God talk is an incredibly delusional activity.
The number of people who say they “believe in God” but who do not believe in Jesus is alarmingly high, especially in regions of the world that are culturally/nominally Christian. The sentiment is nearly everywhere.
“I believe in God. I say my prayers each morning and each night.”
Or, “I believe in God. I know He has seen me through a lot of struggles.”
Or, “I believe in God. And I don’t play with Him.”
I’m glad for all of these statements, and they contain some important truths. For example, God is not to be toyed with. He isn’t a teddy bear. He is to be reverenced and loved and worshipped in awe. And God does make His rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. His common grace toward creation means that a whole bunch of people who do not know Him experience His goodness in myriad ways, including deliverance in struggle. These things can be affirmed, and should be.
But we dare not stop there! This kind of belief in God is hardly any different from James’ famous assessment: “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder” (James 2:19).
The reality: it is impossible to believe in God in any saving way and not come to Him through faith in Jesus. The unavoidable Person in all creation is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
We do not have God the Father apart from God the Son. “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). Or Jesus’ extraordinary words in John 14:6-7a: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.”
Appeals to ‘believing in God’ without believing in the Son are empty idolatries, demon-like faith often without the shuddering. So much God talk allows the veneer of religiosity and faith, but denies the power by denying the Son. And that self-deception is eternally dangerous.
Of course, the opposite problem exists as well. There are those who love Jesus meek and mild but who deny the Father, at least any biblical understanding of the Father. But Matthew 11:27 speaks to them as well: “No one knows the Son except the Father….” Or, John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” And John 14:9, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
The Father and the Son come together. You can not have one and not the other. Either you have the Father with and through the Son, or you have nothing. Vague God talk obscures this critical reality.