God is true in at least two ways. He is true to his word—righteous, just, and faithful. He is also true in that He exists as He really is. The aspect that we will now consider is that God is real and true as He truly is. The problem is that we as created beings like to create gods or a god of our own making and imaginations. Psalm 115:4-8 says, “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” When a person makes up something about God that is not true, he has made a false god and has become untruthful or false himself. This is why it is critically important that we derive our understanding of God from His revelation of Himself and not by our own imaginations or willful ignorance as it says in Romans:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen (Romans 1:18-25, ESV – emphasis added).
In our secularized society we don’t often observe visible idols which are made by hands. However, if you listen to conversations you will quickly hear the idols of the mind created by those who are suppressing and exchanging the truth about God for lies. For example, you have probably heard someone say, “A loving God would not send anyone to hell.” Well, it is true that God is love, but it is equally true that He is just. Would God be truly loving if he did not punish evil doers in a just way? Obviously not. You would be aware of that especially if you were the one who was wronged. This is just one example of myriads of ways in which it is easy to take a truth about God and twist it into falsehood because it excludes other attributes of God.
If we are to know God truly, we must accept all the truth that He reveals about Himself and His creation whether we fully comprehend it or not. Jesus taught that a person’s willingness to obey affects his ability to know the source of the doctrine. He said to those who questioned His knowledge, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority” (John 7:16-17). Do you want to know whether God’s word the Bible is true and of God? Then be willing to respond with trust and obedience. Accept all of its instruction about God, and then you will grow in knowing the true God in all His completeness and perfect attributes. This is my heart’s desire as I open the Scriptures each week and seek to write about who God is. I pray that it is your desire as well. Will you join me in asking God to give us willing hearts to do God’s will and know of the doctrine? Your response and feedback is always welcomed, appreciated, and helpful. May the Lord bless you with a deeper knowledge of God, for to know Him is to love Him.
With Prayer, Mark
© April, 2011 Scripture quoted: ESV – Emphasis added
Selected Verses on God is true (living or real):
ESV – Emphasis added
2 Chronicles 15:3-4, For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.
Jeremiah 10:8-11, They are both stupid and foolish; the instruction of idols is but wood! Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz. They are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith; their clothing is violet and purple; they are all the work of skilled men. But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
John 17:1-3, When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
1 Thessalonians 1:9, For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.
1 John 5:20, And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.