Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Knowing the True God

By Dennis Pollock


Of all the persons you can know, knowing God is without a doubt the most important. Many people believe it is not even possible to know God, and in the ultimate sense this is true. But in a more rudimentary sense we can know God, at least we can know as much of Him as He cares to reveal. The prophet Jeremiah declares that knowing God should be our greatest boast, writing:


Thus says the LORD:

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,

Let not the mighty man glory in his might,

Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;

But let him who glories glory in this,

That he understands and knows Me,

That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness,

judgment, and righteousness in the earth.

For in these I delight,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)


To know God in an experiential relationship, to know His ways, to have a history of interactions with Him and answered prayers, is infinitely beyond any other attainment men and women can achieve in life. It is superior to making billions of dollars, or having millions of adoring fans, or being known as the most successful individual in your field. Knowing God is worth the greatest expenditure of your time, and the most diligent efforts of which you are capable. It will do you far more good than the highest educational attainments. It is, far and away, our greatest achievement.


Ignorant Worship


Jesus told the Samaritan lady He met at the well: "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews." (John 4:22) He acknowledged that her people, the Samaritans, were worshipers, but their problem was that they had no idea about the God they worshiped. Their attempts at worshiping God were futile because they weren't interacting with the true God; they were not seeing God as He truly is. He went on to tell her: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24) If we are going to try to worship God, pray to God, and know God, we had better make sure that the God we are approaching is the right One. We must worship God in truth, as He truly is.


We cannot pretend a relationship with God when we have a completely inaccurate picture of Him. All the nations of the world in Bible times believed in "god," that is they believed that their particular god was the big boss over all the other lesser gods. They often believed that their god called for child sacrifice and were quite certain that he would inhabit the idols they created. So they bowed down to their idols and sometimes sacrificed their children, believing that this was true worship of "God." But they were not in touch with God at all. The apostle Paul wrote:


The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. (1 Corinthians 10:20)


Thinking they were sacrificing to God, they were in fact offering their sacrifices to malicious, evil spirits who delighted in tormenting them and leading them into all kinds of wicked practices, including ritual prostitution. They got it wrong about God, they failed to comprehend His true nature, and their mistaken ideas produced horrific and destructive results in their lives and their societies.


The "True" God


We often say that salvation and eternal life are given to those who trust in God and His Son Jesus Christ, and this is true. However, we must make sure that we are trusting in the true God. In both the Old and New Testaments God frequently gave His "ID." In the Old Testament He was known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God first began to reveal Himself to a man named Abraham (who started out as "Abram"). In those days there was no Bible to read, there were only stories of God's creation of the world beginning with Adam and Eve, of Noah's flood, and a few other times God had dealings with men and women.


Since Abraham had no Bible, God communicated with Him directly. He spoke in an audible or nearly audible voice so clearly that Abraham knew He was hearing from the Almighty. As a result of hearing the voice of God, Abraham became a man of faith, and passed his faith down to his son Isaac, who passed that faith and the knowledge of the mysterious Creator down to Jacob. All these men, from time to time, heard God's voice and became aware of something of which all the other people of the earth were ignorant: they learned that the Creator of heaven and earth was invisible. There was no need for idols. They related to God simply by speaking with Him, this invisible, enigmatic Being who took such an interest in their lives.


After many years a baby named Moses was born. He was raised in Pharaoh's household and became highly literate. God had a purpose in this, for it was Moses God anointed to write the first five books of the Bible, books which Jews call "The Torah." These books don't give us the complete nature of God, but they do shed a great deal of light about who He is and what He demands of His people. Through God's various commandments we learn that God expects us to worship Him only. He hates idolatry. He insists that we treat people well, not stealing, lying, murdering, or coveting the property of others.


God's "Self-description"


In the second Book of Moses, Exodus, we are told how God revealed Himself to the prophet and gave a description of Himself. Moses tells us:


And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:6-7)


The picture of God was becoming clearer. God was defining Himself. Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets frequently spoke of "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." But in the New Testament, this phrase is not used often. The apostle Paul instead referred to God as "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." In other words, the God that Jesus taught about and spoke of and revealed – this was the true God, this is His perfect nature, in case you wondered.


He was still the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but with Jesus' appearing, a more complete and perfect picture emerged. Now we didn't just have a good idea about God; we knew exactly what He was like. Jesus makes this crystal clear, telling Thomas: "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." (John 14:7)


Read the Bible – and Know Enough!


What all this means is that if we are to worship the Heavenly Father "in truth" we must worship Him as He reveals Himself in the Scriptures and in the life of Jesus of whom we read in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. As we read from Genesis to Revelation, paying special attention to the life, teachings, and acts of our Lord Jesus, we will get an accurate understanding of the nature of our Creator. We won't know everything about Him, of course. But we will know enough of Him to be saved, to have a relationship with Him, and to have the knowledge and power to please Him.


Many people talk about God in a very generic sense. They often will tell us that there are many roads to God – each of the religions of our world is just another path that leads to the exact same God. But nothing could be further from the truth. You cannot simply create a god out of your own imagination, or make a god in your own likeness, assigning him attributes as you wish him to have. But this is exactly what our world has done.


If someone came to me and told me, "I met your wife the other day at the grocery store," and then proceeded to describe her as short and plump with red hair, and walking with a limp, I would immediately know that they had never met or seen my wife. My wife is tall, not short, slim, not plump, with black hair, not red, and she does not walk with a limp. I would tell that person, "I don't know who you saw, but that was not my Benedicta. If this lady told you she was my wife, she was lying."


This is precisely what the religions of the world are doing and have been doing practically since the creation of the world. They make up all sorts of fantasies to fit their own desires, call it god, and indulge happily and lustfully in all kinds of wickedness. Rather than recognizing that God made them in His own image, they attempt to make a god based upon their own image and desires.


Knowing God through His Word


Abraham learned of God by hearing His voice. But today we learn of God through the Bible. We don't approach religion by making up a list of attributes that we feel the ideal god should possess. Instead we open our Bibles and start reading, accepting what we read as being God's own revelation of Himself: His likes and dislikes, His demands and commands, His means to give us eternal life (which is only through putting our faith in His Son Jesus Christ), His thoughts about heaven, hell, life, death, and thousands of other insights given us through the men who wrote the holy Scriptures, inspired and moved upon by the Holy Spirit.


This is why the Bible, and the life of Jesus must be emphasized in teaching, preaching, and writing. Through Scriptures we learn all we need to know about God. And we evangelical Christians (those who believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures) take the Bible seriously. We get together in homes and halls and have something we call "Bible studies." We go to church and hear our pastors instruct us in all kinds of Biblical concepts. We speak with Bible phrases and are quick to reference Bible stories in encouraging people who are struggling. And in our reading, we come to realize that God's plan for men and women is all about Jesus Christ, the One who came to our earth, lived a perfect life, went about healing the sick, and then died on the cross for our sins. We fully believe that three days after His death, God raised Him from the dead, and that He has commissioned us to share the good news of Jesus throughout the world wherever and however we can.


Our morality does not slide with the times. Because of our continual immersion in the Scriptures, we form deep convictions about what is right and what is wrong, what pleases God and what He considers an abomination. And when some opinionated celebrity spouts out that there are many roads to God, we do not believe him or her for a second. We have come to believe and know that Jesus Christ is the one and only way. We recognize that any other "god" people may worship and admire is no god at all, merely a spurious pretender. As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, we say to the Bible-rejecting people of our day: "You worship what you do not know. We who follow Jesus know whom we worship for salvation is found in Jesus Christ, the One of whom we have read in the Jewish Scriptures. For salvation is of the Jews." We praise God for the Jews, for the Scriptures they gave us, and for Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.





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