Knowing God Increasingly = Salvation

November 30, 2014

In order to be saved, we must know the Lord. Moreover, we must know Him increasingly. It is not enough to say that we know about God / Christ, or even that we at one time knew Him. Just as with any relationship, the communication and the togetherness must be continuous, growing, and moving forward. It cannot become stagnant lest the fellowship wane and wither. A good and healthy relationship with the Lord must be maintained, and for this to happen, fellowship must grow so that it remains living and vibrant.

The importance of growing deeper in relationship with the Lord does not seem to be stressed in most of Christendom. Instead, knowledge of the popular parts of the Gospel, knowledge of different doctrines, and knowledge of Church History seem to be some of the main emphases, as well as the knowledge of worship techniques and ways to inspire a crowd.

However, the whole point of our existence is that God wants relationship, and so to this we have been called. God wants fellowship with willing and eager individuals who truly love Him and understand who He is –that He is their Creator, Shepherd, King, Leader, Father, and Best Friend. Yes, He commands obedience because He knows what is best, but He also has given us free will. Yes, God requires that we reverence Him because He is the All-powerful Most High, but He also desires that we delight in Him with attitudes of joy and confidence. Yes, God has created us to worship and praise Him, but the angels, and even the animals, trees, and rocks do, or could, give Him that. Humans are the only ones who can choose to turn from fallenness to God, and who can continue to choose to love Him, worship Him, thank Him, and serve Him. In other words, humans are the only ones who can choose to seek and cultivate intimacy with God. God has called humans to choose to do this, and He has made the way possible for us to do so through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice that appeased God’s wrath –His wrath against sin and sinners.

So are those who believe in Jesus, yet who are not growing in relationship with Him, saved? God’s Word tells us that they are not. (2 Thes. 1:8,9; see also John 15:2a,6 and compare with Mt. 25:1-13 & Acts 5:32 & Titus 2:11-14 & Heb. 5:9) This is the case because, in not knowing God / Jesus, a person is not understanding what He has, or is, saying to them through His Word and Spirit. Thus there is no way to walk in the will of the Lord (and to not walk there is to be damned. –Mt. 7:21 & 1 John 2:17) Such people can know what the Bible says, but they do not have the Word (Jesus / Life) dwelling in them. (John 5:38-40) Such people can have a form of godliness and even be doing “miracles”, but their ability comes from themselves or from the Counterfeiter. (Mt. 7:21-23 // 2 Cor. 11:13-15 // 2 Tim. 3:5-7 // 2 Peter ch. 2)

Jesus, in His prayer to the Father, says in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” The statement is plain and clear, is it not? 1 John 5:20 says the same –that in knowing God through Jesus Christ, we know Him who is the true God and eternal life. Thus abiding in Christ and abiding in eternal life are synonymous. (v. 11,12) But, we can’t abide in Christ (neither can He be in us) if we are disobeying His commands. (3:24) In fact, if anyone claims to know Christ yet does not do what He commands, that man is a liar. (2:4) The Truth (Jesus / His teachings / God’s Word) is not in such a man. (same verse) Indeed, having a relationship with the Lord (belonging to Christ / knowing God) rests on whether or not we are obeying Him. (v. 3)

Jesus says it this way in John 15:10: “If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love.” He says in verse 14, “You are My friends if you do what I command.” In 14:23 He states that being in-dwelt with the Spirit of the Father and the Son is contingent upon one’s obedience to His teaching.

In Mt. 19:17 Jesus says that we must obey God’s commandments if we want to enter Life. In 12:50 He says that those who belong to His family are those who do the will of His Father.

God’s Word is clear: Obedience to the Word and Spirit (Christ) is how we come to know God. This relationship is a walk / lifestyle / existence of obedience, not a one-time act. It is a consistent walk, not a wavering between obedience and disobedience. It is a walk in the sphere of God’s love (John 15:10) where we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.” (2 Peter 3:18) It is a striving to possess, in increasing measure, those qualities which make effective our knowledge of Christ so that we will maintain our pure and powerful, and thus saved, position. (v. 17 & 1:2-11)

Therefore, as Ho. 6:3 exhorts us, let us continually press on to know the Lord. Then God, if we seek Him with all our heart and forsake our sins, will pardon us and make Himself known to us. (same verse // Isa. 55:6,7 // Jer. 29:13,14) If we ask the Lord to teach us His ways so that we can know Him (Ex. 33:13), He will grant us our request along with His Presence, His rest, and His favor. (v. 14,17) He will put His Law (Word and Way) in our mind and heart (Jer. 31:33) and forgive us (v. 34), and each of us will be able to legitimately boast that we truly understand and know the Lord. (same verse & 9:24)

In fact, everything else we’ve gained, we will consider rubbish in comparison to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, the Lord, for it is that continued intimacy and oneness with Him which will keep us walking the blessed path of His Presence –that of eternal salvation. (Phil. 3:7-11)

with love,

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