Manifest identity

“… Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20 NKJV).

It came as something of a surprise to me, over a period of several years, that our common English word “God” is not a name of a specific divine being. It is rather the generic term meaning “a divine being.” Hindus and Buddhists may name thousands of gods. Adherents to other religions may refer to different specific beings as “god” than that intended by readers and believers of the Bible. Continue reading “Manifest identity”

Yet for us there is one God

The study of the nature of God is a deep and wide well. To plumb the depths and probe the bounds would require more than we can give. How can mortal mind parse the divine? God has given us a good bit of information concerning himself. But try to fully understand God in the flesh. You can have until heaven.

“Yet for us there is one God.”

To the Corinthians, who struggled mightily with idols, Paul wrote:

“Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that ‘there is no God but one.’ For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6).

In contrast to these dead idols who have “no real existence,” there stands the one God. Continue reading “Yet for us there is one God”

The day is coming, the day is here

The fortunes of men wax and wane. Religions expand and contract. God is over all, he is in control, he guides history toward the end that he determines. Christians rejoice in his sovereignty. The coming of Jesus is their hope. Their prayer seeks to bring him all the more quickly to usher them into eternal life.

There is only one God. There has ever been only one God. Man has exalted himself and created gods galore. But one day the Lord will be seen to be one and his deity singular in number. This is the messianic prophecy of Zechariah. Continue reading “The day is coming, the day is here”

The need of the hour

The need of the hour can color the approach a teacher takes to the runway of eternal salvation. Jude changed his writing topic, so urgent was the topic he was required to address. In Galatians, Paul charges quickly into his subject, skipping over his usual introductory thanksgiving for the readers.

Some might believe that in many places in the world today the church of God needs to hear a special message. Some are already speaking it, so these words join themselves to a growing chorus of speeches and words on the theme.

The church needs to return to its one subject matter: salvation from sin and eternal life in Jesus Christ. Continue reading “The need of the hour”

One God who forgives sins

When Jesus forgave the paralytic man of his sins, the scribes went berserk. Mounce’s translation bring to the fore a fascinating thought: “Why does this man speak like that? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins except the One God?” Mark 2.7. Most versions translate it as “God alone,” “only God,” or something similar. CEB puts it this way: “Why does he speak this way? He’s insulting God. Only the one God can forgive sins.”

The scribes were much like Job’s friends. Much of what they had to say was spot on, Matthew 23.1-3. But their application of it was way off. It is true that, in the absolute sense, only God can forgive sins. What the scribes missed was that Jesus is God. And God is one. The one God has one plan for forgiveness. Continue reading “One God who forgives sins”

Jehovah or me

The Shema has formed the foundation of Jewish prayers for millennia: “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God will all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 ASV). When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus quoted the Shema.

He is one Jehovah. It is here we find that Jehovah is the only true God. There is no other. He alone is worthy of full devotion.

Some translations, like the Lexham English Bible, translate it like this, “Yahweh is unique.” He stands alone among all so-called gods as supreme. He alone is worthy of full devotion. Continue reading “Jehovah or me”

If one God created us all

Bible translations made for people with limited reading skills often remove many of the literary devices that enrich reading and communicate the message with powerful impact. It’s understandable why they do it, and not altogether inappropriate. At the same time, something is lost in this type of translation. (Something gets lost in every translation, so let’s not be too harsh.)

The prophet Malachi uses a series of three questions to accuse the people of Israel of breaking their covenant with God. The first two are rhetorical questions, that is, the answers are obvious. Then he comes in with a third question, based on the first two, that grabs the readers and demonstrates the inconsistency and folly of their actions. Some versions even start the third question with the adverb “then.” (See ESV: “Why then …?”) Continue reading “If one God created us all”

God judges because he loves

Theologians make their fine distinctions and hard classifications. They like the old idea of taking one thing at a time. They consider God’s holiness, then move on to his love. Such an approach is probably acceptable, as far as it goes.

The various and wonderful aspects of God’s nature and personality are a single unit. Westerners like to break things down into their component units. The ancient Hebrews, however, liked to pull things together, considering them as a whole. The former group excels in analysis; the latter, in synthesis.

When it comes to the one true God, the Hebrew approach recommends itself. If God is one, his nature partakes of that oneness. Continue reading “God judges because he loves”

7 truths about God in Ezekiel 33

The Old Testament is a rich mine of truths about God and his ways. The prophets reveal the divine heart and intentions. Get a taste of truths about God from this little slice of Ezekiel 33.

No. 1. God is a revealer. “The word of the Lord came to me” (Ezekiel 33:1, ESV). He tells man what he is doing and what he expects. God does nothing without letting us know his intentions and actions (Amos 3:7; Ephesians 3:5). Things he reveals are for us all, that we might obey his commands and thereby find joy and peace (Deuteronomy 29:29). God’s revelation to us, now contained in the Bible, is for our salvation. “The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations” (Psalm 98:2). Continue reading “7 truths about God in Ezekiel 33”