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Calvary Chapel of the Foothills: A Lot of Bad Ideas

Published on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 | 2:08 pm
 

Over the centuries, human beings have developed innumerable false ideas and concepts of God. The Greeks believed gods controlled and governed the passions of men. They had a god for each emotion, a deity for each passion. They worshiped the planets, the sun, the moon, and the constellations. They worshiped many gods, all of whom they believed to be selfish and self-centered, interested only in using their powers for their own ends.

The Romans adopted the gods of the Greeks, as well as many other deities from the far-flung lands they conquered. If you go to India today and look at the Hindu temples, you’ll get an idea of what it means to worship hundreds and even millions of gods—some of whom look horribly grotesque.

So what is God really like?

The Bible says that God committed the revelation of Himself to only one nation: Israel.

So Paul asks in his letter to the Romans, “What advantage then has the Jew…? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1-2). That is, in history God had spoken exclusively to one nation, the Jewish people, and revealed Himself to them.

God entrusted ancient Israel with His revelation so that His people might share that revelation with the rest of humanity. Unfortunately, they became very clannish and failed to share that revelation of God with the world; instead, they kept it pretty much to themselves. By the time Jesus came to earth, they had so misused God’s revelation that Jesus told them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a den of thieves” (Mark 11:17).

Jesus called the religious leaders of the time “blind” and warned they were leading the blind straight into a ditch (Matthew 15:14). He also said, “If your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that dark­ness!” (Matthew 6:23).

In this way, even God’s chosen people had developed a false concept of God. They came to believe that God was very exacting and cruel. They thought of Him as harsh, unreasonable, and demanding. They thought God required far more from them than anyone could produce; and so multitudes turned away from God and began to hate His ways—and all because of the exacting, punctilious ways by which they sought to apply their false interpretations of the laws of God.

In such a skewed context, it is easy to see why most people felt they could never draw close to God. They never had a hope of growing inti­mate with Him—and really, because of their warped concept of God, they didn’t especially want to draw close to Him.

Unfortunately, in many places this remains true even to the present day. God still is badly misrepresented. So we see little demigods standing before large crowds and declaring their distorted concepts of God, which are actually just a reflection of themselves and their desire to control their followers. They too represent God as demanding and requiring sacrificial support—in truth, only because the leader wants to maintain a lavish lifestyle. And so they make a farce out of God.

Do you see why it was so necessary for Jesus to come and give us a true revelation of God? That little Babe lying in the manger is God incar­nate, in human flesh. He would grow up to be a man and would travel around Israel to reveal the truth about the Father. Jesus came for that purpose. If you want to know God and understand the truth about God, then you have to look at what Jesus said and did, for in Him you will find the revelation of God.

– excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith

Calvary Chapel of the Foothills, 663 1/2 Foothill Blvd, La Cañada Flintridge, (818) 790-0064 or visit www.calvarychapel.com.

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