Christian theology in a Sudanese context. The essential nature and character of God.
The True God Jesus Christ called His Father “… the only true God…” John 17:3. God is true because He is not misrepresented by, or made up by, anyone else. God is the real and the genuine God. God cannot be judged by anyone or anything outside Himself, because He is the only standard of being God. I cannot set standards for God! God Himself is fully all that He knows He should be! Only the infinitely perfect can possibly know what infinite perfection should be like. God alone meets those standards He sets for Himself. Our knowledge of the true God comes through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; 1 John 5:20-21). I am diabetic and I have to be very careful about drinking too many sugary drinks like colas. King Cola, Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola were all available to buy in the dukkans near where I lived. Some of my friends would drink only Pepsi, others only Coke. They all said that ‘no other cola was up to the standard of their preferred true cola’. Of course, that raises a question. Who sets the standard for what is a true cola and what is a false cola? According to the dictionary, ‘cola’ is “a sweet carbonated drink flavoured with cola nuts”. These nuts come from trees grown in tropical climates. They contain caffeine (a stimulating tonic) and theobromine (used for medically treating some heart diseases and headaches). By that definition, I expect all three are true ‘colas’ and the difference in taste has a lot to do with the amount of sugar added in manufacture. There is only one true God! (Jeremiah10:1-16). Any image or picture of God, however helpful it may appear, does not tell the whole truth about God. It probably hides more of the truth about God than it shows. This is why the Commandments so strongly prohibit idols (Exodus 20:2-6). God is beyond our powers of imagination. There will always be mystery, many things we cannot know about Him. He rises above every attempt we make to describe Him. God is much more than our explanations of Him can ever be (1 Timothy 6:15,16). So how can we think about Him? We must use the Bible, which is His revealed truth about Himself (Psalm 119:159-160; Proverbs30:5). One of my ministry colleagues used to say: “the Bible is true truth”! We should try to think carefully on everything the Bible says about God Himself. Fill your mind with the truth of God’s character, the truths He commands, and the way He wants us to live. Then, we should let those ‘God-thoughts’ shape our own viewpoint on all the events happening around us (Psalm 1:1-3).
And we should always speak the truth too! Sadly there are some Christians who ‘preach the truth, yet speak lies in their daily conversation’. Christians should not tell lies to anyone. We should be becoming more and more like our God, Who is the truth and Who tells the truth. (Ephesians 4:21-25; Colossians 3:9,10).
Thinking it through.
(a). Why is it impossible to ‘measure God’ or ‘value God’ by anything else?
(b). Jesus, speaking to His Father, used the phrase: “the only true God” (John 17:3).
What does this mean for other religions?
(c). What is the best way to know the truth about God, according to this prayer of Jesus?