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Knowing God | Transcent vs. Immanent | Bible Says | Can I Know God? | How can I? 1 | How can i? 2-4 | What changes? | Reflections
Knowing God: Handout pdf | Study Questions | Video
For more materials: pdf | epub | ppt | | audio mp3 see the D3 Discipleship Library
Series Introduction| Knowing God | The Revelatory God | Goodness of God | Holiness of God | Power of God | Omnipresent God | Exalted God | Faithfuness of God | Wisdom of God | Mercy of God |Wrath of God | Love of God | Sovereignty of God | Providence of God
Purpose: Points #2-4 of the second key question, "Do I personally know God?" include: #2 Historic – The relationship was broken; #3 Reality – Man couldn’t fix it; #4 Update – God Himself solved the problem.
The second critical aspect is that something happened to that relationship. All our confusion comes from this. Disobedience, whether from rebellion or ignorance, broke that relationship between God and man and negatively impacted all relationships between man and man.
What happened many years ago in that garden does fully explain what is wrong with our world and society today. God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit (i.e. the forbidden fruit), but they did.
Then the curse of death fell on man. Spiritual life departed. Peace with the world disappeared. Everything went upside down with the curse. If things don’t seem right in the world, it is because of the effects of the diabolical plan of the evil one.
Not only is our relationship with God broken, our whole inner beings end up being in a revolt against God. Yes, we see scant signs of His power and glory in His creation, but we seek alternative ways to express our divine inclinations through the various religions - man’s attempts to have peace with God. By nature we live in suspect to God and His ways.
All of the religions of the world along with the philosophical and psychological attempt to understand man are broken. Man knows there is God (Romans 1) but fights against it.
“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. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures” (Romans 1:20-23).
Religion is well defined as man’s attempt to find peace with God. But if man has offended God, then there is no way man can do this, even if he tries to be good, or devoted or sacrificial.
Man does not need another organization because that itself becomes corrupted. Man needs a solution outside of himself. At least that was God’s observation. If there was another way to bring peace between God and man, then God would have spared His Son from the curse of the cross. Remember Jesus’ words, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet no as I will, but a Thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). There was no other way.
If one wants to know how to resolve this terrible predicament that man put himself in, we need to go back to the problem itself. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Man offended God and must die. Man as a result no longer had spiritual union with God as he aligned himself under Satan (Isaiah 59:2).
The good news (i.e. Gospel) is that there is a solution, but it does not come from man’s wisdom or highest pursuits. Man’s attempts, in fact, are best seen as arrogant attempts to resolve his inner peace or security issues rather than really fix our relationship with God.
God’s description of mankind’s stubbornness clearly reveals our rebellious hearts. True, most of these scriptures have to do with the Jewish people who God particularly reached out to, but their complete rebellion to God’s extra grace is sad. Without this special grace from God, we are only more confused.
Isaiah repeatedly mentions their inward corruption and inability to seek God (Isaiah 59:15-16; 63:10, 66:18).
“Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the LORD saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede...” (Isaiah 59:15-16).
“But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them” (Isaiah 63:10).
God’s extraordinary grace is seen in the many ways, apart from His great patience, He repeatedly called the people to seek and find Him (Isaiah 55:1, 60:1-3, 62:11, 65:1-2).
“Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth, Say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes; Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.” (Isaiah 62:11).
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. 2 “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. 3 “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David” (Isaiah 55:1-3).
Most importantly, however, is God’s own intervention in this mess. This action of God reveals much about His person. He cared. He paid attention. He did something about it.
“And I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me; And My wrath upheld Me” (Isaiah 63:5).
“But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand” (Isaiah 53:10).
Many tens of verses hint at and refer to the sending of a Messiah to make peace between God and man. If the offense is disobedience and the consequence of death, then man must die for His rebellion. God’s plan brought Himself to earth as man so that He could serve as this perfect substitute for our own sin.
Christ exchanged His life for ours and thus through faith in Christ opens up the door to reconciliation with God and possession of eternal life, that is, an unending developing relationship with God our Creator.
Christ and His work on the cross accomplishes two immediate life–changing acts:
(1) Brings us into a relationship with God our Creator and
(2) Enables us to live a new life empowered by Christ in us.
Man would not seek God (Romans 3:19-21) and even when he did it was completely offensive to God (Isaiah 1:2-9).
God intervened. He plunged from His glorious position and entered the realm of man. And so our faith, does not depend on a religion, but on our faith in Christ. We cannot by any means work our way to find peace with God. Only faith in God’s work for us is of significance. Rejection of this work is a further display of rebellion.
Confidence in our giving, attendance, reading of the scriptures, devoted works never can restore our relationship with God. The penalty of death is upon us. Those acts demean God’s justice and confuse our true offense. Religion is a poor bribe where man is trying to sneak out of his deserved judgment through shoddy gifts.
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988