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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

The Life to Come (4)

Knowing Jesus is the goal of our lives.

A Celtic Christian Worldview (25)

But as to those things too which we touch in some measure, as it were through a narrow window, by the enlightenment of His grace, we cannot know them all perfectly as is proper: for we know in part, as long as we are in this age; but if we come to that inestimable light of the Father of lights, then we shall know even as we are known.

  - The Book of the Order of Creatures XV.12[1]

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

  - Philippians 3.7-11

The Celtic Christian worldview of the Liber de Ordine Creaturarum ends where it begins: in the knowledge of God.

God, we will recall, was the first and anchoring point of the writer’s worldview handbook. Everything begins in God, has its existence from God, is defined by God, and finds its fulfillment under and unto God. The entire course of our lives is directed to knowing the Lord. Eternal life consists in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ (Jn. 17.3). And this life’s journey should be defined and motivated by our increasing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3.18). Paul’s whole desire in life and ministry was just that – to know Christ and to share in all aspects of His life. For only thus could Paul have any reasonable hope of attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

The writer of the Liber requests of his superior, for whom he undertook this project, that he might “steer the small ship of my little work against the fickle waves of its chattering critics.” He knew there would be many who would pick apart his effort as incomplete, not sufficiently scholarly, or too spiritual. But the writer insisted that everything he wrote was steeped in Scripture and based on the best authorities he could find. He trusted that God would approve his work, and we can believe that confidence was based in large part on the fact that every page of the Liber points to God, directs our thinking and worship to the Lord, and exalts God as the fullness of every aspect of life.

The Christian worldview, in short, seeks to know the Lord, and to make known His glory. Let others say what they will about our beliefs; we will continue to grow in them, live by them, and proclaim them to the world.

Our writer concludes, “For since we are concerned to please God, we do not greatly fear the threats of men.”

That’s good advice: If all our desire is to know God, to increase in the knowledge of Jesus, to take captive all our thoughts and to direct all our ways into the knowledge and service of the Lord, then we have nothing to fear from anyone who may say our worldview is naïve or simplistic or out of step with the times. God approves our every effort to know Him – to “learn Jesus,” as Paul put it in Ephesians 4.17.24. And though the most we can hope for in this life is glimpses of the Lord through the “narrow windows” of His Word and His world, we nonetheless devote ourselves all that much more earnestly to increasing in the knowledge of Jesus. God will meet us with His grace to enlighten our souls and grow us in the Lord, as we apply ourselves to knowing Him by all available means.

And our writer points the way in this, along three secure and reliable routes.

First, become a more diligent student of the Word of God. Read and meditate in it daily, reflecting in prayer as you do. Take on deeper studies of books or topics from Scripture, so that you increase in the knowledge of God and Christ from His own Word, as it speaks into every area of your life.

Second, check what you are learning by the best authorities you can find. Read widely in the writings of our Christian forebears, as well as from those contemporary teachers whose writings draw you closer to Jesus and guide you in His way.

Finally, don’t neglect the lessons from creation. As the writer of the Liber frequently spoke of creation, and of what we can learn from it about the majesty and might of God, so we can believe God has much to teach us about Himself from the works of His hands in creation and culture.

We are destined for the perfect knowledge of God and Christ. And we should strive to increase in that knowledge along the way, hopefully developing a view of life and the world that allows us to see God in everything, and to glorify Him in everything as well.

Let Paul’s resolve be yours: that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. God will meet you wherever and howsoever you seek to know Him, providing glance and glimpse after glance and glimpse, that you might grow in Him, and in the joy and power of His great salvation.

For Reflection
1. How can you improve in your calling to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord?

2. How would you expect to grow in your experience of the Lord’s great salvation if you invested more time and effort in knowing Him?

Psalm 33.1-9 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Sing with rejoicing in the Lord, for praise becomes His righteous ones!
With harps and songs raise grateful words, and let new songs of praise be sung!

Joyfully shout! His Word is true; He does His work in faithfulness.
His love prevails the whole world through; the Lord loves truth and righteousness.

God spoke and heaven came to be, and all its hosts His Spirit wrought.
He heaps the waters of the sea; the deeps their dwelling place are taught.

Let all below now fear the Lord; let all in awe of Him abide!
The worlds exist by Jesus’ Word; let all on earth in Him confide.

Thank You, Lord, for making Yourself known to me! Help me to increase in the knowledge of Jesus as I…

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T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from
The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Davies, p. 28

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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