With so many religions in the world, how could anyone identify the true God?
And so for a time I studied Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. I also began to make a serious study of the Bible. If God did exist, I reasoned, and if He had created me for a purpose, then He must have revealed Himself to humankind early in history. And of necessity, He would have to perpetuate that revelation to the present day.
Therefore, I immediately rejected all the religious systems of the past that had fallen by the wayside. I didn’t bother to look into Greek or Roman mythology or other religions that had long ago made their way into history’s dustbin. If any of them were true, that would be an admission that God could not keep the required revelation alive to the present time—and that would suggest that God had no interest in modern man, that He didn’t care what happens to us today. Clearly, that option was unacceptable.
For a similar reason I also rejected the new religions that have made their appearance in relatively recent times. I dismissed the “prophets” who claimed to have received some “true revelation” of God, hidden for ages until the world found itself blessed by this prophet. I therefore quickly rejected all modern cults, because they essentially condemn all men and women who died before the new “prophet” arrived, as if God didn’t care about them—but for some reason had suddenly taken an interest in the human race. I just couldn’t buy that idea. I reasoned that any genuine revelation of God had to begin early in history and had to continue to the present day. That’s why I chose just these faiths to study: Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity.
But the more I studied, the more I became convinced that the Bible alone was indeed the genuine revelation of God. I saw that it stands separate, apart, distinct—and in many cases, in direct opposition to the religious systems of man. It appeared to me that while religious systems represented human attempts to reach out to God, Christianity was God’s attempt to reach human beings. Religion tried to show men how to become good enough to be accepted by God; Christianity alone claimed that no sinful human could ever be good enough to be accepted by God. Christianity alone focused on trusting exclusively in the grace of God. It bypassed the whole idea of a system of saving works and said instead, “You can do nothing to be worthy of God. You can only receive His grace, His love and His mercy, extended to you through His crucified and risen Son, Jesus Christ.”
In addition, the more I read of the Bible, the more fascinated I became with its prophetic aspects. I learned that the Bible itself declares fulfilled prophecy to be the built-in proof of its divine origin. God tells us about specific events before they happen, so that when they occur we might know He is God and there is no one else like Him (see Isaiah 44:7-8). Jesus repeatedly spoke in this way to His disciples: “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe (John 14:29; see also Matthew 24:25; Mark 13:23; John 16:4).
Today I have no doubts, no qualms, no reservations about the unique, divine origin of the Bible, or about faith in Jesus Christ as the only road to a dynamic relationship with God.
Today I know what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:14-16).
The most important thing in the world for anyone to discover is the true and living God for himself or herself. It’s vitally important that you know who God is. And the only absolutely reliable guide you’ll find anywhere is the Bible—both the Old and New Testaments.
- excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith