Thursday, October 8, 2009

Knowing God

Can you know someone without knowing about them? I like to think I know my wife. But if someone asked me questions about my wife (What is her favorite color? Where was she born, and where did she grow up?) and I could not answer any of them, you would wonder what kind of a relationship we had. On the other hand, an FBI agent might be able to investigate and find out all sorts of facts about my wife and not really know her.

We face the same problem when it comes to knowing God. It is possible to know things about God without really knowing God. But is it possible to know God without knowing something about God? What sense does it make to speak of knowing a God that we know nothing about. If I know nothing about Him, what sense does it make to call Him, "God"? And what possible difference can it make at any level to speak of knowing someone I know nothing about? If all I am looking for is a vague feeling, I can get that by reading The Lord of the Rings or watching Star Trek. Why drag God into it?. I am not opposed to experiences, but experiences should be firmly rooted in the real God who exists in the real world. Otherwise, it is all just a nice story. With this the Scriptures agree, for they connect knowing God and knowing about Him (Jeremiah 9:23, 24); in fact, there is much more emphasis in Scripture on knowing that God is God than on knowing God (Psalms 46:10; 83:18; 100:3).

How then do we come to know God and not just know about God? Scripture says that the only way to know God is through Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:27), who is the only way to God (John 14:6). Scripture explains that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23), Christ paid for our sins on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), and we can be saved by trusting in Him (Romans 4:4, 5). As a result, we can know God (Philippians 3:8-10), but if we come some other way, Christ will say, "I never knew you" (Luke 13:23-27) . Therefore, we have a new relationship with God; we are His children (John 1:12, 13), His friends (John 15:14, 15), and His future bride (2 Corinthians 11:1, 2). However, once we know Him, we are to grow in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10; 2 Peter 3:18) and to live our lives in light of that relationship (1 John 2:3-5; 4:8, 9). The Scripture does not give us a pat formula for doing this. Rather, we are to live our lives in view of our relationship with God, learning to know Him and love Him more. In this, reading and meditating on God's Word (Psalms 1:2), prayer (Philippians 4:6, 7), and praise and worship (Psalms 100:1-5) are aids in this. But these must not be done mechanically, but as communication with a God who loves us and is always with us.

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