Is Anything More Important than Knowing God?
Is anything more important than knowing God? Most would answer “Nothing is more important.” Yet J.I. Packer and C.S. Lewis would beg to differ.
J. I. Packer:
What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it—the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands [Isa. 49:16]. I am never out of his mind. All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters. This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort—the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates—in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.
Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 41-42.
C. S. Lewis:
In the end that Face which is the delight or the terror of the universe must be turned upon each of us either with one expression or with the other, either conferring glory inexpressible or inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised. I read in a periodical the other day that the fundamental thing is how we think of God. By God Himself, it is not! How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except insofar as it is related to how He thinks of us. . . . To please God . . . to be a real ingredient in the Divine happiness . . . to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son—it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.
The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (HarperCollins 2001), 39.
Being know by God is more important than knowing God. J.I. Packer and C.S. Lewis are two Christian thinkers, who prove that using your initials in your name makes you smarter. They also remind us that God is first in everything.
Just consider four verses (Hint – note the verb tense).
“But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” (1 Cor. 8:3)
“But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” (Gal. 4:9)
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matt. 7:22-23)
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:12)
Intimacy is often defined as knowing and being known. So in light of Packer and Lewis, being known by God is the first step toward experiencing intimacy with God. In the Christian life it is being known that sustains our knowing. Or we could just quote the first letter of john, “We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19) It is the fact that ‘he first loved’ that sustains us, that he knew us from eternity that defines us. It is not our ability to maintain a passion for God or even “White knuckle” a love for God that sustains our spiritual life. (1 Jn 4:10). Life in the Spirit begins with living from being known and being loves by the Triune God. The knowledge that he knows us and STILL loves us (often in spite of us) is a sure foundation. A foundation that makes possible real intimacy. Such a foundation calls us to sink our roots deep into the life of God, and find there the warm welcoming embrace of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
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