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Knowing God


by Brian Brodersen

Knowing God

"What were we made for? What aim should we set ourselves in life? What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment than anything else? The answer to all these questions is the same: Knowing God!" (from Knowing God by J. I. Packer).

Listen to a young Charles Spurgeon on the subject of knowing God:

“It has been said by some one that ‘the proper study of mankind is man.’ I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God's elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. … No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. … But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. … the most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatary. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead's deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead” (from The Immutability of God, a sermon by C. H. Spurgeon,

There truly is no greater objective in life than knowing God, but how is that experiential knowledge of God attained?

The first question we need ask is this: Is God is willing to be known? Is God knowable in a personal sense, in the same way that we know one another? Some say, No, that is not possible. God is too great to be known by man. Deism, theism, and Islam are all views of God that put Him beyond our ability as human beings to know, at least in any personal, meaningful sense. However, the Bible presents us with a God who can be known and actually desires to be known.

Listen to God Himself speaking on the subject:

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13 ESV).

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant … I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. … for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest …” (Jer 31:31, 33-34).

“For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hos 6:6).

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true …” (1 Jn 5:20).

So we see clearly from God's Word itself that God is knowable.

In fact, bringing men and women into personal fellowship with God is the chief objective of the Gospel. Jesus said this in prayer to the Father, “You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as you have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:2-3).

Since God has made a relationship with Him possible, we need to be daily pursuing this wonderful knowledge.

What does that look like, you might ask? Let me suggest three things:

1. Gleaning from those who know God better than we do.

a. Get to know and spend time with older, more mature Christians. Talk to them, ask them Bible questions, ask them about their experiences with the Lord.

b. Make sure your are being taught the Word through the gifted pastors and teachers that God has given to His church for the building up of the body of Christ.

c. Read good books that will help you to better understand God's Word and His ways.

2. Spend quality time alone with the Lord.

“When the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, one of the things it means is, now, so to speak, Jesus is loose and at large, so that anyone anywhere can enjoy the same kind of relationship with him as the disciples had in the days of his flesh. The only differences are that, first, his presence with the Christian is spiritual, not bodily, and so invisible to our physical eyes; second, that Jesus’ way of speaking to us now is not by uttering fresh words, but rather by applying to our consciences those words of his that are recorded in the Gospels, together with the rest of the biblical testimony” (from Knowing God by J. I. Packer).

3. Listen intently and seek understanding.

What do I mean by that? Reading and meditating on the Word of God.

“Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. It is a matter of talking to one’s self about God and one’s self” (from Knowing God by J. I. Packer).

This all begins with meeting the Lord.

Have you met the Lord? Jesus is the one through whom we come into this relationship with the Father. To as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the children of God. Receive Him if you haven't. Simply ask that He forgive your sins and take charge of your life.

Are you pursuing a deeper relationship with the Lord? Are you getting to know Him better and better? The chief end of man is to know God and to glorify Him forever.

Let me end with one final quote from J. I. Packer’s Knowing God:

“Once you become aware that the main business you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord. … The world today is full of sufferers from the wasting disease known as absurdism (‘life is a bad joke’), and from the complaint (‘nothing taste’). These disorders blight the whole of life: everything becomes at once a problem and a bore, because nothing seems worthwhile. But these are ills from which, in the nature of the case, Christians are immune, except for occasional spells of derangement when the power of temptation presses their minds out of shape- and these, by God’s mercy, do not last. What makes life worthwhile is having a big enough objective, something which catches our imagination and lays hold of our allegiance; and this the Christian has in a way that no other person has. For what higher, more exalted, and more compelling goal can there be than to know God?”

Brian Brodersen

Brian Brodersen is senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California, president of Calvary Chapel Bible College and featured speaker on “Back to Basics” radio program.