All the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge
I suspect we read our Bibles, too quickly. We are busy. One needs to read at least three to four chapters every day to read the whole Bible in a year. Does the Bible tell us to do this? Or is it pride? So, we press on to the next verse, the next chapter, and the next book. The Bible itself instructs us to meditate on God’s Word (Ps 119:97). That is much slower. We should savor little pieces of Scripture, like one psalm or even just one proverb at a time. Learning Scripture is not to the swift reader, just as living Scripture is not necessarily to the well-versed. Every thought should be held captive to Christ (2 Cor 10:5), who warns us not to be double-minded (Jas 1:8). Therefore, with singular focus, we look to Jesus.
The Bible teaches us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prv 1:7). The fear of the Lord is also His treasure (Is 33:6). Therefore, it is prudent for all men to seek the Lord while He may be found (Dt 4:29; Is 55:6); and yet, there is no one who naturally seeks for God, no, not even one (Rom 3:11).
We must learn that our fear of the Lord began at regeneration, when the Holy Spirit made us alive (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13), spiritually, baptizing us into Christ (Rom 6). At this event, we are given the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), and who knows the mind of God, except the Son of God. We must receive Christ to learn of God (Jn 6:45), for it is the Lord who gives wisdom (Prv 2:6), which is pleasant to the soul (Prv 2:10).
Solomon asked and received from God, a mind that observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge (Eccl 1:16). Jesus Christ had the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, who was the Spirit of the Lord, resting on Him (Is 11:2). More than just having the wisdom of God, Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24). He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding (Dan 2:21). These are gifts measured out to God’s people by the Spirit (1 Cor 12:8). The apostle Paul did not hesitate to pray for others to receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of Him and His will (Eph 1:17; Col 1:9).
The knowledge of Christ is considered the beginning and the most important knowledge for people to learn. Christ Jesus is the Gospel of our salvation (Eph 1:13). He is the utmost knowledge for a person to rightly understand life in this present evil age and to grasp eternity, too. Jesus is an historical character one can learn about; but this is not saving knowledge. Knowing about Jesus Christ is not the same as knowing Jesus Christ, personally.
Theologians refer to this personal knowledge as the special knowledge of revelation, which can only be understood with the help of the Holy Spirit. This does not make Christians guilty of Gnosticism, which boasts of a special, private knowledge. Christ is a public figure, and the Word of God should be made available to every human being. Jesus Christ is proclaimed to all creation (Mk 16:15). It is our desire to make Him known to all people, so that all nations will be glad (Ps 67:4; 2 Pet 1:20).
Jesus confessed, “O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou didst send Me; and I have made Thy name known to them and will make it known (Jn 17:25–26a).” To learn Christ is to have the Spirit of Christ teach you. He is teaching you God the Father in Christ. Christ Jesus is the only one who can make the Father fully known.
The Spirit’s captive audience are slaves to Christ (Eph 6:6), made willing on the day of His power (Ps 110:3), who has bought them for a price (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23). These adopted sons and daughters of God must look to Jesus in order to see the Father (Jn 14:9; Rom 8:15, 23). When they look into the face of Christ, they have seen the face of God. We have seen Him in the Spirit, but in heaven we shall see Him face to face (1 Cor 13:12).
Paul wrote to the church at Colossae and surrounding regions with some integral knowledge of Jesus Christ (Col 1:13–22; 2:9–10). Christians need to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). We start off our new, regenerated, spiritual lives as babes, needing the milk of the Word (1 Cor 3:2). We mature in Christ, as we feed on our daily bread of Scripture (Mt 6:11). The meat of the Word satisfies the maturing Christian because it is filled with grace sufficient for us (2 Cor 12:9). Our subject is the incomparable Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3).
The riches of the glory of Christ are called, “treasures.” Knowing Christ means we have the wisdom and knowledge of God. If you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father (Jn 6:46). If you believe in Jesus, then you believe in God the Father (Jn 12:44). If you know Jesus, you know God the Father (Jn 14:7). Knowing God is everything you need for abundant life here and in eternity (Jn 10:10; 17:3). Paul emphasized these things because false teachers have always abounded as agents of the devil, intent on deceiving people into an eternity in hell and the lake of fire (Col 2:4; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15)
Christ in you (Col 1:27), and you in Christ (Eph 1:3) is a mystery revealed by the work of the Holy Spirit, who takes God’s revealed Word and illumines the mind of Christian converts. It is God’s light of truth shining in the hearts of new believers (2 Cor 4:6). Jesus Christ is the light of the world (Jn 8:12; 9:5), and He has shone His light in our hearts, so that we might become lights in the world (Phil 2:15). We proclaim Him, Christ Jesus, to all people (Mt 24:14; Col 1:28). We preach truth to the deceived. We preach light for the blind, who live in spiritual darkness. We preach to those who have ears, some of which are opened by the Holy Spirit at the preaching of God’s Word (Rom 10:17).
Paul calls it, “true knowledge,” because false knowledge abounds regarding God’s Messiah. Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24; Col 1:16), but many have the wrong Jesus, and therefore, live under and preach false knowledge of a false Christ (2 Cor 11:3–4). There is no salvation for those who cling to the wrong savior. Many are ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 3:7). Only knowing the genuine truth of Jesus Christ, by having Christ in you, can set you free from bondage to sin and the law of death (Jn 8:32).
The sum of God’s Word is truth (Ps 119:160). Jesus Christ is the Word of God enfleshed (Jn 1:14). The Scriptures point us to Jesus Christ (Jn 5:39–47), and Jesus Christ pointed the people to the Scriptures. Jesus claimed to be “the truth (Jn 14:6; Eph 4:21).” It is the truth that sanctifies God’s people (Jn 17:17), and God’s Word is truth. The hidden mystery of Christ is unveiled by the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:9). Jesus opened the eyes of the blind (Jn 9), and this is what the Holy Spirit does for God’s regenerate elect.
God has made known His salvation (Ps 98:2), and it was appointed for us to believe (Acts 13:48), having received Him by the gracious work of the Holy Spirit, imparting the gift of God to us (Jn 1:12–13; Eph 2:8–9), through His permanent indwelling presence (Rom 8:9, 11; Heb 13:5). Everything you know and understand of Christ has been given to you by the Holy Spirit.
Wisdom and knowledge of God, that is, Christ, is the inheritance of the children of God. In Him, our co-heir, we share in His riches because He is the heir of all things (Heb 1:2). All things will be summed up in Christ (Eph 1:10) because all things are from Him, through Him, and to Him (Rom 11:36). The riches of His grace are valued as “surpassing (Eph 2:6)” and “unfathomable (Eph 3:8).” He is to be sought more than silver or gold (Prv 2:4). God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). Paul claimed, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Phil 3:8). Thus, those who have received Christ, seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Mt 6:33), and those who do not have Christ, do not seek Him because they do not belong to Him (Jn 10:26; Rom 8:9).
If you truly believe what the Bible teaches about all the wisdom and knowledge being in Christ, and valued these, as Paul did, how would this transform your life? Paul lamented to the Corinthians that there were some among them with no knowledge of God (1 Cor 15:34). He spoke this to their shame, and what could be said about Christian churches, today? Do we have this treasure in earthen vessels, and is it guarded by the Holy Spirit, in order to increase in value? Paul encouraged the Corinthians to examine themselves to discern whether Christ was in them (2 Cor 13:5). He also challenged the Philippians to examine how much they valued the knowledge of Christ (Phil 3:7–8). We should examine how much we value this treasure afforded to us.
Maybe, by God’s grace and with the help of the Holy Spirit, when the zenith of our thinking truly becomes Christ, our hearts will respond with Paul’s exuberance, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God (Rom 11:36)!”
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 10, 2021