Where did you get your concepts of God? Here is a surprising truth that may shock you!
You may have heard the emotional evangelist ask on television: "Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ tonight? Do you feel his presence in your heart?" Is an emotional "feeling" the WAY you come to know and understand the true God? Most religious people have simply grown up mimicking from childhood the type of religious talk and attitude their elders displayed. They have not PROVED why they believe as they do or why they picture God and think of him as they do. Yet, to really KNOW God — to become acquainted with him — and to ultimately be BORN as his literal son — this is the supreme PURPOSE of your life! How, then, can you truly KNOW God — his thoughts and attitudes — the WAY he will act — what kind of personality he really is?
God Reveals His Nature
There are three basic means by which you can come to know and really understand the true God — the Creator of heaven and earth. The first way is by carefully studying what God has produced — his creation — the thing we sometimes call nature. The apostle Paul knew this. He was inspired to write in Romans 1:20, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made...." So evident is the supreme intelligence of God in his creation, that the atheist is totally without excuse for denying God's existence. This is a law-abiding universe. God is clearly revealed in nature as a God of LAW and order — of supreme wisdom and purpose behind every creation. Try to break the law of gravity sometime! The unity of nature — the constancy of its inexorable laws — all point to the nature and character of the Creator. God's creation did not evolve! Its laws remain the same. Charles Darwin's own son said, "We cannot prove that a single species has been changed." God decreed (Gen. 1:25) that every plant and animal should bring forth "after his kind." Not once has this decree been violated. God's laws do not change! All nature thunders forth this truth. This principle applies to spiritual as well as physical things. Study God's creation if you truly wish to understand your Creator. The Bible and "nature" both teach that God's plan and his laws do not alter. "The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness" (Ps. 111:7-8).
Second Witness Needed
In contrast to the united testimony of nature, human beings are divided and confused in their ideas of God. It has been said, "Man creates God in his own image." In the majority of cases, that is true! People of every nation and tongue have always worshiped something. But their "god" was usually a product of their imaginations — a god that would conform to their human standards, laws and ways of looking at things. Even today, most professing Christians read their OWN idea of God into the Bible. Their conception of God is just as narrow and limited as their own environment, training and mental outlook has been. Other people go to the opposite extreme. They think of God as a far-off spiritual power with little or no direct concern with the human family. They imagine that God is "wise" enough to let us alone to choose our own amusements, society, laws — our own religion the way we want to have it. They think they are philosophic, cosmopolitan, modern. So they make God in their own image! In every nation, city and family there are people with differing human ideas of what God is like. Let's QUIT trying to make God in our own image! The Holy Bible is the revealed Word of the Creator God. It was written to show us the nature of God, and how we should live and worship him — that we might be his children. Diligently studying your Bible is the second way to come to know God. It is the second witness needed to dispel man's confusion in his ideas of God. If you have proved and really believe that the Bible is the inspired revelation from God to man, then you should clearly realize that God's Word is not to be argued with — or falsely interpreted to bolster pet doctrines.
The Bible Carries Authority
We may have had our own preconceived human idea of God. But if we want the truth, let's put that aside and search God's Word to find out how he reveals himself to us. Remember that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Tim. 3:16). The Bible is to correct and reprove us — to show us where we are wrong. Will we let it? God says, "I am the Lord, I change not..." (Mal. 3:6). We find that Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8). The Father and the Son do not whimsically change their plans and principles, OR THEIR LAWS. They "change not." At this point, it is important to realize that Christ was the God or "LORD" of the Old Testament! In John 1:1-5, we find that Christ was the "Word" or "Spokesman" who was with the Father from the beginning. All things were created by Jesus Christ (verse 3 and Col. 1:16). Christ was the spiritual Rock that went before and protected the children of Israel, and that gave them the Ten Commandments (I Cor. 10:1-4). God in the person of Jesus Christ is the one who gave the LAW that most preachers hate today! Why do they hide their eyes from the Christ who is supreme LAWGIVER? Do they think that Christ has changed? Your Bible says NO! God's methods and laws are basically the same from Genesis to Revelation. Apparently not realizing this, most self-appointed preachers will tell you about the "God of the Old Testament" in contrast with Christ in the New Testament. Then they go on to say that Christ preached one gospel, and the apostle Paul preached a different gospel! They are in CONFUSION. In Revelation 17:5, God names this mixed-up, divided system of churchianity "Babylon the Great," which literally means "Great Confusion." God's true people are commanded to come out of this system (Rev. 18:4). Why? Because these churches don't know the true God! Satan has his own false ministers who appear to be the ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:15). These false ministers are deceiving people, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not... " (II Cor. 4:4). How can these people be so easily deceived? First, because they blindly follow human tradition and these false ministers and therefore have a FALSE conception of God. And second, because they are spiritually too LAZY to study their Bibles and come to know the true God and his way.
Jesus Reveals Father
Jesus came in the flesh to reveal the Father. He showed that God's law would be in force until heaven and earth should pass away (Matt. 5:18). He didn't come to destroy God's law, but to fulfill it (verse 17). And fulfill means to do or perform, NOT to do away with. When a young man came to ask Jesus how to be saved, he was told, "Keep the COMMANDMENTS" (Matt. 19:17). Indeed, Jesus' whole ministry was one of revealing God as the supreme Lawgiver and Ruler. He preached the good news of the coming kingdom or GOVERNMENT of God (Mark 1:14). That is the true Gospel — the good news of God's government, God's RULE. The very foundation of Jesus' teaching was that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). What word? What God? Those Jews knew very well that Christ was referring to the God of the Old Testament — the giver of the LAW — the God who was to RULE Israel. The only "word" of the true God — at that time — was the Old Testament as contained in your Bible! Jesus referred to the "law" — the Old Testament writings — as Scripture, and he said, "the scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
Christ Our Example
Most professing Christian ministers talk about Christ as some sort of hero and Savior. They picture Jesus as a sweet but helpless little baby at Christmas time and as a Savior who has gone "way off to heaven" at Easter time! Their conception is that he came to die for men, but that his teaching carries NO AUTHORITY, today! Your Bible' says the exact opposite! In John 1:4, we find that Jesus' life was the "light" of men. It was to show them. God's way to live. Peter was inspired to write, "... Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (I Pet. 2:21). Now read I John 2:6. It is more properly rendered in the Moffatt translation. Speaking of Christ, John wrote, "He who says he 'remains in him' ought to be living as he lived. Jesus is our perfect example! If we say we are Christian — that we "remain in him" — we ought to be LIVING as he lived! Are you? If you don't believe in and try to follow Jesus' example, you' don't understand what kind of God the true God is. You are ignorant of how to worship and obey the God and Father of Jesus Christ. What was Jesus' example? Jesus' entire life is a perfect example of OBEDIENCE to God's law and his rule! He said, "I have kept my Father's commandments" (John 15:10). His own teaching was simply a magnification of God's law (Isa. 42:21). Actually, he came in the flesh to magnify his own law — the Ten Commandments! Remember? He was the God of the Old Testament who gave the Ten Commandments and dealt with Israel (I Cor. 10:1-6). When he came in the flesh, Jesus KEPT that law to set us an example. He was our "light," our example. A true Christian is simply one who follows Christ — who follows that example. Do you begin to see the true nature of the living God? He is the ONE who has set all physical and spiritual laws and energies in motion. He has an overall plan for this earth — he is Supreme Ruler.
God is RULER. If we become his children through repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), we may be "born again" (John 3:1-8) — changed into, actually born of spirit as a literal son of God! God is reproducing himself! He — the Creator and Ruler of the universe — is begetting human beings through his Spirit to be born as his sons — to be in his own Family — to inherit eternal life. But we must first learn how to live before God will grant us eternal life and make us his own sons. We must develop God's wisdom, God's character. We must "live by every word of God." Realizing that the Creator knows best, we should OBEY him, to deny this is to admit a profound ignorance of the Eternal God's great wisdom and purpose! It betrays a lack of understanding of the character of the true God. The apostle John summed it all up when he wrote of Christ — the God of the Old Testament, the giver of the LAW He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:4). God himself calls these lawless ministers liars when they try to deny the authority of his RULE, the wisdom of his LAW, and the very basis of his great PURPOSE. It is time to wake up! May God help you to repent of defying his rule, of breaking his laws, and guide you to accept Christ as your Savior from sin. Then you may begin to develop the character of God and be born of the Spirit as his son in the resurrection. You need to come to know the true God as your Father.
Talk to God
Once you come to really know the true God — the God revealed by Jesus Christ — you will want to talk to him. You may do this in prayer. This is the third way you may come to really "know" the true God. As you come to know God in this way, you will soon realize that here, too, you have to OBEY God if you expect an answer. But you will find that God is Love — and that he will gladly grant any request that is good for you under the circumstances. You will also discover that he has POWER to heal you when you are sick, to deliver you in miraculous ways from trouble and to bless you in a manner beyond human comprehension. So get to know God by talking to him often. And remember — the combined testimonies of nature, of the Bible and of answered prayer all reveal the same true God. He is the all-wise, all-powerful, law-giving RULER of the universe. Are you willing to acknowledge his government, obey his laws and inherit eternal life as his child?