Friday, October 16, 2009

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Saving Knowledge

The Pastor’s Perspective

Vol. 29. Num. 3

Last week, we were reflecting on the nature of the saving knowledge of God: what is it to know Him? We said that saving knowledge of God is more than merely being aware of God or believing in his existence. And we pointed out that saving knowledge of God is more than any real or imagined experience of God. To these two points we may add two more.

The saving knowledge of God is more than knowing about God. There is a difference between knowing notions and knowing God -- just as there is a difference between a knowledge gained by hearing a description of someone, and the knowledge one has by acquaintance with someone. To be sure there are some things to be known about God that are vital to a relational knowledge of him. We must know that he is the source of all wisdom, righteousness, goodness, mercy, truth, power and life. We must know that all things were created for his glory. We must know that he is a righteous judge who punishes sin. And we must know that he is full of mercy and freely shows his favor to those who come to him for forgiveness. That having been said, our knowledge about God contributes to a saving knowledge of God only in the context of a relationship of commitment and trust -- in other words, a relationship of faith.

Finally, we should remember, the saving knowledge of God involves knowing something about ourselves as well. We cannot have a true knowledge of God without also knowing who we are. He made us. We are dependent on him as our creator. And we are needy sinners. Apart from him we have no hope. This self-knowledge is necessary is necessary for our knowledge of God. Because his relationship to his children is a saving relationship. Only when we recognize our need do we begin to have a real knowledge of God. As J.I. Packer has said: “knowing God by faith according to the Scriptures is three things together: it is apprehension of who and what he is; it is application to ourselves of what he gives; and it is adoration of him, the Giver.”

May the Lord grant you a sure and saving knowledge of himself.

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

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