cf. Is. 45:21-22) God compares the sin of His people in turning away from Him to turning away from the fountain of living water and instead digging for themselves broken wells that can hold no water (Jer. 2:13).

Since God alone is the true giver of all good, and because He alone is the Living Water, the source of life and salvation, He is rightly angered when false gods or false paths of salvation are put before His people. It’s the anger of a doctor who has a deep and vested interest and care for the health of his patient, watching the patient pursue a harmful path that leads to death. It’s the righteous anger of seeing frauds or charlatans pose for the real thing, when beneath they hold harmful intent. God has a true and lasting love for His people and pursues us all the way to the end of our natural lives. The reason the message of the Bible is consistently and passionately exclusive in naming God as the only true God, is that it is literally a matter of life and death. Our eternal salvation is at stake in the question of whether or not we believe in the One True God. With Him, there is life and salvation, through the merciful life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for us. Apart from Him there is no salvation, only an eternity separated from His love and goodness. The persistence of God is the persistence of His love and His urgent desire that we not be misled. Give thanks that God is not apathetic towards us, but instead shows us His steadfast love!

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