What do the Jews and Muslims Know of God?

Easter 5 Saturday

John 14:6-7

“Jesus say to him: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you also know my Father. And from now on you do know him and have seen him.”

 

“Coming to the Father” cannot mean anything but having a gracious God, being without sin, and being in eternal life. You will never get there, says Christ, by your works or holiness; through me alone you must get there, that is, only by my going to the Father, my suffering and dying. This is how beautifully the Lord here puts the article of our faith that says: By faith in Christ alone a person is justified and saved. Now, it is tolerable when he says: “No one comes to the Father except through me.” For it is stronger yet when he goes on to say: “If you know me, you know the Father.” For by these words he wants to indicate: If you do not have or know Christ, it is impossible for you to have or know God. But what is it, then, with all that the pagans boast and talk about God? What about the Muslims and the Jews, and even the Papists, who speak much about God? They may use the words, but here is written the verdict: If you know Christ, you also know God. If you do not know Christ, you do not know God either. But, you say, is this not knowing God when Muslims and Jews say that God created the world out of nothing, that he made his covenant with Adam and Eve in paradise, that he led the Israelites out of Egypt? After all, this is all true: God did this – not the god worshiped by the pagans, but the true and eternal God. But no matter how you put it, here it is written: If you know Christ, you also know God; but if you do not know Christ, you do not know God either. You deny God and do not believe in God. This is because the Lord soon afterwards says to Philip: “Do you not believe, Philip, that the Father is in me and I am in the Father?” Thus, the Lord returns to the foundation he laid earlier where he said, John 14:1: “If you believe in God, also believe in me.” For this will not change: The man Jesus Christ is God. And God is Jesus Christ. Now, those who neither know nor accept the Son, no matter what they boast, say or know of God, it is no true knowledge. This is why Christ goes on to say to Philip: “You have been with me for such a long time and do not know me yet? Philip, those who see the Father see me.” Likewise, you hear me speak, but it is not me speaking; it is the Father. And the works I do the Father does. All these things combined have the purpose that we should know and accept Christ for a true eternal God; that we should take comfort in his suffering and dying as the complete payment and reconciliation with God. Those who do this know God, honor God, and believe in God. For knowing God does not only know that he created heaven and earth; that he gave us body and life; and that he is almighty. This is only a part of the knowledge of God; in fact, it is the least part of that knowledge. For if we did not go beyond this, we would have to be afraid of such a God all the more, because we have the conscience always with us that tells us that we have been disobedient to such a God who created everything for our good. But those who know Christ see in Christ that God is a gracious, merciful God who does not want to condemn us on account of our sin and disobedience, but who wants to be gracious to us and help us to get out of sins. For there is his Son. He gives him as a sacrifice for us so that through him, we should have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Therefore, this is what it means to know God rightly: Knowing that he is merciful to sinners in this way.

 

St. Louis ed., 13.1:1139-1141.

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