We Can’t Know What We Won’t Know (6)
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” John 5.39
All Your works shall praise You, O LORD,
And Your saints shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
And talk of Your power,
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glorious majesty of His kingdom. Psalm 145.10-12
... Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2.2, 3
I have been arguing the point that, we who have eternal life should be consistently about the task of improving our experience of this great gift by taking seriously our calling to learn Jesus (Eph. 4.17-24), by all the means available to us. “And this is eternal life,” Jesus explained, “that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent” (Jn. 17.3). Since Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of the Father (Heb. 1.3), by focusing on knowing Him, we increase in the gift of eternal life and all its many benefits.
Jesus is infinitely beautiful, wise, good, compassionate, loving, and powerful. We can never plumb the depths of the knowledge of Christ, and so we must not become complacent about increasing in it. As Peter insisted, we must seek always to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, for this is the great privilege, joy, and end of our salvation (2 Pet. 3.18).
Christians should always be at the ready to talk about Jesus, to extol His many virtues, point out the manifestations of His grace, relate the experience of His forgiveness, demonstrate the reality of His love, and encourage others to taste and see just how wondrously good He is. Everything in our lives derives from and bears witness to the grace of God in Jesus Christ. We only know our lives in part, incompletely, if we are not able to see the connection between the things we know and the Lord Who is the source and end of all knowing.
Increasing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ is not an option for believers. We are to take His yoke upon us and learn of Him (Matt. 11.29), by every means at our disposal, at every opportunity, and for the end of increasing our joy and improving our witness to Him. If we will not learn Jesus, and increase in knowing Him, then we resist the manifest will of God for our lives, forfeit the boundless joy He intends for us, compromise our witness and reason for being, and cast doubt on our claim to be His followers.
What do we know? We may not know much – or think we don’t know much – but everything we know is a gift from and signpost to Jesus. The better we know things, and the more things we know, the richer and more fruitful will be our walk with and work for the Lord.
The knowing stops here
Knowledge of anything is incomplete until it is arrives at Jesus Christ. All things are from Him, through Him, and unto Him, as Paul reminds us (Rom. 11.36). The better we know that portion of “all things” which enters our experience, the more we may honor Jesus with our lives and lips, both in worshiping and bearing witness to Him at every opportunity.
What does this require? How can we improve all that we know, and add to it, so that the Presence of Jesus is always before us, and we are always finding ourselves in the ambience of His joy and love?
The implications and scope of our calling to know Jesus are staggering. All our study of Scripture should lead us to see Jesus more clearly. As He Himself said, He’s there on every page, showing us more about Himself and, hence, about our Father and His. We must pore over the Scriptures with a view to encountering Jesus. Not that we skip the more obvious things of the Word – its doctrines, promises, commands, and virtuous examples. But that beyond even these, we seek Jesus in the Bible – some new detail, perspective, insight, or depth of clarity about Him.
Further, because the works of Jesus also declare Him, we must see those works, and everything they encompass – which is everything that exists – as pointing to Jesus, reminding us of His grace, enlarging on His beauty or wisdom, inviting us into His Presence and power, and leading us to give thanks and praise for the myriad ways He shows Himself to be with us always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28.20). Only when we see Jesus in the works by which He blesses and sustains us, will we achieve that continuous communion with Him that leads us into His praise and our joy.
All knowing stops with Jesus. Jesus is the reason and explanation – the Logos – for everything, and everything we know or might come to know invites us to gain a deeper, richer, more satisfying, fulfilling, and fruitful relationship with Him.
How, then, may we increase in this glorious and life-changing knowledge of Jesus Christ?
First, we must begin the pursuit of knowing by embracing as the end of all our knowing some clearer understanding of Christ. Like those ancient Greeks, we would see Jesus (Jn. 12.20, 21). All knowledge, about anything and everything, can lead to a more expansive and intimate view of Christ. Whatever you’re reading, studying, or trying to learn, by whatever means you are seeking to know, wrestle with your subject until Jesus releases the blessing of Himself, so that you increase in the knowledge of our beautiful Savior.
Second, all knowledge should lead to worship, since to know Christ is to worship Him. Let this be increasingly the case in your life. Expect to worship Jesus throughout the day. Listen for every “call to worship” that comes from the things you know and are learning to know. A simple word of thanksgiving or praise, or an extended encomium of joy for this, that, or the other, is appropriate at all times, throughout the day, and in every situation, even in the midst of people who have no interest in God.
Third, all knowledge, being knowledge of Christ, must be invested according to His agenda, which is that His Kingdom should come on earth as it is in heaven; thus, all knowledge must be made to serve the purpose of glorifying God by good works that make disciples, build the Church, and further Christ’s rule over all things. As we shall see in our next installment, those who know their God act on that knowledge, to bring the rule of King Jesus to expression on earth as it is in heaven.
Whatever we know or may know can lead us into exciting, amazing, and life-changing experiences of Jesus, and to the confidence, ebullience, and power that can make us effective as His witnesses in the world. So let’s get on with the knowing – truly knowing all things to the praise and for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. What does it mean to say that all true knowing stops with Jesus? Why is this necessarily so?
2. Should Christians be content only with partial knowing? Explain.
3. What can we do to see Jesus more consistently in our reading and study of Scripture?
Next Steps – Preparation: Peter says we are to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. What steps can you take to accelerate that process in your own life?
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.