Saturday, May 5, 2012
Worship the same God?
Do Christians and Muslims and (fill-in-the-blank) all worship the same God? Sincere people ask this question, but it really is not the right question. First of all, we are not saved by worship, but by faith through grace. If two people worship the 'same God' and one has faith and the other does not, they are not on the same footing. One is saved and the other is not. This whole question of who we worship is less important than it seems. Now, I grant this, that it is important that you worship and serve the true and living God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am not saying that worship is irrelevant. Far from it. Some argue, in particular, about whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Some Christians say yes and others say no. There is merit to both arguments. One side argues that since the Christians worship God who is Triune and Muslims don't, then they do not worship the same God. The other side says that they both worship the one Creator God. As far as the former argument goes, we would have to conclude that Jews, who are not Trinitarian, must worship a different God than the Christians. But there is great difficulty here since the Christian God comes to us right out of the Old Testament. Christians and Jews both say that they worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So it seems that Trinitarianism alone is not a sufficient reason to say that one has a different God. But I am not ready to jump on the "we-all-worship-the-same-God" bandwagon. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, she argued about where God ought to be worshiped. Jesus told her that the Samaritans worshiped "what they did not know". The subject as to whether it was the same God never came up. It was not relevant. What was relevant was whether or not the true God accepted their worship. Jesus was clear on that point. He stated that salvation was from the Jews. (And Jesus, of course, was from the Jews.) The relevant question is not whether we have the same God, but whether we have the same Jesus. Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do men say that I am?". There were then, as there are now, multiple answers to that question. Then Jesus asked the disciples who they believed He was. Peter answered that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus told Peter that he was blessed. Peter got it right. We have to get it right as well. It's the most important question in the world. (Nonmessianic) Jews and Muslims get this wrong. Some who call themselves Christians get this wrong. This is where the rubber meets the road. For God to accept you into His eternal kingdom, you must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Paul said that we must reject those who "preach another Jesus". John said that those who deny the deity of Jesus are Antichrist and are liars. So the real question is not whether we worship the same God, but whether we worship the same Jesus.