Beliefs and Practices of Christians

1. WHO IS GOD?

I am sure, my dear friend, that your first questions is, "What do Christians believe about God?" The most important thing in any religion is its idea of God. I know you have been informed by some ignorant people that Christians worship three gods. Some have even supposed that we worship the cross, and even images of men. Let me assure you that these statements are false. True Christians have always believed in the One True God, and if any have ever worshipped other gods they have been in great error. Listen to what Jesus Christ said to one who asked him which is the greatest of God's commandments. Jesus replied: "The Lord our God, the Lord is one, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Mark 12:29, 30). All God's prophets in ancient times proclaimed the Unity of God, and cried out against idols and all who worshipped them.

Christians also believe that God had no beginning, and will have no end, for He is eternal. We believe that God possesses all knowledge and power, and that He created all things, seen and unseen, by His Word. If one looks upward at the sun and moon and the millions of stars, and begins to understand even a little of the greatness and wonder of all creation, he will exclaim as did the prophet David: "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork." (Psalm 19:1). How great is the wisdom and might of the God who not only created but also sustains both the largest suns in distant space, and the smallest flowers and insects on the earth! God is Almighty, and is able to do whatever He wills to do. He has a purpose for the world, and nothing can prevent Him from accomplishing it. We believe that God is not only very great, He is also very just and holy. In ancient times the Greeks and Romans, who believed in many gods, thought their gods were like men, who lied, stole, murdered, committed adultery, and did other evil deeds. But in the Holy Books of the Christians much is written about God's perfect holiness; that is, His complete separation from all impurity.

One of God's servants in a vision saw some heavenly beings in the presence of God praising Him and saying: "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty." (Revelation 4:8). Therefore, though God has all power, He cannot do anything contrary to His holy nature. For example, God cannot lie, nor can He act unjustly. God, of course, does not have a body as men do and He is not limited to one place or time, but is always and everywhere present. However, we sometimes speak of God's hands, or eyes, or heart using these physical terms with a spiritual meaning. For while God is the Most High and is greatly exalted above us, we believe He is also very near us. So we say He sees us with His eyes, and upholds us with His hands, and loves us with His heart.

While all of the attributes of God are of the greatest importance to us, we Christians are especially thankful that the God whom we worship is a loving God. So important is this quality of love that in the Holy bible it is stated that "God is love". (1 John 4:8), that is, that all that God thinks and does is done in love. God shows His love to men in providing them with rain and sunshine, food and drink and clothing, and all that is needed for their lives on earth. He also shows it by sending prophets to tall us about god. The greatest act of His love was the sending of the Saviour, as I will explain later. God loves everyone whom He has created, and seeks the good of all. The prophet David expresses God's care for him in these beautiful words: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (Psalm 23: 1-3).

It is natural that God would love those who love and obey Him. But does He love people who disobey Him? Of course, since God is holy, He loves all that is good and hates all kinds of evil. When men do the evil deeds that God hates, He is angry with them, as David said to God:"Though hatest all evildoers." (Psalm 5:5). God shows His hatred of evil by punishing those who practice it and refuse to obey Him. When we read the Holy bible we see how God destroyed both individual men and also whole nations that turned against Him and refused to repent, that is, be sorry and leave their evil deeds.

But let me tell you a wonderful truth. Even while God hates evildoers, He wants to save them from their sins. He loves them as a kind father loves a son who has disobeyed his command.. This amazing love of God for sinful men is clearly shown in a parable which Jesus Christ spoke, in which he told of a son who, while his father was still alive, asked for and received his inheritance. Then he left his fathers' house, and wasted all his money in evil living. But when he head nothing left and was about to die of starvation, he decided to go back to his father and confess his sin. As soon as his father saw him at a distance he ran to meet him, hugged and kissed him, and made a feast in honor of his return. The father, because he loved him, forgave and welcomed the son who had been so wicked. Jesus Christ said that is the way God loves the people who sin against Him. My dear fried, it is good news for us sinners to know that God loves us and wants to forgive us, and is ready to receive us when we return to Him!.

In the Holy Bible we find many names for God, such as, the Almighty, the Lord, Jehovah, the Everlasting, the Living, the Most High, the Holy One, the Righteous One, the Kind, the Judge, the Creator, the Saviour, and the shepherd of His people. However, the name which we Christians love best is Heavenly Father. When Jesus Christ spoke of god He usually called Him "my Father", and he told His disciples when they prayed to say to God, "Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name". (Matthew 6:9). Could anyone enjoy a greater privilege than this of being a spiritual child of god, and of knowing that the Most High God is his loving Father? This high ;privilege is given by God to all who believe in Jesus Christ.

 At this point, you perhaps wish to ask what Christians mean when they speak of the "Holy Trinity". If you will kindly wait a little I will later explain this important doctrine to you.