How Can I Really Know God
This is one of the most important questions in life for three reasons:
- God created you for Himself and this involves knowing Him.
“For Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.” (Rev.4:11)
- Eternal life is connected with knowing God.
“And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” (Jn.17:3)
The eternal life that Jesus gives is actually the knowledge of God.
- The thing that brings more joy, more delight, and more contentment than anything else is the knowledge of God.
“Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me.” (Jer.9:23-24a)
What does “knowing” God mean? What does knowing God involve?
First the negative:
- Knowing God is not a special kind of emotion.
- Knowing God is not feeling shivers down your back.
- Knowing God is not some exhilarating, dreamy experience.
- Knowing God is not hearing a voice or seeing a vision.
Now the positive:
Knowing God involves God making Himself known to you.
God has made Himself known to you in three distinct ways:
- God has made Himself known to you in creation.
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (Ps.19:1)
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Rom.1:20)
“He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17)
Creation is a universal argument for the existence of God. It is clear evidence that God truly exists. As you look around, creation reveals that there is a Maker who supports you by His power, governs you by His providence, and nourishes you by His goodness. However, although this revelation of God’s existence is clear, it is also general. It is enough to cause you to seek Him, but not enough to tell you where to find Him or what His will is.
- God has made Himself known to you in your conscience.
“…in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.” (Rom.2:15)
Every human being is created with a conscience, which is like an inward judge or an evaluator of acts. It is not a guide to keep you from doing wrong, it simply looks back on completed acts and either accuses you or excuses you from guilt. Your conscience is not the standard of right and wrong, it does not define right and wrong, but it works alongside your heart and your thoughts to form a witness to what is right and wrong.
Yet, the mirror of God’s works in creation and the inner witness of the conscience cannot guide you to the true knowledge of God. In order to know God, God must speak and He has!
- God, ultimately and finally, has made Himself known to you in Christ.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…” (Heb.1:1-2a)
God speaks to you through the Scriptures and, finally, He spoke in person, the person of the Son. Jesus is God’s Word made flesh.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn.1:1, 14)
“Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to Him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.'” (Jn.14:8-9)
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.'” (Jn.14:6)
Knowing God means knowing Christ.
What does it mean to know Jesus?
Knowing Jesus means acknowledging His claims.
- Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.
“And they all said, ‘Are You the Son of God, then?’ And He said to them, ‘Yes, I am.'” (Lk.22:70)
“‘Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.'” (Matt.16:16-17)
- Jesus claimed to be the man born to be king.
“Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world…'” (Jn.18:37)
- Jesus claimed to be the bearer of the words of eternal life.
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (Jn.6:63)
“Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'” (Jn.6:68)
Jesus not only claimed to be the Son of God, the King and the bearer of the words of eternal life, but He also claimed to be Lord (Jn.13:13), Holy (Jn.8:46), our Judge (Jn.5:22), and the Savior of mankind (Lk.19:10).
In light of these facts about Christ, are you willing to acknowledge His claims of who He is?
- Knowing Jesus means trusting His promise.
“Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (Jn.5:24)
His promise is that if you believe in Him (that is, to cast your life completely upon Him for deliverance from sin and the wrath of God upon your sin) you will not come into judgment, but will be given eternal life.
“Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.” (Matt.11:28-29)
His promise is if you come to Him by faith, because you are burdened by your sin, then He will give you rest in your soul. This is an invitation to you right now.
- Knowing Jesus means answering His call.
“And He appointed twelve that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach.” (Mk.3:14)
The call of Jesus is that you might be with Him and that you might share His word with others.
“If anyone serves Me, let Him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant shall also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” (Jn.12:26)
The call of Jesus is to commit yourself to following Him and serving Him all the days of your life.
Knowing God means dealing with Him personally.
- Knowing God is more than knowing facts about Him. It is dealing with Him as He speaks to you through His Word. Do you sense that God is speaking to you through His Word now?
- Knowing God involves committing your whole self to His company, His interests, and being ready to publicly identify yourself with His concerns. Are you willing (not are you able) to submit your life, the best you know how, to His will and His ways?
- Knowing God is a matter of grace.You do not make friends with God, He makes friends with you and brings you into the knowledge of Him by making His love known to you. Do you find within your heart a desire to know God and experience His love for you?
God knows you fully and completely; that is to say, He is fully aware of you. However, in the language of Scripture, it is not so much about what knowledge you have of God, but the question is: Does He know you? (Matt.7:22; Jn.10:14-15, 27-28; Gal.4:9)
If you want to know God and you want God to know you in a saving way, then:
- Come to Christ by faith, calling upon His name.
- Believe that He loves you and died to save you and bring you to God.
- Acknowledge that you hear His call in His word and, the best you know how, turn from every false way to God and commit yourself to Him alone who is the way, the truth, and the life.