Sunday, May 01, 2011

Knowing God

On my way to bed the other night, I happened to run across an interview on TV.  The person being interviewed is a well known television personality/celebrity.  They were talking about life and its lessons, and they mentioned some final words that someone who was close to death had given them, that in the end it is all about family and friends; in other words, it's all about relationships and it is those relationships that matter most in life, and give meaning to life.  Of course, the interviewer nodded in solemn agreement, and for the next few minutes they both talked about the value of relationships.

It is true that relationships are important, and, for those of us who are common everyday people, our legacy, if you will, is carried on in the relationships we leave behind.  However, there is an eternal relationship, a relationship that we can have both in this life and in the one to come, and that is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  This relationship is what actually guarantees our acceptance into the presence of God when we pass from this life into the next.  To those who professed to be Christians and were relying on their religious works as their ticket to heaven, Jesus had this to say in Matthew 7:23, "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew (knew in an intimate personal way) you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'"  And in John 17:3 Christ tells us this, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."

It is to know God personally, not just know about or have heard about Him; to have a relationship with Him, rather than an abstract knowledge of Him; to know up close and not from a distance; to be familiar and not a stranger to Him and His ways, that makes our faith a living faith.   To have this faith, this intimate knowledge of God, was one of the promises of the New Covenant as God said in Jeremiah 31:34, "For they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them."   It is the knowledge of the Most High that gives substance to our faith.

The command to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul presupposes that we know Him.  We cannot have this kind and depth of love for someone whom we do not know.  In fact, the more we know Him the greater our love shall be for Him, so as we grow in the breadth and depth of our knowledge of Him there is a corresponding growth in our love for Him that will encompass more and more of our heart, mind, and soul. This is one of the reasons we are exhorted in II Peter 3:18 to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This is also part of my personal testimony.  As I was reading an article on Tom Landry in Guidepost magazine while in the waiting room of a doctor's office, he talked about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; and I thought to myself, "How do you have a relationship with someone who has been dead two thousand years."  But this impacted me, for though I had grown up in the church and knew the facts about Jesus and had professed faith in Jesus, I knew that I did not know Him and did not have a relationship with Him.  After wrestling with this for two years, I finally came to the point where one evening I saw myself as the sinner I was and repented.  The next morning when I woke up I knew Him, and knew that I knew Him as He was alive to me; and the relationship has grown deeper and sweeter through the years.

So the question for those of you reading this is, "Do you know Him, and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, not just know about Him, but know Him and have a relationship with Him?"  Do you have fellowship and communion with Him?  Are you intimate with Him?  Do you know that you know Him?  For if you do, then you can know and rest assured that you have eternal life.

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