“How good it is to know the Lord this morning!” said the preacher. “Amen,” echoed several members of the congregation.
Most all of us have seen people talk in this glib manner about their relationship with their God and Creator. They honestly believe that they are glorifying the Great God by such talk. They are on the whole, quite evidentially sincere. But the non-Christians and those of less emotional beliefs just smile to themselves and feel that these people have been misguided into using religion as a means of letting off steam.
Putting all personal feelings and preconceived ideas aside, how can one really “get to know God?”
There are three basic means by which you can come to know and really understand the true God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The first way is by carefully studying what God has produced, His creation the thing we sometimes call “nature.” Paul knew this; he was inspired to write in Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.”
So evident is the supreme intelligence of God in His creation, that the atheist is totally without excuse for denying God’s existence. This is a law-abiding universe. God is clearly revealed in nature as a God of law and order, of supreme wisdom and purpose behind every creation.
Try to break the law of gravity sometime! The unity of nature, the constancy of its inexorable laws all point to the nature and character of the Creator. God’s creation did not evolve! Its laws remain the same. Charles Darwin’s own son said, “We cannot prove that a single species has been changed.” God decreed (Gen. 1:25) that every plant and animal should bring forth “after his kind.” Not once in 6,000 years has this decree been violated.
God’s laws do not change! All nature thunders forth this truth. This principle applies to spiritual as well as physical things. Study God’s creation if you truly wish to understand your Creator. The Bible and nature both teach that God’s plan and His law do not alter. “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprighteousness” (Ps. 111:7-8).
In contrast to the united testimony of nature, human beings are divided and confused in their ideas of God. It has been said, “Man creates God in his own image.” In the majority of cases that is true!
People of every nation and tongue have always worshipped something. But their “god” was usually a product of their imaginations, a god that would conform to their current human standards, laws, and ways of looking at things.
Even today, most professing Christians read their own idea of God into the Bible. We all know of “sweet little old ladies” who think of god as a kindly, sentimental, and very prudish old fellow who would be shocked to tears and completely upset if any of his children should go to a movie. Their conception of God is just as narrow and limited as their own environment, training, and mental outlook has been.
Other people go to the opposite extreme. They think of God as a far-off spiritual power with little or no direct concern with the human family. They imagine that God is “wise” enough to let us alone to choose our own amusements, society, laws, and our own religion the way we want to have it. They think they are philosophic, cosmopolitan, and “modern.” So they make God in their own image.
In every city, nation, and family there are people with differing human ideas of what God is like. Let’s quit trying to make God in our own image!
The Bible is the revealed Word of the Great God. It was written to show us the nature of God, and how we should live and worship Him, that we might be His children. Diligently studying your Bible is the second way to come to know God. It is the second witness needed to dispel man’s confusion in his ideas of God.
If you have proved and really believe that the Bible is the inspired revelation from God to man, then you should clearly realize that God’s Word is not to be argued with, or falsely interpreted to bolster pet doctrines.
We may have had our own preconceived human idea of God. But if we want the truth, let’s put that aside and search God’s Word to find out how He reveals Himself to us. Remember that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16).The Bible is to correct and reprove us, to show us where we are wrong. Will we let it?
God says, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6).We find that Jesus Christ is, “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Heb. 13:8). The Father and the Son do not whimsically change their plans and principles, or their laws. They “change not.”
At this point, it is important to realize that Jesus Christ was the God or “Lord” of the Old Testament! In John 1:1-5, we find that Christ was the “Word” or “Spokesman” who was with the Father from the beginning. All things were created by Jesus Christ (v. 3 and Col. 1:16).Christ was the spiritual “Rock” that went before and protected the ancient House of Israel, and that gave them the Ten Commandments (I Cor. 10:1-6). God in the person of Jesus Christ is the one who gave the Law that most preachers hate today! Why do they hide their eyes from the Christ who is supreme Law-Giver? Do they think that Christ has changed? Your Bible says no!
God’s methods and laws are basically the same from Genesis to Revelation. Apparently not realizing this, most self-appointed preachers will tell you about the “God of the Old Testament” in contrast with Christ in the New Testament. Then they go on to say that Christ preached one gospel, and Paul preached a different gospel. They are in confusion.
In Revelation 17:5, God names this mixed-up divided system of churchianity “Babylon the Great” which literally means “Great Confusion.” God’s true people are commanded to come out of this system (Rev. 18:4).Why?
Because they don’t know the true God! Satan has his own false ministers who appear to be the ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:15).These false ministers are deceiving people, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (II Cor. 4:4).
How can these people be so easily deceived? First, because they blindly follow human traditions and these false ministers and therefore have a false conception of God. (Enroll today in our Bible series Traditional Christian Doctrines) And second, because they are spiritually too lazy to study their Bibles and come to know the true God and His way.
From Genesis to the Book of Revelation, God is revealed as the Creator, the Ruler, and the potential Spiritual Father of mankind. In Gen. 2:17, God commanded the man not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Stubborn man disobeyed this command and incurred the death penalty. God showed himself as Ruler, and man disobeyed.
Long before the old covenant was instituted, Abraham was blessed because he obeyed God’s laws and kept His commandments (Gen. 26:5). He recognized God, he knew God as Supreme Ruler.
After Israel had come out of Egypt (a type of sin) to become an independent people, God gave them His commandments which they had lost since Abraham’s time. They were to be ruled by God’s laws which alone can bring happiness. Having the same human nature as we do, they disobeyed God and were driven into captivity. Why? Because they refused to recognize God, to know God as their Supreme Ruler.
Christ came in the flesh to reveal the Father. He showed that God’s law would be in force until heaven and earth pass away (Matt. 5:18). He didn’t come to destroy God’s law, but to fulfill it (v. 17). And fulfill means to do or perform, not to do away with. When a young man came to ask Christ how to be saved, he was told, “keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17).
Christ taught that we were no longer to carry out the administration of the civil statutes and judgments for breaking the law (John 8:1-8). We are no longer to execute judgment on evil doers (Matt. 7:1-5). The rituals, sacrifices, and carnal ordinances were nailed to the stake (Col. 2:14, Heb. 7:27). But the spiritual commandments were never to be broken (Matt. 5:19). He told the young man, “keep the commandments.”
Jesus’ whole ministry was one of revealing God as the supreme Lawgiver and Ruler. He preached the good news of the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14).That is the true gospel, the good news of God’s government, God’s Rule.
The very foundation of Jesus’ teaching was that, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every world that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).What word? What God? Those Jews knew very well that Christ was referring to the God of the Old Testament, the giver of the Law, the God who was to Rule Israel. The only “word” of the true God at that time was the Old Testament as contained in your Bible! Jesus referred to the “law” – the Old Testament writings as scripture, and He said, “the scripture cannot be broken” (Matt. 10:35).
You are commanded to live by every word of the true God as revealed in the New and Old Testament of your Bible. He is the true God. Do you know that God? Or do you think that Christ didn’t know what He was talking about? Let’s open our minds to truth!
Most professing Christian ministers talk about Jesus Christ as some sort of hero and Saviour, but they refuse to acknowledge His gospel, His teaching, and His example. They picture Christ as a sweet but helpless little baby at Christmas time and as Savior who has gone “way off to heaven” at Easter time! The conception is that He came to die for men, but that His teaching carries no authority today!
Your Bible says the exact opposite! In John 1:4, we find that Jesus’ life was the “light” of men. It was to show them God’s way to live. Peter was inspired to write, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps” (I Peter 2:21). Read I John 2:6. It is more properly rendered in the Moffatt translation. Speaking of Jesus Christ, John wrote, “He who says he remains in him ought to be living as he lived.”
Jesus is our perfect example! If we say we are Christian, that we “remain in Him” – we ought to be living as He lived! Are you? If you don’t believe in and try to follow Jesus’ example, you don’t understand what kind of God the true God is. You are ignorant of how to worship and obey the God and Father of Jesus Christ.
What was Jesus’ example? His entire life was a perfect example of obedience to God’s law and His rule! He said, “I have kept my Father’s commandments” (John 15:10). His own teaching was simply a magnification of God’s law (Isa. 42:21). Actually, He came in the flesh to magnify the law, the Ten Commandments! Remember? He was the God of the God Testament who gave the Ten Commandments and dealt with Israel (I Cor. 10:1-6).
When He came in the flesh, Christ kept that law to set us an example. He was our “light,” our “example.” A true Christian is simply one who follows Christ, who follows that example. Do you begin to see the true nature of the living God?
He is the One who has set all physical and spiritual laws and energies in motion. He has an overall plan for this earth, He is Supreme Ruler. God came in the flesh as Jesus Christ to preach the good news of God’ kingdom or government. Jesus always preached that gospel. Philip preached it (Acts 8:12). The apostle Paul preached it all through his ministry, even to the Gentiles at Rome (Acts 28:31). It is the only true Gospel!
God is Ruler. If we become His children through repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). We may be “born again” (John 3:1-8), changed into, actually born of spirit as a literal son of God! God is reproducing Himself! He, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, is begetting human beings through His Spirit to be born as His sons, to be in His own family, to inherit eternal life. But we must first learn how to live before God will grant us eternal life and make us His own sons.
We must develop God’s wisdom, God’s character. We must “live by every word of God.” Realizing that our Creator knows best, we should obey Him. To deny this is to admit a profound ignorance of the Eternal God’s great wisdom and purpose! It betrays a lack of understanding of the character of the true God.
John summed it all up when he wrote of Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament, the giver of the Law, “He that says, I know him and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4).
God himself calls the lawless ministers liars when they try to deny the authority of His Rule, the wisdom of His law, and the very basis of His great purpose.
It is time to wake up! May God help you to repent of defying His rule, of breaking His laws, and guide you to accept Christ as your Savior from sin. Then you may begin to develop the character of God and be born of the Spirit as His son in the resurrection. You need to come to know the true God as your Father.
Once you come to really know the true God, the God revealed by Jesus Christ you will want to talk to Him. You may do this in prayer. This is the third way you may come to really “know” the true God.
As you come to know God in this way, you will soon realize that here, too, you have to obey God if you expect an answer. But you will find that God is Love, and that he will gladly grant any request that is good for you under the circumstances. You will also discover that He has power to heal you when you are sick, to deliver you in miraculous ways from trouble, and to bless you in a manner beyond human comprehension.
So get to know God by talking to Him often. And remember, the combined testimonies of nature, of the Bible, and of answered prayer all reveal the same true God. He is the All-Wise, All Powerful Law-Giving Ruler of the universe. Are you willing to acknowledge His government, obey His laws, and inherit eternal life as His child?