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Are adherents of all religions worshiping the same God?

First, not all world religions acknowledge a “Supreme Being.” Some consider the universe to merely be the outcome of “cause and effect.” Others misconstrue Ultimate Reality to be an impersonal force or level of consciousness, which does not interact with worshipers, instead of a personal Creator who does. But what about those who believe in a personal Creator? Are they all worshiping the same God? No, not really. In a very broad sense, they may all be casting worship upward toward the Source of all things, without actually connecting with that Source. The American Indian who praises the Great Spirit, the Hindu who acknowledges Brahma, the Muslim who worships Allah, the Sikh who sings songs of devotion to Akal Purakh (Timeless Being), and the Zoroastrian who honors Ahura Mazda (the Wise Lord) are all generating devotion toward the One they consider to be the Supreme Power of the universe. At times, they may even “generically” cry out, “O God, help me!” or “O God, I adore you,” inclining their hearts toward the Almighty without using some name for him assigned in their religion. However, in cases like this, in their minds, they are still associating their prayerful cry with interpretations of the Godhead found in their worldviews. This, in itself, would block them from a real connection with the true and living God.

It is very important to note that all of these supposed ‘Supreme Beings’ are not literally and specifically the same God, since their personalities, attributes, and names are often quite different. Here is the fundamental truth that must be grasped. True Christians are worshiping God with understanding; others are worshiping without understanding, but in many cases, all are worshiping. I believe that even when a person is ignorant of the true nature of Ultimate Reality, genuine love toward God still does not go unnoticed in heaven.

The essentially important difference is this: even though the devotees and believers of these various religions are all generating worship toward God, except for the Christian believer, they cannot be in actual communion with God. In Acts 10, we find Cornelius, a centurion, who worshiped God in sincerity, but apparently, he was unaware of how to be in true communion with God—so God sent an angel to him instructing him to call for Peter. The apostle came and preached, and the Holy Spirit fell from heaven on those who gathered. God did not affirm that Cornelius’ previous approach was sufficient, but because he had true love for God, the Lord revealed to him the correct means of salvation.

In a similar way, I was a sincere lover of God before I knew him and experienced union with him. I was a “worshiper” of God long before I became a “true worshiper.” Jesus explained this mystery to a Samaritan woman many years ago in words that are still profound. He bluntly pointed out, “You worship what you do not know,” then he added:

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (John 4:22–23)

Worshiping in spirit—In this era, to be a true worshiper of God, a person must first have a regenerated spirit. The biblical view is that man is a triune being: body, soul, and spirit. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:23.) The body and soul are the primary functioning parts in ordinary human beings who have not been “saved.” Human beings are “dead in trespasses and sins”—rendering the spirit nearly non- functional. (Ephesians 2:1) (See “Christianity” under The Origin and Nature of Man.)

The human spirit is saved or regenerated only through the experience of being washed in the blood of Jesus and born again. Only after this rebirth of the inner man can a worshiper truly contact the true and living God, for only then does the Spirit of God dwell within. The Holy Spirit that flows into born- again believers, then flows out of them, back to the Father, in the form of worship. Devotees of other religions may be very religious, saintly, loving, humble, and even powerful in supernatural ways, but this necessary facet of true salvation is still missing.

Worshiping in truth—There are five main aspects to fulfilling this requirement. Worshiping God “in truth” involves worshiping the Most High: (1) in sincerity; (2) in honesty; (3) with correct methods; (4) by embracing the true revelation of his name and nature; (5) by walking in the truth of the Bible and applying the truth to our day-to-day lives.

As a yoga teacher I passed on the first two points but missed the last three. I was sincere. I was honest with God. But I used non-biblical methods in trying to reach God. I loved God intensely. But I never experienced true communion with the Father—until I approached him using those methods endorsed in the Bible and until I came to him with the true revelation of his name and nature. When I fulfilled these requirements, I was granted access into his presence. It is not enough to be worshipers; we must be “true worshipers”—if we are to know the true God and enjoy a true relationship with him.

Copyright © 2003 Mike Shreve

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Written by Mike Shreve