Why is knowing God the most important matter of salvation and life? Knowing God is the common purpose to both. All other purposes fall short. One comes to know God in the gift of eternal life. One knows about God in natural life . Natural life's purpose is found in the gift of eternal life, whereby we go from knowing about God to knowing God. Today’s post will explore the priority of knowing God in both natural life and in the New life that is found in Jesus Christ.
Knowing God - The chief purpose of natural life
The purpose of life itself is to know God. Jeremiah the prophet records in Jeremiah 9:23-24 "Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord." Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 12:13 "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person".
Fallen man is born with the innate knowledge about God and yet spurns such knowledge on favor of created things (Romans 1:18-31). Moral men and religious adherents can at best know about God. Yet to them, God is but a principle. God, for the naturally-minded unbeliever, is often-times not viewed as truly Personal. The delivery of personal acquaintance with this God through saving trust in Jesus Christ is required to transition from merely knowing "about God" to "knowing God".
The question remains: what kind of God are we talking about that is worth knowing? God is described in the opening verses of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as: "God is one and only one true and living God". Why this statement? The stress of the words lies not only in the fact of God's existence, but also in the uniqueness of this God. No other God can save (Isaiah 43:10). No other God can be known (Isaiah 44:6; Jeremiah 10:10). God alone occupies His own category of being (1 Corinthians 8:4-7).
Ultimate reality is not material. Neither the universe nor even spiritual realm in the sense of the angels constitutes what would be ultimate, ultimate reality. Such realms - whether they be visible or invisible - are created realms. God is indeed spiritual in nature (John 4:24), yet He is uncreated, eternal and necessarily exists - meaning that He must exist in order for the invisible and visible realms to be. These insights explain why life's purpose resides in not just knowing about God, but truly knowing Him.
Knowing God - The purpose of salvation
What is the essence of the meaning of salvation in Jesus Christ? to know God. Knowing this God is most remarkable. Knowing God, who is the only God, the one and only God, is salvation's chief end. Jesus defines eternal life (salvation) in John 17:3 "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Salvation's beginning and duration revolves about knowing God. Author J.I. Packer makes the following statement in his book "Knowing God": "What we're we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the 'eternal life' that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God (John 17:3). What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God."
It is very clear from observing the purposes of salvation and life that "knowing God" ends up being the same purpose for both. Tomorrow we will reflect further on this point by considering further scriptural passages in the Old and New Testaments.