4/15/2009

How to know God?

Adapted from "Knowing God," chapter 3, by J. I. Packer

Knowing God is more than knowing a lot of Bible knowledge and theology (the study of God).

Knowing God is an emotional relationship, as well as an intellectual and volitional one. The psalmist said, "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Ps 34:8).

This is the hard part: The initiative of knowing God is with God (not I), since God is so completely above us and we have so completely forfeited all claim on his favor by our sins.

We do not make friends with God: God makes friends with us, bringing us to know him by making his love known to us. Grace always comes first, and remains fundamental to our salvation. We know God by faith because He first singled us out by grace.

Knowing God points to God's initiative in loving, choosing, redeeming, calling and preserving us.

All my knowledge of God depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. I am never out of his mind. There is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters.

This is momentous knowledge. There is great cause for humility in the thought that God sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow humans do not see. (Thank God for that!) He also sees more corruption in me than which I see in myself. Yet for some unfathomable reason, he wants me as his friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given his Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose.

In brief, to know God is to know that He knows us, and that He wants to make Himself known to us, despite our mountain of sins.