As we prepare for a new year and a new decade, a goal we should each have is to know God better. If we know God better, we should be better equipped to love Him more and to live accordingly (live in, not of – fotonni). Thus, for these last three weeks of the year, I am going to repost a short series from 2017 about knowing God. This is the third, and final, post of that series. You can find the first and second post here and here.
This post first appeared on this blog’s former site fotonni.blogspot.com on December 21, 2017.
In the first two posts of this brief series, I have focused on how little any of us truly can know about God (not that we shouldn’t try) and that knowing information does not necessarily translate into love – which is what we are called to do. (You can read the first post here and the second here.) This week, in concluding the series, I want to briefly cover the progression of how we can know God now and how doing so impacts our future (i.e. eternity).
The Bible Is God’s Gift So That We Can Know Him
Much of what we know about God is from the Bible. Furthermore, all of what we know about Him can be confirmed by the Bible. For instance, perhaps you have heard that Jesus died on the cross. That can only be known because of the Bible. Sure, some ancestor of one of the apostles could keep the verbal story alive, but I have never heard any person make a claim to be a direct descendant of someone who saw Jesus crucified. Even if a direct descendant existed, we would do well to confirm what was being said. On the other hand, we can know of God by looking into the night sky (or any other aspect of nature). Seeing all of the stars on a clear night should allow us to pause and ask how the stars came to be. The Bible provides an answer. So, the Bible is a gift from God that allows us to know about Him and learn to know Him.
Jesus Came As a Man So We Could Know God Better
Many have asked a question about why God would do something (i.e. allowing evil or even creating mosquitoes), or what He might do in a situation (the idea behind WWJD?). Of all that Jesus came to do during His life on earth, one aspect was to show how God would live as a human. (His life was far more than to come to model behavior for us, but He no doubt did provide a model while He lived here.) He answered many questions that the Jews of the 1st Century were asking, but certainly not all of them. 2000 years later, all of our questions are still not answered, but there is no doubt that in reading the stories from the gospels we can see God far better by realizing that He lived among us than we could if we simply had words on a page about Him. That is, we can begin to know God as a person because He lived among us rather than only knowing about an impersonal being who is out there somewhere. (Please note, God has never been impersonal toward man. While direct contact with man is not in every chapter of the Bible, His relationship with man is documented in Genesis 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12…and so on, all the way through Revelation 22.
Jesus Rose From the Dead So We Can Know God Eternally
The fact that Jesus lived does not generate a great deal of debate. Who He was, what He did, and why He came can generate endless debate. But, I would suggest that if Jesus came and died without the resurrection then the story, and subsequently, our ability to intimately know God would have suffered greatly. Someone needed to bridge the gap between us and God and while the death paid the price for our sins, without the resurrection, we would have little, if any, hope in that truth. For instance, Jesus told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them. But then He dies. So, the resurrection provides the hope that He truly is preparing a place. But what need would there be for a place to be with God if we were not to know God? Again, as I mentioned in the first post of this three part series, we will never know everything about God. He is infinite, we are not. But without the resurrection, the question of why we would want to know Him would be very valid.
So, we can know (about) God because of the Bible. We can know Him better because Jesus came, and we can know Him eternally because of Jesus’ resurrection. But to be able to know and to truly know are different. And that brings us to the concluding remarks of this series.
Many Will Know God Intimately Because They Are His Children
John 1.12 tells us that all who receive Him (Jesus) have the right to become children of God. That statement which comes from the Bible, is possible because Jesus came to earth, and is achievable because Jesus rose from the dead and brings about a tremendous reality – adoption by God as our Father. And unlike fathers on earth, God is the perfect picture of what a Father is to be. We may not always understand His actions, but we can be certain that His motive is about His righteousness and His love for us. A part of that righteousness and love will be for God to share Himself with us for all of eternity where we will not only be with Him physically, but we will be able to know Him intimately. Again, not perfectly, but deeply, personally, and in a way that is more complete than we can imagine.
As I have stated many times, a Christian’s goal should not be to die to “go to heaven.” It should be to be with God. That goal is possible because of Jesus who is not only the truth and the life but is also the way for us to know God (Father, Son, and Spirit) in a manner too unfathomable for our limited minds. So whether you know a lot about God, a little about God, or are somewhere in the middle, take time to know God (not just know about Him), and let Him reveal Himself to you as a loving Father would his child.
If you are interested in knowing God better, consider reading the book Knowing God by J.I. Packer. This book will teach you about God but does so in a way that you will know Him better.