April 29, 2009
And God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the Lord your God, . . . You shall have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:1-2a, 3a
Surveys are getting on my nerves.
Now, LifeWay Research has announced the results of a survey of folks who don't go to church. Of those surveyed, 72 percent say, "God, (that is) a higher or supreme being, actually exists." The same percentage says the church is "full of hypocrites." Also 44 percent of those surveyed said, "Christians get on my nerves."
It gets worse.
Only 52 percent of the people interviewed believe "Jesus died and came back to life" and 61 percent maintain the God of Scripture is "no different from the gods or spiritual beings depicted by world religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc."
When I read that survey, a question kept cropping up in my mind: Where do these folks get their information? Does anybody out there know any knowledgeable adherent of any of these faiths who maintains that religions are interchangeable and our deities have only cosmetic differences?
I've never run into a Muslim who said, "Yup, Allah and the Triune God are the same. The only difference between Christianity and Islam are the names we call our gods. In truth, when you get right down to it, we all basically believe the same thing."
Similarly, the God of the Bible isn't bamboozled by this foolishness. In the First Commandment, God told His freed people "You shall have no other gods before Me." Jesus agreed when He said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).
Notice Jesus didn't say to love A God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (emphasis mine).
Truly, there is only one God of grace. There is only one Name, which forgives our sins. There is only one Mediator between us and the Father. There is only one Savior who willingly gave His life and rose, so that we might be saved -- only one.
Tragically, the world is forgetting that unique, blood-bought salvation. This means we, the Savior's representatives, need to do some reminding, especially to those close to us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, "The fool says in his heart there is no god" (Psalm 14:1a). Maybe the fool also says all gods are alike. If I know such a person, may I share the Savior's story of salvation with that individual. Help me to avoid hypocrisy, even as I clearly show that Your grace -- Your grace alone -- saves lost souls. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries