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Worship the true God

How often do we hear this sort of thing: ‘I like to think of God as the Great Architect (or Mathematician or Artist).” “I don’t think of God as a Judge; I like to think of his simply as a father.” We know from experience how often remarks of this kind serve as a prelude to a denial of something the Bible tells us about God. It needs to be said with the greatest possible emphasis that those who hold themselves free to think of God as they like, are breaking the second commandment. At best they can only think of God in the image of man – as an ideal, perhaps, or a superman. But God is not any sort of man. We are made in His image but we must not think of him existing in ours. To think of God in such terms is to be ignorant of Him, not to know him.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,” God tells us; “neither are your ways my ways,” for, ‘as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isa 55: 8,9). Paul speaks in the same vein, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord?” (Rom 11:33-34)

God is not the sort of person we are; his wisdom, his arms, his scale of values, his mode of procedure differ so vastly from ours that we cannot possibly guess our way to them by intuition or infer them by analogy form our notion of ideal manhood. We cannot know him unless he speaks and tells us about himself.

But in fact he has spoken, to and through his prophets and apostles, and he has spoken in the words and deeds of his own Son. Through this revelation, which he has made available to us in the Holy Scripture, we may form a true notion of God; without it we never can.

How far are we keeping the second commandment? Granted, there are no bull images in our church, and no crucifix in our houses, but are we sure that the God whom we seek to worship is the God of the Bible, the triune Jehovah? Do we worship the one true God in truth? Or are our ideas of God such that in reality we do not believe in the Christian God, but in some other, just as the Muslim or Jew or Jehovah’s Witness does not believe in the Christian God, but in some other?

You may say, how can I tell? Well, the test is this. The God of the Bible has spoken in his Son. The light of the knowledge of his glory is given to us in the face of Jesus Christ. Do I look habitually to the person and work of Jesus Christ as showing me the real truth about the nature and the grace of God? Do I see all the purposes of God as centering upon him?

If I have been enabled to see this, and in mind and heart to go to Calvary and lay hold of the Calvary solution, then I can know that I truly worship the true God, and that He is my God, and that I am even now enjoying eternal life, according to our Lord’s own definition, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

From J.I. Packer’s Knowing God. I strongly recommend this book to all of you.