To know God is at once the easiest and most difficult thing in the world. —A.W. Tozer
The idea of knowing God seems rather serious and mysterious. Can I really know someone or something I cannot see? Do I see and perceive things I do not fully know? Some call the pursuit to know God futile. But the history of the world and the testimony of Scripture is that God has revealed Himself in creation and God can be known through the revelation of Himself recorded in the pages of the Bible.
Since many dismiss the possibility of truly knowing God, they simply choose a life of material pursuits and physical gratifications—thinking there is no great need to attend to the matters of the soul. Yet the words attributed to Augustine reflect the deep reality of the emptiness of the human soul: Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.
Could it be that the search impulses and restless wanderings—so apparent in the culture that surrounds us and within our own hearts—reflect a greater capacity within the whole of humanity to know and understand that life is more than mere existence?
Life isn’t just a pulse, heartbeat or brainwave activity; it is conscious awareness of something within us, something about us—a spiritual capacity—existing in a physical body that is more than the animations of the body alone.
We are dependent beings made to know God in order to understand purpose and meaning in life, as much as we are dependent upon water, air and sleep for physical life and health.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote the following concerning our march through time: “…God has put eternity in our hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Our very lives carry the brand of significance, the Imago Dei (made in the image of God). We are image-bearers of a greater world called the eternal, and we are people who need to know the Creator in order to understand the intent of all of creation.
It is this matter that makes life matter.
That’s why French artist, mathematician and philosopher Blaise Paschal is often quoted as saying, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
The essential message of Holy Scripture from beginning to end declares that you and I were made by God and created to know God. We were not merely made for ourselves, but for God and His glory. Our greatest purposefulness and significance is derived through right alignment and relationship with Him.
If—just think about it—IF this is true, then nothing is more vain than every attempt to find life, live life and discover meaning in life apart from God who made you.
Could this explain so much of the brokenness, emptiness and hopelessness you may be experiencing? Are you separated and disconnected from God? No one can deny the gravity of weaknesses or the default toward selfishness and sins. So how can you know a God you cannot see? How can you align yourself to be found acceptable in the sight of the One whose character and standards are surely not like your own?
Is the path to knowing God synonymous with the pursuit of wisdom, greater religious education, efforts to improve character, offering sacrifice, demonstrating generosity or simply trying harder to become better? No.
Self-improvement often leads to defeat and discouragement. Self-actualization only leads to the actual awareness that there is something inherently wrong within you that you cannot change, correct or reconstruct to make a better way or a happy ending.
You cannot build a stairway to heaven or discover God even through your most sincere search. How can you know God? You can only know God through His initiative and expression of amazing grace toward us.
The God who made you to know Him actually knows you and everything about you. Yet despite the failures and short-comings that exist, He intervenes and acts to rescue you from your chosen ignorance and independence.
The pages of Scripture are not filled with moral platitudes telling you how you can become a better person. God did not provide a system for you to remedy your sins, He provided a Redeemer—One who would accomplish the recovery of the human soul from the very power and penalty of sin that dominates and destroys you. God provided reconciliation with Himself for you.
God’s gracious intervention and final revelation of Himself was made known in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Jesus, Messiah, Son of God came into the world of His own creation that you through Him might know and experience God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-5, 9-14).
How can you know God? By looking to Jesus and receiving the light and life He gives to all who believe on His name.
How can you know God? By recognizing the significance and severity of the work of Christ on the cross for you. Jesus came and lived an exemplary life, but He was much more than a good example that tragically became a martyr. Jesus died in your place—a substitute for your sin—honoring God’s rule, satisfying God’s justice, demonstrating God’s love, declaring God’s appeal, and fulfilling the mission for which He was sent to provide salvation for you.
Once you recognize this work of God in Christ for you and your need to repent of self, sin, religion, and all efforts to achieve righteousness on your own, you must receive Jesus Christ and the righteousness that comes by faith to all who believe on His name. Scripture declares, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10).
All of this is because of a sovereign, saving work of grace accomplished by God in Christ for you.
In the New Testament, grace means God's love in action toward people who merited the opposite of love. Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means God sending His only Son to the cross to descend into hell so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven. ―J.I. Packer
Have you recognized, repented and received Christ’s work of grace and God’s gift of righteousness and life in Christ for you?
“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Hebrews 3:15).
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:13).
This is the witness of the law and the prophets.
Do you know God?