The Grief of Knowledge
There is nothing better than knowing God. Everything is ordered for this end that God may be glorified. The heavens declare His glory (Ps 19:1); they tell of His righteousness (Ps 50:6; 97:6).
The revelation of God to men tells the creature of his estrangement from God (Gen 3; Rom 3:10–12; Eph 2:12). God’s story, at first, appears to be a tragedy. As we learn more of His authored drama, we come to realize God’s story is a love story (Jn 3:16; Eph 5:25).
An able foe has made off with God’s beloved, and the adversary has enslaved the people that God has chosen as His possession (Dt 7:7; Rom 6:6; Eph 1:4–5; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet 2:9). The Deliverer was sent from heaven to rescue the dazed and confused damsel (Jn 1:14; 3:16), whom He loves, to the point of His own self-sacrificing death (Rom 5:8). Here is true love (Jn 15:13).
When a soul is illumined to the reality of his or her salvation (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3), there is great joy and peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7). Knowing that one has been loved by God (Rom 5:5; 1 Jn 3:16), there is the bliss of returning that love (1 Jn 4:19). Just as the Giver of every good gift has bestowed everything needed for life and ministry (2 Cor 9:8; Jas 1:17), so we become agents of the transfer of knowledge.
Knowing Christ is ever sufficient for the Christian. He must share the knowledge because he gives himself to service, as Jesus gave His life, a ransom for many (Mt 20:28). The knowledge of God, in Christ, is the salvation of God to be proclaimed to others, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and according to the will of God (Phil 2:13).
God grows the Christian, in the knowledge of Himself (2 Pet 3:18). The more the believer knows, the more he is set free from enslavement to the lies of the deceiver (Jn 8:32, 44). To the believer, a lie is a curse, and the world is an ocean-cesspool of lies. Every institution of men is polluted. Corruption abounds, resulting in universal vanity (Eccl 1:2).
Because humanity is blind to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:4), the Spirit of Christ must open the eyes of the spiritually darkened, in order for them to see the Light of the world (Jn 8:12), who is Christ, the Lord. Again, we have our picture of salvation. The ignorant are made to know, and the blind are made to see.
There is a grief for the ambassador for Christ (2 Cor 5:20), however. With eyes wide open, the slave of Christ labors unto the Lord and in service to His kingdom. Like the prophets of old, the missionary to the lost world is now faced with oppression by men (Mt 5:10–12). This is the way of his Master, a course of being despised and rejected (Is 53:3).
The growing Christian hears Gospel preachers. Faithful ones point believers to the Scriptures, to know more of Christ (Rom 1:16–17; 1 Cor 2:2). Unfaithful preachers instruct with a heavy dose of psychology, sprinkled with a wee bit of Jesus. Amazingly, or maybe not so much, most preachers prove unfaithful (survey for yourself!).
The reason for ministry unfaithfulness is the grief of knowledge. The new believer may have counted the cost, but, too often, he wavers when he actually has to pay the price of discipleship. Christianity is very pricey. One must lose his life in this world. The invaluable nature of the cross is the infinite majesty of the sacrificial offering.
In the scheme of Christianity, it does not cost much to be: a Universalist, Arminian, Liberal, heretic, or health and wealth false teacher. All of these ideas are from the world, and the world loves its own. The more crafty the Christian cult is, in deceiving its own, the more it resembles the devil himself (Jn 8:44; 2 Cor 4:4).
By God’s grace, the believer grows in the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Tim 2:25; 2 Pet 3:18). He emerges from the social gospel, the prosperity gospel, the human potential gospel, and “it’s all about me” Christianity. Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24), and with the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), from the Scriptures, the believer increasingly speaks of the person and work of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). The shame of saying His name is replaced by the bold proclamation of it (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:31).
Resistance gathers as talk of Jesus Christ becomes central. This is war, not against flesh and blood, but it is war against deceitful spirits and the doctrine of demons (Eph 6:10–20; 1 Tim 4:1). It is the war for truth, fought with the double-edged Sword of the Spirit (Heb 4:12) which is the Word of God (Eph 6:17). The Word of God is the Word of truth (Ps 119:160; Jn 17:17). The knowledge of the Bible is the knowledge of God, which is the awful weapon, employed to destroy the strongholds of deception.
Christian, do you know the grief of knowledge? Have you expressed the lament of toil without much appearance of harvest? Be encouraged in the knowledge of your Sovereign Lord, who does all His holy will (Eph 1:11), in accomplishing what He has ordained, that is…all things (Rom 8:28; 1 Cor 12:6). The One who wept at the tomb of Lazarus is He who will wipe away every tear, upon your summons home to heavenly Zion.
Be assured that as you grow in knowledge of God, you will grow in grief for the desolation of the world around you. They have ears, but they cannot hear you. They die in their trespasses and sins, for lack of the same knowledge, and the same Spirit, granted to you by His grace. You must press on with your high calling (Phil 3:14), however. For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross for us (Heb 12:2).
Never forget the grace shown you in your learning Christ. Suffer well as you take up your cross, in sacrifice of your own life, for the sake of the elect (2 Tim 2:10). For the knowledge of God is bittersweet in this fallen existence. There is nothing better in this life, in this world, but there is nothing more grievous, inviting the wrath of men. It will cause you to be despised and rejected of men, too (Is 53:3). Here is the paradox in the knowledge of the holy: both joy and grief…and you know it, if you belong to Him.
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 10, 2022