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 course 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.
Christianity 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?
“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)