What is the key to truly knowing God?
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S. Michael Houdmann
Within all of us there exists a strong desire to be known and to know others. More importantly, all people desire to know their Creator, even if they are not professed believers in God. Today we ar...
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I believe that the only way to know God is by communion with God. You can not talk about someone you do not know. Jesus didn't just come to save sinners, but He also came to reveal the Father (God) to us.(John 17:3.)
And that will only come through revelation in the word of God. In summary, God can not be explain. He must be revealed to you, but that will never happen unless you decide to start a relationship with Him. You can know God in a very intimate relationship, and He is longing for our attention.
He says in Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near.
Another question was merged with this one: "Is is possible to know God?" Yes, it is possible, but only because God has chosen to reveal Himself. In fact, not only has He chosen to reveal Himself, but He desires to have a relationship with us. We were created for relationship with Him.
Romans 1:19-20 shows how God has revealed himself to all in his created order. Hebrews 1:1-2 is an overview of God speaking in history, first through the prophets, and then finally and ultimately through His Son, Jesus Christ. We can know God only through a relationship with His son, Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Is it possible to know God? Yes! Jeremiah 33:3; Jeremiah 29:12-13; Revelation 3:20; John 3:16.
We come to know God as we know others: through relationship and communication. God speaks to us in his word (the Bible). We talk to him in prayer.
I believe that the absolute key requirement to knowing God is first of all to be born again (John 3:3 and 3:6; Romans 10:9-10). This would enable us in the first place to start our journey to know Him personally by daily meditating on His Word (in particular the Gospel and other books of the NT) and by obeying His commands all along the journey (our life) passionately.
I see 1 John 1:3-4 as one critical principle governing the degree of how intimately we know our Lord Jesus Christ and and 1 John 1:5-6 as a test criteria whether we know Him at all:
1 John 3 We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands. 4 Whoever says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys His word, the love for God is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: 6 whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.
And His fundamental commands are in 1 John 3:23; And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us.
The Bible says much about how we can know God. While we can know 'about God' simply from the things God created (Rom 1:20), we 'truly know' God only through Christ (I John 5:20, Heb 7:22-28). Without faith, we cannot know God.
It is from our faith in Christ that our relationship with God begins and grows. "And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God." I John 4:14-15
[Ask: Do I believe?]
Christ has given us understanding, the "mind of Christ", so that we may know the Father. (I John 5:20) This is by the testimony of His death and resurrection, and by giving us the Holy Spirit. (I Cor 2).
[Ask: Am I listening to the conviction of the Holy Spirit?]
- Living through Christ
As we have given our lives to Christ, we 'live through Him' (I John 4:9), having died to self and having risen again as new creations through baptism (II Cor 5:17, I Pet 3:21, Rom 6:1-14.) This means we are no longer slaves to sin, and should no longer serve sin. Instead, we should walk by the Spirit and serve righteousness (Gal 4:8-11). Even though we are weak, God will give us the power to walk in Him (II Cor 13:4).
[Ask: Am I seeking righteousness, or my own fleshly desires?]
Those who love God are known by God and love others. (I Cor 8:3, I John 4:7-8). It does not matter if we have just met them, if they are rude, if they are an enemy, or if we find them uncomfortable to be around. God loves us and reached out to us even with all our flaws, we should do the same to others. (Luke 7:47, I Thess 4:9, John 13:23-34, Rom 13:8, I John 3:11, I Jn 4:11)
"A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34
[Ask: Am I loving others, or only those I deem qualified?]
As we have been forgiven by God of all our debts and sins, we should forgive others when they harm us or incur debts. (Matt 6:12, Luke 11:4)
[Ask: Am I ready to forgive, or do I try to discipline others or ask them to make amends instead?]
"We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." I John 2:3-6
[Ask: Do I obey, or do I go my own way?]
It is God's will that we be sanctified - set apart as holy for His service. As such, we should learn self-control and seek to act uprightly. This sets us apart from the 'pagans who do not know God' (I Thess 4:3-6), and shows the world that we are not slaves to sin or empty rituals (Gal 4:8-9).
[Ask: Does my life and conduct look just like unbelievers of the world, or is there a distinct difference?]
- Spiritual Growth
As we add to our faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, devoutness, affection for fellow believers, and love, we will likewise grow in our personal relationship with Christ. (II Pet 1:3-11) It may seem like a slow process as maturing can take time, but even a little growth helps us gain in knowledge of the character and will of God.
[Ask: Am I growing in Christ? Am I bearing fruit over the years?]
- Serve God alone
Idols, whether of stone or stuff, can keep us from whole-heartedly serving God or even paying attention to what God wants. Idols give us nothing eternal, nor do they know anything. (I Cor 8:4, Is 44:12-20)
"And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols.'" I John 5:20-21
[Ask: Is God sovereign of my life?]
Pray to the Lord for discernment. Read the New Testament to start with. Start with the Gospel of John and find who Christ really is then the rest of it.
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