Knowing and being known…
That is the title of Packer’s third chapter in Knowing God. Masterfully he guides us to realize that the ultimate purpose of our everyday, mundane lives it to know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom [he] has sent.”
How does this strike you? Is it still too abstract? Think about this, Christianity is not just about heaven, or escaping this world. It is all about God. I am tempted to think about being released from the rat race called my life, as if Jesus is my moksha from this wheel of fortune.
(I used to joke with my friends that “Jesus is my moksha.” What I meant was that some people think that Jesus is the fulfillment of every religion, so that you can have Christian Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. I don’t think that could be true, but it is ironic that I live my life like a Christian Hindu–Jesus is my moksha, or release, into the being of God.)
My everyday life, my work, my home-life, my recreation, my church-life is all about knowing God through Jesus by the word of God in grace. Yes, complex sentence, sorry. Nonetheless, I ask myself–Jesus, How can I know you more today?
Theologically, each day is an act of God through his divine providence to bring us into greater knowledge of him through love and obedience. That means, everything has the purpose of drawing me closer to him, if I would bend my will to accept it. Through Jesus, God is for us, he comes close to us, and teaches us about himself.
Lest we get caught in the abstract, or lest you think these are glittering generalities, Packer explains what he means by knowledge of God.
First, he admits that knowing God is very complex, because God is very complex. The most complex of all complexities. Does this mean that it is hard to know God? No, and Yes. The simplicity is that God has revealed himself. The complexity is that we cannot pretend to know God without effort of our will, mind, heart and soul.
Have you grown content in your knowledge of God? My pastor preached from Colossians 1:15-23 that we cannot be content with just knowing something about the supremacy of Christ, rather it should be the pursuit of our souls as long as we live.
How can we make knowing Jesus and the power of his resurrection the pursuit of our souls?
Do you think that would change your life? How?
Not only is God complex, he is superior to us, both in position and perfections. We know God only as he reveals himself to us from a superior position. But this is amazing, isn’t it?!? Packer compares it as if the Queen of England or the President of the United States confided in you, a lowly citizen.
Imagine the joy of a teenager at rock concert, who after the music and lights had faded, was invited to the stars personal trailer to become befriended by the star. What would that teenager have to say to his family, church, school, etc. the next day?
Do I take my relationship with God too casually? Do you?
In America, status is no longer as important as it once was, as such we have little concept of honor and we are increasingly losing our concept of shame. It is common that people sing and talk of God as our friend. There is nothing wrong with this. But we do not realize what it means that God has befriended us, the creator of the universe, the one who is a consuming fire, whose wrath burns hotly against all evil, but whose love and compassion delivers forgiveness to the broken; He is our friend! It should humble us and yet also bring us great joy. Rather, we speak of it calmly and cooly, God is my best friend. Do we mean it? Do we understand what that means?
Packer says it’s like when a son knows his Father, a wife her husband, a sheep its shepherd and a servant her King! Not just knowing about Him, his past actions, but what he desires and what he is doing.
The Jesus who walks through the gospel story walks with Christians now, and knowing him involves going with him, now as then.
Jesus’ voice is “heard” when Jesus’ claim is acknowledge, his promise trusted and his called answered.
This means knowledge involves the obedience of faith.
- Its a personal knowledge.
God is not information, but a person who acts and speaks.
- Its is personal involvement.
God is a person who communicates with our mind, will and hearts. This means that one who knows God will be affected by him. Oh that we would be passionate about God, including our tears, as well as joy.
- It is a matter of Grace
God is the initiator of the relationship. He called us, he chose us. The superior has stooped down to us!
Ultimately, IT IS BEING KNOWN BY JESUS.
This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort–the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates–in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me [I would add, also future knowledge], to that no discovery can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.
Do you believe that God is determined to bless you?
Will you seek to know him that way?