Posted in A PERSON OVER A PRINCIPLE, Knowing Jesus, THE JESUS YOU NEED TO KNOW, The Meaning of Life, The Priority of Christian Knowledge, THE TRUTH IS A PERSON

THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

A fact can be held in a mind, unattached, unacknowledged, and not applied, for a lifetime, and thereby not do the person any good. Truth is living, it too can be rejected, but ultimately only by the dead. Those whom God has “…appointed to eternal life believe” (Acts 13:48), and thereby will be transformed into the the image of God’sSon.

THE HEARTS OF MEN ARE REVEALED BY KNOWING OR NOT KNOWING GOD

Paul, when writing to Titus, declared the state of men who profess to be Christian but in reality are not, and prove themselves to be counterfeit because they deny Christ. “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.” (Titus 1:16)

The optimal word in verse sixteen with regards to man’s spiritual condition is the word know.  Authentic Christians, or people who possess spiritual life, know God. The idea of knowing God, as it is used in the scriptures, translates into the possession of eternal life. To know God is to partake of God, and thereby partake of eternal life, because God is eternal life. The Apostle John said as much when he wrote concerning Jesus Christ, “and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—” (1 John 1:2).

Eternal life is defined by John in His Gospel as a knowledge of Jesus Christ. “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

The knowledge of which the Bible speaks is not chiefly intellectual, even though that is of knowledge of Godcourse necessary; biblical knowledge is intimate in nature. “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain…” (Genesis 4:1). The highest form of human knowledge according to the Bible is considered to be that of a man and a woman in marriage, as it is restricted to only one relationship. Only two people, within the bonds of holy matrimony for a lifetime, are to have such an intimate relationship.

Hence the word (ginóskó), in the Greek, means “to know, especially through personal experience (first-hand knowledge)”. Such knowledge of a person by another could not be obtained by reading a book or told any other way but by spending time together, and thereby, becoming intimately acquainted. “And Mary [a virgin] said to the angel, ‘How will this be since I do not know (ginṓskō = sexual intimacy) a man?’ (Luke 1:34)

The knowledge of God of which the scripture speaks regarding eternal life is of a spiritual nature. Of course, it is not physical as in the case of marriage, which is only meant to point to the intimacy that God desires with His people. Intimacy with God is a first hand knowledge of God, which can only be found in the person who trusts in Him.

evans-our-god-is-awesome-god-response-5-728Christianity is not a matter of perfection but direction. Nevertheless, the distinction between true and false Christians by whether or not  we obey. Found in the heart of every believing Christian  is the desire to keep God’s commandments. “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3, 4).

A person can desire to be good by adhering to cultural norms. However, a desire to be good apart from a personal knowledge of God is not what John is referring to as keeping His Commandments. The practice of which John speaks in 2:29 is the intimacy of filial love.  “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

Christianity is about identification with Christ by faith; identification through faith makes Jesus near and dear, thus creating intimacy. The Christian understands that when Jesus died, he died. When Jesus rose from the dead, he rose from the dead. These things took place in the heart of God, as God sees the believer in Christ. The believer knows this and lives accordingly.

A day is coming when the kingdom of God will be made complete, and of that day the scripture says, “And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, ‘know the LORD,’ for all will know me, from the least to the greatest of them” (Hebrews 8:11). The kingdom of God consists of only people who have come to a saving knowledge of God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. To know Jesus is to partake of Him.

However, be careful to understand the Jesus who offers Himself as the eternal life, of which men must partake to be saved. For Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). Jesus further said, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me” (John 6:56 & 57). To abide in Christ is to desire what He desires and obey whom He obeys.

Do you know God in this way? Do you possess a knowledge of God like a fact that does no good, or do you have an intimate relationship with God, that is transforming  your heart? Do you ask him questions and find the answers in his word? Do you live your life for His pleasure or is it all about your own? Can you answer these questions honestly and truthfully without self-deception? I hope and pray you can?

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“The greatest motivation to receive the message of Jesus is Jesus Himself. His moral integrity and trustworthiness draw men to Him …Jesus perfectly introduced a form of life that makes love the most desirable thing on earth. The life that Jesus lived flowered from a heart filled with an uncompromising love for God and His fellow man. It is Jesus’s heart – His motives, attitudes, desire, and will – that make Him the most desirable person in the universe. It is the desirable person of Jesus whom the author has attempted to describe publicly and accurately.” (Quoted from the introduction)

 

Posted in A PERSON OVER A PRINCIPLE, Jesus Christ: The Character of God, Knowing God, Knowing Jesus, MY JOURNEY WITH CHRIST, Personal Relationships, THE JESUS YOU NEED TO KNOW

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

It is one thing to hear the gospel call to receive Jesus Christ as Lord, and it is still another to to follow Him as set forth in the scripture. Barely a teen and a failure at reading the Bible, the way to follow Jesus was foreign to me.

The great lesson learned during those years was discipleship. There was no one in my life to help me navigate the terrain of the Christian walk, which involves separation from the world, war with our own flesh, and spiritual warfare. Some paths are best walked with an experienced guide.

My high school years were spent growing in the fine art of becoming an odd ball. As a typical teenager there was a desire to fit in, but there were some things I would not do. Something was different about me but I couldn’t identify what it was. When speaking to my dad on one occasion, the words rang out of my mouth with an assurance that had not been present before, “I know that there is a God.”

It is good to have assurance of God’s existence, however, the devil is assured of God’s existence and trembles. Furthermore, it is equally important to understand God’s will and to be empowered to carry it out. You can only coast for so long, where there is no growth the world, the flesh, and the devil will become too much to resist. So it was in my case, sin got the best of me after high school.

The authentic Christian cannot live with wrongdoing for very long, the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, and makes living in sin completely unbearable. It is a hard lesson to learn but in the end it makes the student more empathetic toward those he/she will seek to help through similar circumstances.

As a along time teacher, it is never a good idea to be tolerant of sin. Furthermore, even though empathy is an important part of helping others to know that you love them, it is equally important to teach well that sin is the most destructive force in everyone’s life.

There is always a consequence to sin in this life and for the Christian that means discipline from a heavenly Father who loves us very much.

Posted in A PERSON OVER A PRINCIPLE, FALSE RELIGION AND TRUE FAITH, MY JOURNEY WITH CHRIST, THE TRUTH IS A PERSON

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

 

Every person that is born of a woman is on a journey. It is true that life is a journey, but life is not about the journey; life is about the glory of God. Therefore, here is my journey for God’s glory.

 

I am the grandson of Italian immigrant grandparents; whose children survived the great depression and a world war. My father was wounded a couple of days after landing on Anzio Beach, Italy. As a boy he lived to play baseball, but I watched him drag his leg for forty years of my life.

He was a war hero, but what everyone that knew him understood about my Dad was his understanding spirit, ability to turn tense times into a reason to laugh, and a natural wisdom that could only have been given to him by God.

At five or six years old while sitting in a Catholic church, and noticing a little box sitting on the altar at the front of the building, I said, “what’s in the box,” to which my cousin responded, “God”, to which I answered, “How does He fit in there?”

It is amazing the things that we believe, or rather accept simply because they are told to us by people we trust, or perhaps do not want to disappoint. Only by the grace of God working within me have my eyes been opened to foolish falsehoods.

Who opens the eyes of the blind

As a student at a religious school for eight years it was easy to develop the attitude that the path laid before me was the correct one. One day the teacher answered someone’s question, “What about people that have never heard what we believe?” The answer came back, “There is only hope for those who believe as we do.” I remember thinking to myself, “I am so glad I am a Catholic.”

One night while praying in bed the thought came to me, “If I were to die right now, I don’t know that there’s a God or a heaven. Under my breath the words came out, “I don’t know if there is a God, but if there is, please help me go to sleep because I don’t want to think about this anymore.”

Shortly thereafter, while sitting in front of the TV and hearing the Gospel as never before, a consciousness of sins guilt came upon me, and the weight of the world landed squarely upon my shoulders. After inching down the couch ever closer to the TV, I rose, went to the bedroom, and from the edge of my bed cried out, “God help me.” The weight was lifted and all was right with the world – for a time.