Updated: Jun 5, 2022
We are all praying to the same God, he said. Really? I asked.
Tis a varied lot of individuals from 'round the globe who receive these Morning Briefings. As I write today, I picture many of them-- my Boston taxi-driving friend, Hakim, my doctor friend in San Juan Capistrano, my dear Christian brother in India, the TSA agent I met in the airport, the businessman/now friend I met on the airplane from Minneapolis and another from St. Louis, my lovely friend at the front desk of my Boston hotel, my North Carolina neighbor, and so many more. I pray, God, how can I impart these truths in such a way that each can grasp the precious gift we have been offered? By now, if you have been reading my writing for more than a week, you know that striking up conversations with people anywhere and everywhere is one of my greatest joys in life. Inevitably as the discussion comes around to matters of faith - not only the most stimulating conversation, but the most vital subject - someone will say, ‘you know - all religions are mostly the same; we all pray to the same God.’ I do not argue, just press in a little more, and ask a few questions with a smile on my face. Is that true? Are all religious faiths more or less the same? Do we all pray to the same God? In an effort to get at those answers, let’s first consider what Paul said after his generous greeting of grace and peace. He gives us some clear insight into the God of Christianity. First, we do well to understand that Paul wrote these words in Greek to the Christian converts in Ephesus; in the Greek, this passage (Ephesians 1.3-14) was one long sentence. Scripture translators broke it down into sentences for the sake of clarity. Understanding what Paul was saying here is so very important as he was giving the fundamentals of the Christian faith--the best news ever! After his opening greeting in the letter, Paul praises God, and then notes their common ground: All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Ephesians 1.3. Blessed. Us. With. Every. Spiritual. Blessing. In. the. Heavenly. Realms. Hmmm . . . What in the world does that mean? What are the spiritual blessings God gives to us? Paul explains in the succeeding verses. Read slowly and consider the generous, loving nature of the God of the Bible, remembering that Paul had lived all his life trying to be good enough, trying to be righteous enough as a Pharisaic Jewish man until he met Jesus. Now he continues, ->Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us v.4 ->God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. v.5 ->He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. v.7 ->He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. v.8 ->God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—in the Bible. v.9 ->At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. v.10. God does not play guessing games. ->because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God v.11. Our future is secure - we will be in Heaven with God. ->And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. v.13 ->The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised v.14. [Ephesians 1.3-14: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%202&version=NLT] There is so much here, but don’t you see?! It is God’s desire to adopt us into his very own family - he does not offer us religion, he offers us love and belonging in a relationship with him as our dear Father. He takes great pleasure in showing us kindness, forgiving our sins, granting us wisdom -- all made possible through the sacrificial death of Jesus. In every other religion, mankind works to get to God. In Christianity, God came to man. Thank you, Paul, for explaining the gift of relationship God offers to us. Thank you for explaining how God loves and chooses us, forgives us and claims us as his own. Are you praying to that God? Turns out, as stated by a very educated devout man I respect: there is only one God and he hears all prayers, so if you are unsure about the God to whom you are praying: ask him to reveal himself to you. This is all I know I am loved as are you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OmYhgvwQa8 Because you are chosen, Christine