True Love and True Knowledge
God is omniscient, all knowing, all wise. It is God’s grace that reveals God to those whom Jesus chooses to reveal Him (Mt 11:27). It is the knowledge of God that faith apprehends unto salvation. Our salvation is made known to us, by God giving us His Spirit as a gift (Acts 2:38; 10:45; Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5).
There is a danger when God is presented as a matter of facts. Some give intellectual assent to these facts about God. They possess a knowledge of the truth, but it never reaches their heart. To truly know God is to love God.
Loving God is the effect of God loving you (1 Jn 4:19). This, of course, denies God’s universal love for all people (Universalism). God loves those whom He chose to be His beloved, in eternity past (Rom 11:5; Eph 1:4-5). He demonstrated His love for His elect, by sending the Son of God to suffer and die for them (Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25). Love has found its way into the heart of God’s elect redeemed (Rom 5:5) — by His will, mercy, and grace (Jn 1:12–13; Rom 9:15–16).
For this reason, we must have true knowledge, and true knowledge must be distinguished from its counterfeit counterpart, “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1 Jn 5:20).”
The world does not know that Jesus Christ has come from heaven and has taken on flesh (Jn 1:10, 14). Christians know this because of God’s revelation, in Word and Spirit. These give understanding, which is more than information. It is an intimate knowing that is akin to love.
True knowledge and true love are only known in union with Christ. We know Christ because we are in Christ (1 Cor 1:30). There is no other way to have either knowledge or love, apart from Christ (Jn 8:47). When we are in Christ, we are in God because Christ belongs to God (1 Cor 3:23). It was God who transferred us from the domain of darkness and positioned us in the kingdom of God’s Son (Col 1:13).
It is impossible for this true knowledge to puff up (1 Cor 8:1). First, grace is given to the humble (Jas 4:6). What humbles a man is the true knowledge of God. Second, it is grace-less false knowledge that defines the arrogant. Here is the one who impatiently loathes those with less knowledge. Thus, we preach the Gospel to all nations (Mt 24:14), even to all creation (Mk 16:15).
When God employs knowledge to humble a man, it is a type of chastening love (Heb 12:6). He causes the object of His love to see the futility of his existence without God (Ecclesiastes). The man is crushed. He is ruined; but He is kept by God, in His grace.
Working against the spread of true knowledge is the devil, by means of deceit (Jn 8:44). Our adversary blinds the minds of men to hide Gospel knowledge from them (2 Cor 4:4). The natural man is ever-learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 3:7).
The wisdom of men is always puffing up because the elevation of man is the objective of psychology and philosophy. This is the false knowledge of wrong theology, promoted in the spirit of man-centeredness, “God wants to help you be and achieve greatness.” This invariably leads to superior attitudes toward others.
In theology, the humble preacher is faithful to preach and teach the doctrine of sin. He will employ knowledge of God’s Law to expose sins. In almost every case, this preacher is constrained to the day of small things. He is not a man-pleaser, and sinful men are not pleased with him.
In contrast, we observe the popular preacher, who speaks to people to assure them of their good standing. This does not take much time, hence, the abbreviated sermonette. Still another has no heart to win souls. Despite all his great learning, he is a tyro in the kingdom of God.
The preacher who truly loves his hearers will painstakingly and patiently see each one to maturity (Col 1:28). Blessed is the man, to whom the preacher gives himself, to ensure spiritual growth. Here is the best love for one’s neighbor. The man of God, who will not do this, will suffer thorns in the flesh, in order to keep him from exalting himself (2 Cor 12:7).
The love of God passes knowledge (Eph 3:18–19), and we can only know God’s love by the knowledge given to us. We know Him, we say, and we are not ashamed to declare our love for Him (Rom 1:16–17). This love edifies us, and it edifies others through us. This is why we are slaves of Christ (Eph 6:6), not leaders of His church (Mt 23:10). While men obsess with leadership, there are ignorant among them. This is to their shame.
The end of true knowledge is joy in the Lord, which serves to strengthen our zeal for God, which is our best compassion for others. Zeal with knowledge will labor in good works (Eph 2:10; Jas 2:14–26), by God’s grace working mightily in the Christian, by the Spirit (Is 26:12; Phil 2:13). This is so that the world may know.
Church history is filled with men and women, who have been humbled with the knowledge of God and their poor selves. Love from God was not lacking in this true knowledge; therefore, they indefatigably labored in love as unto the Lord. Their love and labor was to lift others to this knowledge that brought salvation, to those to whom it was revealed for the glory of God and for their delight.
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 2, 2022