“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ.” – Colossians 1:15-19
Paul told the church in Philippi that nothing was more important to him than knowing Christ (Philippians 3). It is impossible to know God too well. He is the most important person who exists. On every scale of excellence, He is infinitely greater than the best person you ever knew or ever heard of.
No one ever disagrees that knowing God is central to the life of a Christian. We can know about God, but that is quite different from knowing God. What does it mean to know God? The idea of knowing God can seem abstract. It can seem like a pie-in-the-sky concept that most people can never attain. But you can know God.
You need to know who He claimed to be, eternal God in human flesh. You must know some of the things He did and taught. You need to understand that He died on the cross for your sins and that He was raised bodily from the dead. But beyond these facts, you need to know Christ personally. That relationship begins at the moment you recognize that your sins have separated you from God and that you need a Savior.
We can only know Him as He has chosen to reveal Himself. That revelation comes through His written Word. “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” (Hebrews. 1:1-3).
Thus we come to know God through Jesus Christ, and we come to know Him through His Word which tells us of Him. The Old Testament points ahead to Christ; the New Testament tells us of His life, His death for our sins, and His resurrection and present reign in heaven. It also tells us of His coming again and His future kingdom. It expounds on His teaching and reveals His will for His people. We can never know Him fully because He is infinite and we are finite. But we can know Him definitely as Savior and Lord and we can and must spend our lives focused on the goal “to know Him.”
As we come to know Jesus, we will become more and more like Him because we will know what to imitate. But it is still a difficult challenge. What can we do, what do we need to know that will help us agree with and live according to this purpose of becoming like Christ? So how well do you know Jesus?
- What does it mean to you to “know” God?
- What can we do in the short-term to better know God?