Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Friday, May 16, 2008

“How do you know you have the right God?”

Good question. There are many religions and many ways that are said to lead to God, so how do we know that we have the right one? There are ancient Greek and Roman gods. There is the Aztec god. There’s the god of the Mormons. He lives on a distant planet with a number of wives, making spirit babies to populate other planets, and we can become gods like him if we do what the Mormon religion requires. Then there is the buffet god--the god of Oprah. You pick and choose what you like from all the religions, and then create a god in your own image, one that suits you. Then again, you could make evolution your god, and give it praise for creating everything through (super)natural selection. You could even see yourself as god. Many do. The God of the Hebrews said, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). That God maintains that we are directly responsible to Him for our thoughts, words, and deeds.

The prophets of a god named Baal believed that he was God, the Creator. Elijah, a Hebrew prophet, said that he wasn't. So, they both built separate altars, and Elijah said that whoever answered by fire would be the one true God. The prophets of Baal prayed their hearts out and nothing happened. Elijah prayed, and fire fell from the heavens and burned up the sacrifice completely. There was nothing left. (See 1 Kings 18:20-40.)

Here’s how you can know the right way. You have a dilemma that is even greater than the one you think you have of not knowing which is the right God. It’s the dilemma of "guilt." Everyone has it. You can drown it in booze or say it doesn’t exist, or insist that you don't feel guilt, but it is still something you have. This is because it's not a feeling; it's a condition.

Let’s look at one of the Ten Commandments to see what I mean. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27,28). Are you guilty? Of course you are. Lust leaves us all guilty. We lust sexually, and whether we believe it or not, we are going to stand before the Creator and give an account of ourselves, right down to the sexual imagination of the heart.

The conscience produces guilt, and guilt produces fear of impending judgment. We can say, “I don’t believe that,” but our unbelief doesn’t erase the guilt. Nor can it erase the reality of the impending judgment of Hell. It’s still there.

In comes the gospel. It says that Jesus Christ suffered and died to take away my sin and my guilt. He came to erase it completely. The gospel explains that a legal transaction took place between the Creator and humanity 2,000 years ago, through the suffering death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I violated the moral Law of the Creator, and Jesus paid my fine so that my case could legally be dismissed.

Here's the promise of the gospel. Upon my repentance and faith in Jesus, my guilt will disappear. All of it. Not for lust only, but for all of my sins--for ingratitude, rebellion, greed, unbelief, lying, stealing, fornication, etc. All the guilt disappears upon repentance and faith in Jesus. Oprah can’t do that. The great religions can’t do that. Neither can Mormonism. No other god can wash away my sins, because no other god answered by the fire of His wrath and consumed the sacrifice. That happened 2,000 years ago when Christ died on the cross. God accepted His sacrifice.

All manmade religions still offer sacrifices. That’s the altar upon which they are built--the sacrifice of prayer, of giving money, of giving time, of doing good works, of doing penance, of fasting, etc. They have to sacrifice, because they still have guilt, because the conscience demands a continual sacrifice. Not so with Christianity. The guilt is removed because the sacrifice was accepted. Completely. And our guilt is dismissed through simple repentance and faith in Jesus. (Again, I'm not talking about a sense of guilt, but our actual condition--we're no longer lawbreaking criminals before a holy God.) It’s so simple a child can understand it. Obey the gospel, and the guilt is replaced by absolute assurance of everlasting life. Death loses its sting . . . “and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

For more details on how Christianity is superior to other religions, see our booklet "Why Christianity?" which you can view freely online here: