Thursday, May 14, 2009

Eternal Life and Knowing God

I recently finished studying Hebrews during my personal study time, and began my journey through the book John. During this time, I also read the TableTalk for the day, and I began reading two books: Knowing God by J.I. Packer & Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul. I have to say that I am most excited about this time, and am learning a great deal through it.

I am a firm believer, but at times not a great practitioner, that pastors need to have a time in which they are pursuing communion with God and seeking to grow in holiness. I feel deeply that this time needs to be separate from their sermon preparation time, not because we don't grow as we wrestle with and sweat out the text because we do. However, I spend at least 20 hours a weak in sermon preparation just for our Sunday morning service. Yet, we still have Sunday night services and mid-week services at our church, and I have found that I can preach these services from the overflow of my personal time with God. This is not the purpose of my personal time, but is an outcome, along with growing in holiness and knowledge of God, of that time.

All this said, here is what I have been learning, and presented to my church last night.

We are told in John 3:16 that "whoever believes in him (the only Son of God) should not perish by have eternal life." If the gift of faith in Jesus is eternal life, then what is eternal life? We find from Jesus' High Priestly Prayer, that eternal life is "that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3)."

We can conclude then that eternal life is: A lifelong, both present life & eternity, journey of getting to know the One True God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

What then is meant by the word know? Is this implying that we know a bunch a facts about God? Is this speaking of knowing God in that we are saved?

I don't think that is all it means. I believe that to know God means: that we are pursuing to know God and to be known by God in an intimate relational way, that actually involves knowing God as you do a person.

J.I. Packer lists the following evidences that one knows God:
  1. Those who know God have a great passion for God.
  2. Those who know God have great thoughts of God.
  3. Those who know God show great boldness for God.
  4. Those who know God have great satisfaction in God.
We cannot know God apart from the study of Scripture. However, as we study Scripture, we are not merely seeking to learn a bunch of facts about a higher being, but we are so desperately seeking to touch and taste this glorious God, and be affected by the truths that we do learn. How are we affected by them? The Bible tells in Hebrews 4:12, us that the Word of God is active and living, and it's purpose is to transform the hearts and minds of the reader.

We can be assured that if we are pursuing this intimate relationship with God, we are encountering eternal life, not in its totality but we are getting a taste of greater things to come. We are experiencing the gift that is knowing God.

1 comment:

daddyof3 said...

Being in the flock, I can say humbly and honestly that we do benefit from you pursuing to know God more deeply. Your pursuit instills in the flock a desire to do the same. To seek to know Christ through His living and active Word.