Friday, February 24, 2012

The One Way God of the Old Testament

Exodus 23:31-32 “I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you. 32“You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods.

Recent statistics on American churches beliefs about there only being one way to God
The Pew Forum, a research group that conducts surveys on topics related to Christianity, polled 35,000 Americans, many of which were considered "Evangelical".  An evangelical is someone who holds to "The Evangel" (The Gospel) and believes that the event of Christ's death, burial and resurrection becomes an experience in a person's life by grace through faith alone.  When asked whether Jesus was the only way to God, only 49% of those claiming to be Bible-believing Christians believed that to be the case. 

God is exclusively God 
When you survey the scriptures, you discover that the Bible is very clear on the subject of salvation's exclusivity.  As can be seen in the above verse, the Old Testament has God being very exclusive: He and He alone is the only God.  The Jewish people were repeatedly told not to regard the religions around them, since those religions did not advocate real gods - but rather non-existent ones.   God is not merely the greatest among all other gods, He Alone is the One true God, there is not other Savior. (Isaiah 43:10-11)

God is exclusive about salvation
As you read on into Exodus 24-40, The Lord reveals to Moses (the human author of Exodus) the details of the worship and sacrificial system of Israel called the Tabernacle.  Each ritual and piece of that worship center emphasized this point: salvation is only in the God of revealed scripture.  When you approached the Tabernacle, there was only one way of entry.  You could only be made right with the Lord by one method - the shedding of blood of an innocent sacrifice.  There was only one way you could relate to this God - the Priesthood of which He had prescribed.  The three-fold accomplishment of salvation: reconciliation, cleansing and restoration, was in the Old Testament accomplished by One way revealed by God. 

God is exclusive about the book He used to reveal the exclusive salvation
As you can see, the idea of there only being one way with God did not just begin in the New Testament.  We have seen the Old Testament's insistence on there being One God.  Second, that this One God revealed one system through which He prescribed the way of salvation.  In keeping with His method, God also spoke words to one group in the Old Testament - the Prophets, who wrote a series of books in the Old Testament era that were known by the Jews as the Law, the Prophets and the writings.  These books were individually identified immediately after their composition as God's word.  As a collection, the books that our now our current 39 books were a well established "canon" or standard by the days of the return from Exile under Ezra the scribe in 530 b.c.  The Jews for centuries prior recognized the books that were "God's word" versus other writings that either were not His word or were pagan rituals to be rejected. 

God is an exclusive God because He by nature is true
The scriptures are emphatic on God being by nature the True and living God.  He governs His world by justice and righteousness, which are attributes issuing forth from His nature as the True God. (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 89:14).  Therefore we can conclude today's blog with this thought as to why the God of scripture in the Old Testament is The One way God:
1. Truth by its nature is exclusive.  It standardizes what is real and right from what is imaginary and wrong.

2. God is by nature Truth.

3. Therefore God must be and can only be Exclusive.  This explains why He is exclusive in where He speaks (The Bible) and the Way of salvation.