Have you ever noticed how often precision is required? For example, phone numbers in the United States consist of 10 digits. To call or text a particular person you must have those 10 digits, and you must have exactly 10 digits. Eleven will not work. Nine will not work. Also, not only must you have the correct 10 digits, you must enter them in the correct order. If you have ever developed a computer application you know the necessity for precision. Software “bugs” are due to lack of precision. When you fly in an airplane you want the pilot to land precisely on the runway. Landing close to the runway or too far down the runway just won’t do. Remember Asiana Airlines flight 214 that crashed in San Francisco in July of 2013? The airplane came in too low and the wheels struck the seawall. The pilot was not precise. We want the walls square in our home, and we want other drivers to stay in their lane. Precision is many times taken for granted until lack of attention to detail causes a problem or a tragedy.
Even though precision is often a necessity we love generalities. Precision holds us accountable, generalities do not. This is why we love a general, amorphous god. We can shape an undefined god into whatever we want it to be. Typically this god thinks and acts much like we think and act. The gods we make up are very different from the true and living God.
- A general benevolent deity does not claim to be unique and discredit all other so-called gods, but the true and living God does.
Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22 ESV)
Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. (Isaiah 46:8-9 ESV)
- A general benevolent deity does not claim holiness or perfection, but the true and living God does.
The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. (Deuteronomy 32:4 ESV)
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16 ESV)
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18 ESV)
- A general benevolent deity does not proclaim everyone evil and unrighteous, but the true and living God does.
None is righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10b ESV)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23 ESV)
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. (Isaiah 64:6a ESV)
- A general benevolent deity holds no one accountable, but the true and living God does.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV)
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:12 ESV)
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:12 ESV)
- A general benevolent deity does not offer only one way to come to him, but the true and living God does.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 ESV)
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 ESV)
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5 ESV)
The true and living God is unique, holy, righteous, and keeps account. He has every right to judge since he sets the standards, and these standards are precise. Generalities will not fly when we stand before the living God. Precision is required. There is no “well that’s good enough” with God. He sees and judges everything.
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13 ESV)
No wonder we want a general, amorphous God that requires little to nothing of us. Who can be that precise? No one can. The good news is, though, for those who trust in Christ, he removes their imprecision and replaces it with his precise righteousness. In other words Jesus forgives all our trespasses and imputes his perfect righteousness to us. Therefore, when we stand before the true and living God, who does not deal in generalities, we can be assured that, through Christ, we have fulfilled his precise standards. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57)!