I was watching an old episode of Law and Order on the TV the other night. The police were dealing with a radical extremist who happened to believe he was following God. What was interesting to me is that he was following the God of different religion and when questioned about it he said we are “One nation under God.” Now in my brain I take those words and I interpret them to mean “the God of the Bible.” This person did not hear it the same way.
All this had me thinking about a sermon I heard years ago from a great preacher. He talked about the generic God of America. He spoke of how we often refer to God in many different settings without making anyone upset. If someone believes differently they can just substitute in the name of their Deity for the word God. In this sermon he noted how different it is to say “I believe in God” and “I believe Jesus is God.” But at the heart of Christianity that is what we believe. We can nod in agreement with “In God We Trust” but we would get a much different reaction if we said “In Jesus We Trust.”
If you don’t believe me take a couple of weeks and test it out. Say to your family, friends and coworkers something about God and see how they react. Then the next week make similar statements about Jesus and see if their reaction is different. You might be shocked at the different reactions.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in God. I simply believe that He came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. My God did not speak generically into the word He came personally so that we could know and understand Him. Personally, I think it is important for Christians to be clear about what we believe. Lots of people have some type of faith in a generic god but I have faith in Jesus as my God and my Savior. There is a world of difference.