Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Does God Know You?

Last week in the Relationship Tuesday series, we talked about the difference between Knowing About God and Knowing God.  This week we’re going to talk about God knowing us.  That is after all part of a relationship right?  Both parties know each other.

When I use the word “know” here, I’m not talking about know as in the omniscient way He knows everything.  I’m talking about a more intimate knowledge, a familiarity or a relational knowledge, if you will.

In Matthew 7:20-23 Jesus says, “"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

Clearly there are those who think they know Jesus, that do amazing works in His name, I dare say more than most of us have done, but who do not have a relationship with Him.  They think they know Him, but when they claim to know Him on Judgment day, He doesn’t recognize them as His own.

It’s like knowing about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  You can read all the tabloids, see all their movies, join their fan clubs, follow them on Twitter, even get your hair cut to look just like them, but if you were to show up on their doorstep claiming to know them, you’d be promptly dragged away by their body guards, turned over to the police and imprisoned for harassment.

And I don’t choose my analogy lightly.  These Hollywood icons are in many ways defining what relationships should look like whether that’s civil, friendship, marriage, or even family, and a lot of those ideas are superimposed on our relationship with God. 

Now, scripture does use a lot of earthly metaphors to describe our relationship with God such as Father, brother, bridegroom, friend, king, etc., but too often our ideas about these metaphors are informed by the imperfect rather than by the perfect—God Himself.  Our relationship with God as Father for instance is different than our relationship with our earthly father, and it’s far different than the fatherly relationships portrayed in movies.

All that to say, we ought not treat God as we would treat any old relationship, and we certainly ought not imagine that our knowledge about Him and scripture, our good deeds done in His name, or even seeing miracles happen in His name are the same as knowing Him or even more crazy that these things mean He ought to know us.

But how do we know that God knows us?  Jesus says He doesn’t know those who practice lawlessness.  What’s lawlessness?  Jesus also says that all the law and the prophets rest on two commandments: Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-40).  If you love God with everything and love others, you’re not lawless.

Paul spells it out in very simple terms: “If anyone loves God, then he is known by Him” (1 Corinthians 8:3). 

Our quest isn’t to learn about God, so we gain a lot of knowledge: head or heart knowledge for those who speak Christianese.  Our quest is to love God with everything we’ve got regardless if we understand Him or His ways because we’ll never really understand the infinite, unfathomable God, but we can know Him, and if we love Him, we can be known by Him.

Next Week: The Fear of the Lord


Andrew Bernhardt said...

When you quoted Matthew 7:20-23 "...I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness", the passage connected strongly in my mind with another I read recently. Jeremiah 22:13-16:

"Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice, who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing and does not give him his wages, who says, 'I will build myself a great house with spacious upper rooms,' who cuts out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermilion. Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the LORD. ..."

stephen porter said...

Awesome connection Andy. I missed that verse in my studies on this subject. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Powerful stuff!


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