One God and Father of All


One God and Father of all

By Kola S. Ajibola

 

Introduction

The Bible did not leave mankind in darkness as to the purpose of Christ on earth. It teaches that Jesus Christ came to this planet earth to establish His church (Matthew 16:18-19; Ephesians 3:8-11) and further stated that He established one church (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; I Corinthians 14:15). This took place at Jerusalem in A.D. 33 (about 2000 years ago).

Today, people are confused because of the multiplicity of churches, as against one church read about in the Bible, we now have thousands of different churches existing in the world, all claiming to be the true church even though they teaches conflicting doctrines. What is then the way out of this confusion among the so-called Christendom? Many have suggested various ways which gave way to unity in diversity, which in the real sense union and not unity, such as Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), etc. For all ‘Christian’ to be one (agree) in religion, we must follow the same rules (Philippians 3:16; I Corinthians 1:10). If we follow different rules, we will never be to be united. Union or association will not give the desired result – UNITY, but sectarianism and denominationalism!

Jesus prayed for unity of believer before He left this planet earth (John 17). The Bible gave us the pillars of unity in Ephesians 4:1-6. Paul wrote to the church of Christ that met in Ephesus to teach them about UNITY. In these verses, he gave them the pillars of unity – the things which unity can and should be built upon. However, before he gave them the list, he first of all told them what attitudes they need to put up. Paul used words like beseech, walk worthy, lowliness and meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. It is noteworthy that unity does not happen on itself, but it must be kept through work.

Paul listed seven things of which there is only one. If Christians truly believe that there is only one of each of these items listed, then their actions will lead them to the unity of the Spirit. Asking why there are religious divisions in Christianity? The answer is in the world today, people do not truly believe that there is only one of each of the seven things that listed – one body, one Spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God and Father of all. This last on the list constitute our burden in this write-up.

Zophar the Naamithite said of the things of God that “they are higher than heaven – what can you do? Deeper than sheol – what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.” (Job 11:8-9). Does this suggest that we cannot know God and His will for us? Does he exist? Where did He come from?

  1. DEFINITION OF TERM

The word “God” is used in two ways in the Bible – generic and specific ways. In Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, “God” is used in generic sense (class of being), while in Ephesians 4:4; the word “God” is used in specific sense, which has personal reference to the Father. Generally, the Greek word translated “God” in English Bible is theos. According to W. E. Vine, theos in Greek refers to “the One true God.” (Vine Concise Dictionary of Bible Words, pg. 157). The Hebrew word for God is el “a term of supreme power and divinity, which can refer to the true God, Genesis 3:20 …” (ibid.). The “eloah” is the singular form of common plural form “elohim”. This is found in Genesis 1:1 and several other passages of the Old Testament.

God, the Father is the first person of the Godhead (Deity), creator of the world, the Supreme Being, “Preserver, Benefactor of all things, He overrules in, through the universe, and dwells and works in every obedient heart…” (David Lipscomb, A commentary on the New Testament).

  1. WHO MADE THIS GOD?

Henry H. Halley said, this is a question that every child do ask. Sincerely, there is no answer for this question. Several things are beyond the comprehension of human. For instance, we cannot conceive the beginning of Time, nor the end of neither Time, nor the Boundaries of Space… this world has been in existence always, or, it was made out of nothing one, or the other; yet we can conceive of neither… In faith we accept, as the ultimate in our thinking, a Power higher than ourselves, GOD, in hope that someday, in the beyond, we shall understand the mysteries of existence (Halley’s Bible Handbook, pg. 59). God is eternal; nobody made Him or created Him. He has no beginning or ending, He has always existed and will continue to exist after eternity (Isaiah 48:12; Revelation 1:4, 8; 4:8). He dwells in eternity (Isaiah 57:15).

  1. DOES GOD EXIST?

It is needful to examine the existence of God having stated that God is eternal and that nobody made Him. This question is momentous and significant to our study. Should we deny that God exists, how can we believe Him to be our Father, let alone worshipping Him or obeying Him? If we then deny Him, then we have denied our own very existence; nature and have relegated ourselves to the level of animal and as such we have neglected all the evidences God has written into His creation. To admit that He exists, is to acknowledge His as the greatest of all realities, as the Father of our Spirits (Hebrews 12:9; Isaiah 64:8), as the source of our life (Acts 17:29); and as Fountainhead of all Truth (Romans 11:33; James 1:17). Hence, because of His power and majesty, we must obey Him, worship Him and praise Him always which will guarantee the unity among believers.

Concerning the question before us, there are three prominent positions namely: theism (the belief that there is one God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Father of our Spirits, source of Righteousness and Truth and object of our worship and reference); atheism (this position deny the existence of God and seek to prove that He does not exist – this position is wrong because it is absolutely impossible to prove and sustain) and agnosticism (this is “I do not know” whether God exist or not position).

  1. CAN WE KNOW THIS GOD?

The nature glaringly declared that God exists; only the fool will say in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). The inspired Psalmist declared “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1-3). In Psalm 8:3, the scriptures says the heavens, the moon and the stars are the work of God’s fingers and that God have ordained them. Prophet Isaiah vividly describe the majesty and power of God as revealed by nature when he wrote that God “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?” (40:12-14).

Paul declared to the people at Lystra that they should turn from idolatry “to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.” He reminded them that God “did not leave Himself without witness in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:15-17). Bert Thompson, in his write-up titled Why I Believe God submitted that For God to have been so gracious to give us “refreshing rains and recurring fruitful seasons offered eloquent testimony of God and served as reminder that ‘He left not Himself without witness’ (Acts 14:17)” (The Spiritual Sword, Vol. 23: No. 2, Jan. 1992, Pg. 2).

On Areopagus (Mars’ Hill) in Athens, Paul faced the Epicurean and Stoic Philosophers and proved to them that man’s very existence argues convincingly that a more powerful Being must have created man, he concluded that the Powerful Being is God and in Him “we live and move and have our beings,” (Acts 17:22-31).

The Universe is filled with order, design and intelligence. Nobody will argue that there is no painter when there is painting, or that a poem exist without a poet, or that there is car without a car manufacturer. This world exists because there is Creator. The Law of causality demands that for every material effect, there must be an adequate cause. So, one does not have law without law-giver, or design without a designer. In addition to this, cause is qualitatively superior to or quantitatively greater than effect. God caused Universe; hence, He is quantitatively and qualitatively greater than the Universe (Psalm 90:2).

The size of Universe is marvellous and impressive. God had said through Moses and Jeremiah that the “host of heaven cannot be numbered neither the sand of the sea measured…” (Genesis 15:5; Jeremiah 33:22). The last count of stars stood at 25 sextillion (that is 25,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). The distance around the earth is 24901.55 miles (40075.16 kilometres). It would take 100,000 years to travel from one edge of our galaxy to the other. The design of the Universe is dazzling. Moon, Stars, planets, galaxies and host of heavenly bodies operates with mathematical precision. They do not collide with or destroy one another. Such operation could not be per chance. Because of such order and design, it is possible to foretell an eclipse of the sun years in advance even to the hour and minute. Considering the speed at which the earth moved and rotates around the sun (1609km {1000miles} per hour at equator, any reduction in the speed will result to all vegetation burnt off by sun during the day time and all surviving sprout would be frozen by night), taking note of its tilt (230) and the effect it has on the earth, also, if you note the distance of earth to the sun, it would not have come closer (if it does, then means we will be burnt up) neither could it have been farther (if it does, then the earth will receive less radiation and we would be frozen). It was in the right place and suspended on nothing. How wonderful the Creator of earth and heaven and how marvellous is His work! On the sixth day of creation, Moses wrote, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good...” (Genesis 1:31). Isaiah exclaimed in awe and said “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” (40:26).

In all these, God has clearly revealed Himself in the nature. Time and space would not permit us to consider human nature. The pumping system (the human heart pumps 2,721.6kg {6,000 pounds} of blood through the 100,000 arteries and veins of the body in 24 hours and can operate for 60 – 90 years without shutdown or repair and in some instances repair itself). What about human eyes (it is self-focusing, self-adjusting, perception of object in different directions, self-cleansing mechanism, etc, found in millions of men, each showing the same marks of design by an intelligent Creator, who is GOD). All these and many others prove that God exists. Little wonder, why David exclaimed “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalm 139:14).

Paul declared that “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” (Hebrews 3:4). Once again, only the fools will say in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.” (Psalm 104:24). “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” (Isaiah 40:25-26). “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.(Nehemiah 9:6).

Considering the above facts and several others about the nature, one is left with just one conclusion that a unifying mind (God) hasd been, and is, at work. He originated and was the designer and planner of the universe (Psalm 90:2). The universe is run by law, and then there must be a Law-giver. It operates on Mathematical principles; hence there must be a Mathematician. God is the Law-giver, the Mathematician, the Builder, the preserver and the One that sustains the universe (Hebrews 3:4).

Psalm 19: 1-6 teaches that God revealed Himself through nature, and by that we mean natural revelation of God. From verse 7 through 14, the Psalmist says God also revealed Himself specially. That is through the special revelation of His word through men who He had empowered with His Spirit. The Hebrews writer summarised it this way: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:1-2). To know God the Father today, we have to go to Jesus Christ (John 14:7-11). Jesus when He had taught His twelve apostles, He promised them the promise of His Father, the Holy Spirit. He fulfilled His promise on the day of Pentecost (the first after His ascension) in A. D. 33. These apostles also laid their hands on some faithful men who also receive the gift of Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). All these revelation constitutes the New Testament.

We can know God through natural revelation and through special revelation of His will as contained in the Bible. The Spirit of God that knows the mind of God has revealed to mankind the mind of God (I Corinthians 2:11-13).

  1. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT GOD?

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:28-30; see also Matthew 22:37).

“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (I Corinthians 8:6).

God is within the reach of all (Acts 17:26-29); He want to give us salvation and want us to repent because He is going to judge us (Acts 17:30-31; Revelation 20:12; Romans 14:11-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10); He is love (I John 4:8). God is great (Deut. 5:24); good (Ps. 33:5); loving (John 3:16); perfect (Matt. 5:48); merciful (Rom. 12:1); invisible (Jn. 5:37; 6:46); glorious (Ex. 15:11); just (Acts 10:34-35); righteous (Ps. 19:9); longsuffering (Rom. 15:5); compassionate (Ps. 78:38-39); generous (Rom. 8:32); kind (Ps. 42:8); wealthy (Eccl. 5:19); faithful (I Cor. 1:9),etc.

  1. WHAT WAS PAUL SAYING?

Paul had treated six “one” and finally, he came to the final “one” in the list, and is “one God and Father of all…” Earlier, he had written on the other two members of the Godhead being Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:28-30; I Corinthians 8:6). God becomes the Father of Christians through Christ because all who are in Christ are His children (Romans 8:16-17; Galatians 3:2-27). That is the reason why Jesus taught Christians to pray like this, “Our Father, who hath in heaven, hallow be thy name…” (Matthew 6:9). Paul affirmed that this one God and Father is “above all.” Here, Paul is speaking of God’s sovereignty or supremacy. He is also “through all,” suggesting His providential involvement in people’s lives (Acts 14:18-17; 17:22-31) and that God is “in all,” affirming that He is present with His people and will never depart (Psalm 139:7-10; Deuteronomy 4:31; Hebrews 13:5).

If men will truly believe that there is only one God and Father, then they would give themselves to obeying Him. They would find out what God wants from them and they would obey. For mankind not to obey God, mankind is saying that he does not really believe that there is only one God and Father.

Holy Spirit is very clear to His point, when He used Paul to teach the Ephesians Christians (and all Christians today and tomorrow) what they needed to have to keep the unity of the Spirit. He also told them the right attitudes they needed to have in order to keep the unity of the Spirit. Christians today need to believe in these same things (Ephesians 4:4-6) and have the same right attitudes in order to keep the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:1-3).

  1. WHAT PAUL DID NOT TEACH

Paul did not teach unity in Diversity. The world is filled with religions. Sad to note that they are not the same and do not lead to heaven and as such all are not from one God. Regardless of things done in His name, He cannot accept them. It is sadder again to note that even among those who claim to be Christians, they are widely divided doctrinally, for each of them are characterized by their creeds, manuals, belief system, tenets etc that are contradictory to each other and even contradicts the Bible!

The movement of some religionists today that suggest Unity in Diversity was not what Paul preaches or teaches. In Acts 17 quoted earlier in this write-up, Paul stood in the centre of the Areopagus (Mars’ Hill) in the ancient city of Athens as he was surrounded by Epicurean and Stoic philosophers that had earlier invited him to speak of his new found doctrine. He tells them, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious.” This described Christendom today. Just as Paul told them about the God they had missed – the one true and living God, he is telling us today. He had not taught us to have unity in diversity! Unity in diversity (as seen in Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), and host of others) is nothing but unity against Christ. In Luke 23:12, “And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.” They became united against Christ. That is what Unity in Diversity is all about. They dropped their difference to unite against Christ.

Likewise, all denominations uniting themselves under association like CAN, PFN, etc are not uniting under Christ. If they are united under Christ they would leave their denominational creeds behind and follow Christ fully. While under Christ, denominationalism and religious differences are put to an end. Denominations that unite under Christ are no longer denominations but are His body – the church (Colossians 1:18, 24). Christ said “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matthew 12:30).

  1. OUR PLEA

Just as the Psalmist said, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (133:1). Wouldn’t be great thing for every Christian to live together in harmony with the Word of God and with one another? Just think awhile on what we can achieve for the Lord if all who profess Christianity are one under Christ. How attractive would this be to people in the world? How do you think it would be? How would they view the Lord’s church? Do you suppose this was in the mind of Jesus when He prayed to the Father, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:21). Love is required. Jesus said “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)

We are pleading with all men who are in denomination (or sect) to please come out of them (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 6:17) and accept the seven pillars of unity. Please, accept that there is only one body, which is the church of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22-23); Col. 1:18, 24), the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16). Make every effort to become a member of this church, the saved (Eph. 5:23).

Admit that there is only one Spirit and try to follow completely the word that the Holy Spirit spoke to mankind in the Bible. Listen to no other message from any other person (who might claim spiritual) other than the word of the Spirit in the Bible (Gal. 1:6-9).

 

We are begging all men to accept that there in only one hope of your calling, that is the hope of eternal life (Eph. 1:18; 2 Thess. 2:14; Tit. 2:13; 1 Pet. 3-5, 7-13). Different ways leads to different destination (Matt. 7:13-14). Kindly prefer to be saved according to that only one hope instead of whatever way that might seem most preferred to you (Prov. 14:12).

Accept that there is only one Lord – Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 1:9; Eph. 5:27). Make Him the Lord of your life. Have this attitude that whatever Jesus Christ wants you to do; that is exactly what you will do. Please Jesus Christ. Live your life according to His teachings in the New Testament instead of living according to what you want or like.

Acknowledge that there is only one faith (Phil. 1:27; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 15:1-2) i.e. one system of faith or belief, the whole body of teaching that instructs man on how to live a pleasing life unto God (Jude 3; Acts 6:7; Gal. 1:23).

Consent to one baptism that was commanded – immersion in water for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 8:36-39; 10:47-48; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Pet. 3:21) and not for any other reason. Reject sprinkling or pouring of water o people as baptism. Renounce the teaching that states baptism as an option and not command. Baptism is a command to be obeyed in order for one’s sins to be cleansed.

And finally, say YES to the fact that there is only one God Father of all (Gal. 3:26-27; I Cor. 8:5-6; Gal. 1:3-5), who you must obey, love and worship (Matt. 12:37).

 

CONCLUSION

It is the desire of God for His people to be united. And he has given unto us the seven pillars of unity. Seven truths that must be accepted by all of us as we seek to have a proper attitude toward God’s revealed will (Eph. 4:1-3). The unity is achievable, if and only if we can accept these basis truths. Let us strive for unity to receive the benefits of the goodness and pleasantness it produces. It is good, right and fitting because it is lovely, attractive and appealing. It produces joy, overcome sorrow of self-seeking and produces desire to work toward a common goal-seeking soul for God through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember, if we are not united Christ, Christ will deny us entry to heavenly house on the last day (Matt. 7:21-23).

Repent of your spirit of denominationalism and sectarianism today and embrace un-denominational Christianity.

 

Box 35478, Agodi Gate, Ibadan, Oyo State. +2348056048209; www.ksajibola.blogspot.com; ksajibola01@yahoo.com

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