Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Knowing God

JOHN 17:1–3 – When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

THEME OF THE DAY. KNOWING GOD. Imagine if a new Christian came up to you with these questions, “Why did God save me?”; “What is my purpose in life now that I am a follower of Jesus Christ?”; and “What will I be doing in heaven?”, how would you answer? Here a couple of possibilities: “God saved you for His glory”, “Your purpose in life is to daily seek to live out God’s will as it is revealed in the Bible”, and “In heaven, we will be adoring and worshipping God forever.” Those are right answers, but I think there is one “more right” and is necessary in our understanding and living out the first three answers I shared. It is found in today’s scripture – knowing God, not knowing about God, but knowing Him and increasing in that relationship.

So, if that is the purpose of salvation, knowing God, which it is; if that is the purpose of our life on earth, knowing God, which it is; and if our chief activity in Him will be knowing God, which it will be, is this our understanding of salvation and the pursuit in our lives on earth? How would we know? It would be evident not first in how we live, but in our thinking on who God is. Let’s do something right now. Stop reading the nugget and either write down or verbalize all we know of our God; our thoughts about it. And do so based on scripture evidence. Come back and join me in today’s nugget after that is done. Okay. How did you do? Did you fill a page or more of the wonderful nature and attributes of our God? Did it take you more than a minute to verbalize all He is to you? Allow me to encourage us with some words from the Scottish pastor, theologian of the 19th century, Horatius Bonar. He did us a great service identifying who our God is and we would do well to memorize this “list” as we seek to fulfill the purpose of salvation and why we are on this earth. Bonar writes . . .

“The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7). “The Lord is long-suffering and of great mercy” (Numbers 14:18). “His mercies are great” (2 Samuel 24:14). “The Lord your God is gracious and merciful” (2 Chronicles 30:9). “Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious, and merciful” (Nehemiah 9:17). “His mercy endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34). “Thou, Lord, are good and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy to all them that call upon thee” (Psalm 86:15). “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son” (John 3:16). “God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He hath loved us, even when we were dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:4). “The kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared” (Titus 3:4). “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9-10).

Bonar comments, “Such are a few words of Him who cannot lie concerning His own grace, or free-love. These sayings are faithful and true; and though perhaps we may but little have owned them as such, or heeded the truth which they embody, yet they are fitted to speak peace to the soul even of the most troubled. Each of these words of grace is like a star sparkling in the blue sky above us; or like a well of water pouring out its freshness amid desert rocks and sands.”

Do we know God like Bonar and the scripture describe? God has extended salvation to us for this purpose – to know Him. May we pray for greater understanding of this truth and then make it our great privilege and pursuit in life. Then, the next time we are asked, “Why did God save me?”, we will be better equipped to answer.

PRAYER: “Father, I so praise You for making Yourself knowable to me.”

QUOTE: “Salvation is the beginning of a life fulfilling our created purpose – knowing our Triune God.”