Knowing God In Truth
What is God like? How is God? What is the nature of God if He even exists? Is it possible to know God in truth?
As I begin this post, I would like to point out as one A.W.Tozer wrote in his book The knowledge of the Holy, that — such like questions cannot be answered except to say that God is not like anything; that is, He is not like anything or anybody — and I concur.
God just is. As He said to Moses — I AM THAT I AM.
However, still, God can be known. As He spoke to the children of Israel through Jeremiah, He said to them, “and you shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall have searched for Me with all your heart.”
Indeed, it is the yearning heart that God reveals Himself to.
God can be known because He has revealed Himself in creation; He has revealed Himself in the scriptures (Bible), and He has revealed Himself intimately to us in the person of His son.
1 Timothy 3
16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
He may not be known fully as He is far beyond human comprehension, but we can still have an understanding of who He is and how to relate with Him through the way He has chosen to reveal Himself to us.
God is love.
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.
8 He that does not love does not know God; for God is love.
Knowing God too, is not something that can be done with means such as tests, experiments, or even proof. We know Him by faith….(not blind faith), but by evidential faith of His attributes. His love towards us, His sovereignty, His grace, His mercy, His justice, His faithfulness, His wisdom, His holiness, His goodness, to mention but a few.
Like gravity, we do not see it physically, but we believe it exists as a force because without it, we wouldn’t even be able to have life as we have it today.
With the same understanding, God is spirit. And we, as human beings are unable to comprehend such a being because, in as much as we are created in His likeness and image, we are also flesh and blood —limited by our earthly bodies, and thus, inadequate of mind when it comes to a full knowledge and understanding of God.
And that is why the Holy Spirit is necessary to understand God. The Holy Spirit reveals God to us. “Even so the things of God knows no man but the Spirit of God.” – 1 Corinthians 2:11
So how do we know God?
God knows Himself; Jesus knows God, and the Holy Spirit knows God and because the Holy Spirit is God, no man can know God except by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, “no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither does any man know the Father, save the Son, and He to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” —Matthew 11:27
And it is by being drawn by the Holy Spirit to God can we know Him; not intellectually but in our inner man; a personal encounter/relationship.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26
God has given us the spirit to apprehend Him/know Him intimately and the intellect to understand theology. There is a difference. Studying theology can never reveal to us who God truly is as a person/intimate relationship. We can only know about Him just as far as we can know that Albert Einstein existed. But the person of Albert Einstein, we can never know who he truly was on the inside or his heart motives: if he was kind/generous/loving/forgiving….and to what degree he was these things; or if he put on a show to be kind/generous/loving/forgiving….which things would appear to men externally – as good – but we would never truly know who he was within; his inner world.
But we can know God that intimately and perfectly (in detail).
And that is why I said: “We know Him by faith….(not blind faith), but by evidential faith of His attributes. His love towards us, His sovereignty, His grace, His mercy, His justice, His faithfulness, His wisdom, His holiness, His goodness, to mention but a few.”
For it is the Holy Spirit who reveals these truths about God to those who have come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
And the Son (Jesus Christ) has made it possible for us to know God the Father by reconciling us back to Him.
2 Corinthians 5
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Thus, we know the Father, not fully, but in part because Jesus has reconciled us back to Him; that we may commune and have fellowship with Him. And one day, we shall also know the Father fully as it has been declared in the scriptures.
1 Corinthians 13
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Now, just as it is possible to know God in truth, it is also possible not to know Him at all or even in truth. We live in a time where man has become vastly knowledgeable and educated to the point that, instead of using this education to gain a deeper insight and understanding of the Holy in humility, he has become even the more confused and entrapped by the knowledge he possesses.
It is sad because God views human wisdom as foolishness in His sight.
1 Corinthians 1
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
This reminds me, one time, I had a conversation with an acquaintance. We never ended up being good friends but we always had good conversations when we got the time to be together. We rode the same van together to and fro work for two months.
I remember in one of our numerous conversations, the conversation of God came up. Interestingly, I had been wondering how I would bring it up, and there, an opportunity presented itself. I was excited of course…. (On the low) because it is always my favorite topic to discuss since I get to understand why people believe what they believe and in turn, I get to share the love of Jesus Christ with them.
So, my acquaintance-friend, asked me what I thought of God. I shared with him about His deep love and sacrifice for us on the cross. He in turn, asked me why I was hellbent sure that the God I was speaking of was the true God seeing that our ancestors (after going through most of the Kenyan traditional tribes in previous conversations), worshipped God in their own way yet He still spoke to them, answered their prayers and all… as well as helping them when conflicts arose. In fact, he insisted that the Bible and the Gospel were brought to Africa by the white man, and that is the reason why we turned away from our traditional ways of worship.
Now, I can tell you for sure that I have argued in the same fashion in the past like my acquaintance-friend did with me. So, no judgement or looking down on him or anything like that from my end; because, when some of my friends as well as acquaintances tried to convince me on a one-only path to God, I would always hit them with a thesis of theological problems, trapping them in their own arguments. Sadly, little did I know how God viewed me at that time.
This time around, I was the one on the receiving end. And my heart could only pray that God would help that young man know Him in truth, know Him as a friend, a life-time partner, and a companion just as I had come to know Him, or even deeper.
Because God had made it possible to be known. He made the effort by reaching out to man in a way that still baffles me even to-date; by revealing Himself to us: to touch, to handle, to experience, to know, and to trust, in the person of His Son.
What a glorious God!
Now, statements as well professing a Triune God, bring about reasonings, confusions, unbelief to the minds that try to understand how the Trinity can be brought about without involving the aspect of polytheistic worship. “How can God be a man and God at the same time? How can you believe in God, and worship Jesus, yet, He was a man? Doesn’t that make Christianity a polytheistic religion, or worse, idolizing a man?”
Such like reasonings become not only a paradox to the unbelieving mind, but also a stumbling block to they that attempt to understand the Trinity intellectually. A similar stumbling block which caused the Jews even to this day, to experience a blindness of their saviour and redeemer
7 What then Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
8 Just as it is written: “God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.”
9 And David says: “Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block and a recompense to them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, And bow down their back always.”
11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.
1 Corinthians 1
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Gentiles seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
I will therefore not attempt to defend the Trinity seeing that it is in itself an impossible task to understand intellectually, let alone spiritually; how God exists as one being, and as three persons at the same time is a mystery. And such knowledge is too high for human comprehension.
But to those who struggle with this, they could reflect on the several instances even in our own environment where there exists such like occurrences. Water, for instance, is in substance one, yet can exist in three states: solid (ice), liquid (water), gas (water vapor). [And this is weak example because it divides the substance]
Now, in no way does this description try to reduced God into the substance of water. It is just an indication that even in our own surrounding environment, such kinds of ‘improbable’ circumstances exist.
Quoting from the Knowledge of the Holy, “Christ did not hesitate to use plural form when speaking of Himself along with the Father and the Spirit. “We will come unto him and make Our abode with him.” It is important that we think of God as Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. Only so may we think rightly of God and in a manner worthy of Him and of our souls.”
And with that truth (of a Triune God), the God of the Bible, it is a truth and a fact (without debate), that God, cannot be known apart from Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. And anybody who teaches such a possiblity is a liar, and an antichrist.
1 John 2
21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
We know God because He has chosen to reveal Himself to us; we know God because He chose to humble Himself so lowly that He may take our shame, guilt, and punishment for us. We know God because He came to live with, and amongst us. We recognize God in truth because His Holy Spirit dwells in the children of truth. We know God, for He loved us with an everlasting love, in that, He came to conquer sin, death, hell, and the grave for us.
God, did that for you and for me. So that we would never be lost.
And this God is the God that I serve. The God of Abraham, the God of Israel, the God of Isaac, and all those who have come to know Him intimately through Jesus Christ.
And we love God, because He first loved us.
If Jesus is not your Lord and saviour, I implore you, to be reconciled to God through Him. For He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Him.
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
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I meant that an apple is one in 3 parts.
Well written and thought provoking to think upon knowing GOD which we are able to do through HIS Son JESUS…
About the Trinity, I like your analogy of water states. I’ve also taught children in ministry that an apple is on, yet has 3 parts. The outer covering of protection (GOD the FATHER), the fruit inside (the Holy Spirit), and the seed (JESUS) which has to die to bring forth new life. Yes, all who call on the Name of JESUS will be saved (Jew or Gentile alike)…
Wow! I have never thought of that…that is, about the apple. I love that analogy especially because it brings out a perfect demonstration of the work of Christ here on earth and in our own lives: dying that we may obtain salvation, and dying to self each day as we emulate Him.
I’ll borrow that one 🙂