Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19 - The possibility of knowing God

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

3/19- Calvin on the Knowledge of God

“This is what the Lord says, ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength, or the rich boast of their riches. But let those who boast boast about this: that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” Jeremiah 9:23,24
“Righteous father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:25,26
“I want to know Christ—yes to know the power of his resurrection and participate in his sufferings.” Philippians 3:10

Calvin (in Genevan Catechism): Teacher: What is the principle end of human life?
Student: It is to know God.
The first two books of Calvin’s Institutes are entitled, “The Knowledge of God the Creator” and “The Knowledge of God the Redeemer.”
“Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” (Institutes I.1.1- opening sentence).

We can know God. God is not hidden, so distant, so uncaring or so silent that we cannot begin to know Him. In fact, the good news of the gospel is that God wants to be known by us. Christ’s coming to earth is a big deal- God’s seeking to know us and for us to know Him.
I have talked to many church people who tell me that they cannot know God. They say God is so high above us that it is impossible. But while I may not know God fully (I see in a mirror dimly), that does not mean that I cannot know God at all, and at least in part accurately. Just as I do not know everything about my wife of 28 years (yes, she's still a mystery to me- and that's good), I don't know all about God. But the Bible says Abraham called God "friend." I can know my friend is loving, trustworthy, faithful in what they say. I can have a relationship with a friend and in a sense "know" them accurately but not fully. I can grow in my knowledge of my friend. It would be impossible to know God if God did not reveal Himself to us.
We know God because God wants us to know Him. This is a gift of God’s grace to us. We do not know God’s essence as much as who God is in relation to us, and as He reveals Himself to us. God takes his infinite knowledge of Himself as an infinite, eternal, all wise being, and accommodates that knowledge so we might understand. He also overcomes our blindness, our deafness, our sinfulness, by making us alive to and aware of Him.
When Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, suffered a stroke, his wife and aids kept him from the public. No one really saw him. He didn’t want people to see Him in his weakness. Some feel that way about God. But God came down to us in the person of Jesus Christ. While God reveals something about Himself in nature and in humanity, He reveals Himself as redeemer most clearly in the person of Jesus Christ revealed in scripture.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you want us to know you. You have invited us to know you. Help us to accept that invitation and to seek and find you as our Lord and God.

No comments:

Post a Comment