It has been said, “In the beginning God created man in His image, and ever since man has been trying to return the favor.” We recognize the humor in this statement because of the truth contained in it. For many God is not who He says He is, but who they think He is.
Dr. D. James Kennedy, former pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and founder of Evangelism Explosion, told an interesting story of sharing Christ with a woman. In attempting to show the importance of making a decision for Christ, he told her our eternal destination of heaven or hell depended on it. The woman would respond to his overtures by saying her god was a god of love and would never send anyone to hell. He finally realized she was right, her god was a god of love and would never send anyone to hell, but her god was one of her own imagination; he was not the God of the Bible.
This story highlights something that can be witnessed every day around us; people who say they believe in God but trust their imagination as to what His nature and will are like. If God exists, and I only say “if” rhetorically, do we really believe His nature and will are what we think?
If you were to visit our church’s website (www.wayword.info) and navigate to the page “What We Believe” you would notice, like many other churches, our statement of faith begins with our stand on the Scriptures and is followed by several doctrinal statements. The order of these articles of faith is not the product of mere happenstance. There is purpose in their order. We begin with a declaration of what we believe about the Bible because every subject that follows is predicated on what the Scriptures teach. It follows that what we believe about God should be found in His Word.
The things I believe about God are not based on what politicians think, what celebrities say, or what other religions believe. The things I believe about God are rooted in that which He has revealed to us about Himself in the Bible. In every instance in life I have found His Word to be an indispensable and infallible guide to those issues that are really important, and that would include those things He has revealed regarding His nature and will. As a result, I am not confused about who God is, nor baffled by what he expects.
I do not expect people who do not believe in God to read the Bible, and, subsequently, I do not expect the things they say about Him to be accurate. But I do expect those who claim Christ to read the Scriptures, and not be ignorant of who He is, or susceptible to the false perspectives of others. Even the teaching and preaching of God’s Word in church each week should not be a revelation of what the Bible says but a confirmation of what it teaches. Biblical preaching serves to explain and how to apply the teachings of Scripture, but it is not a substitute for reading and studying the Bible personally. The believer whose sole knowledge of the Scriptures is spoon-fed to him or her on Sunday mornings from the pulpit is doomed to a perpetually malnourished and immature faith.
There has never been a time in the history of the Church when the Bible has been more readily available to believers in both plentitude and variety of versions. In most instances, there is no reason for a seasoned Christian to be ignorant of what the Bible teaches about God and a host of other issues. It is time we cease allowing ourselves to be distracted by other pursuits and give ourselves to the reading of His word.
Let us heed the admonition of the Apostle Paul to the Romans, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).” Only then can we have a righteous influence on our culture, and put an end to the culture’s unrighteous influence on the Church.
Who is your god? Is he the god of your imagination or the God of the Bible? “Who do you say that I am?” Mark 8:29.