“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord
Blessings at the beginning of epistles are no mere formal formulas but are to be personally engaged. We discover blessings in experientially knowing God and Jesus our Lord.
Jn 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
The Greek word for “knowledge” implies an active relation and self-reference to God. Active knowledge of God is far more than academic perception, for it involves mediating learning. We do not know God from hearsay. We understand Him individually for ourselves. Knowing Him personally influences the direction of our lives. This engagement is an obedient acknowledgment of God in our lives.
This personal knowledge of God edifies us as we participate in it (Rom. 15:14; 1 Cor. 14:6). Understanding of this sort transcends the theoretical and goes hand in hand with a relationship (Php 3:10). When we come to grips with the person of Christ, we renounce confidence in the flesh (Php 3:4), confess Christ as Lord (Php 3:8), and constantly renew our relationship with Him (Php 3:12). We experience the power of His resurrection (Php 3:10).
Col 1:10-12, “That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
The Colossian passage is more than factual knowledge about God. The idea is to experience understanding God. That is, we should increase the experience of understanding God more and more.
The word “knowledge” in this verse is intense. It means to know thoroughly. We must know God with discernment and rich knowledge. Therefore, we can participate in knowing God more fully.
This knowledge is not abstruse information. Knowledge of God is not obscure. We cannot grow in the knowledge of God with a closed Bible (2 Pe 3:18). We increase the knowledge of God as we increase the knowledge of God’s Word. The more we know the Bible experientially, the more we know God. We cannot know how to live the Christian life without the Bible.
Extensive, personal knowledge of God is the highest ideal of the Christian life because it manifests His glory.
Do you know God as a person, or is He just so much information?
Knowledge of God is the greatest virtue of Christianity. No experience, even a spiritual experience, will validate our relationship with God. A spiritual experience in itself has no basis for validation. Truth validates experience; not experience validates truth. Only the Bible can clarify the validity of the experience. We are incapable of loving Christ without some knowledge of Christ. We cannot love Christ without truth. Experience can only confirm the fact; it does not make truth. Truth is necessary to validate the experience.
Some people have wide emotional swings. They can trigger an ecstatic mood at the drop of a word. They can go to a movie and cry when the good guy gets the girl at the end. Emotion becomes an ecstatic experience for them. Some people can get an ecstatic experience out of a bottle. There are many ways to produce an ecstatic experience if emotion triggers you easily. These people are often far from authentic Christian living because they lack the self-discipline to get into the Word. They operate on wide emotional swings. They think that they can agonize in the closet and be spiritual. Many live by strictly psychological induced experience. Emotive variations have little to do with authentic Christian living.
Authentic biblical experience follows the knowledge of God.
2 Ti 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”