Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Knowing That You Know Him

How much do you really know?

You know more than you think you do. Or at least you can.

I can still remember the press conference in 2002 when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made a statement that later became established in pop culture. A reporter had asked him a question by stating that there were "reports that there is no evidence" of something. Rumsfeld's response was classic Rumsfeld.

Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.

—Donald Rumsfeld, February 12, 2002

There are certainly thousands of things you don't know. More like billions. But even when it comes to the most important concerns we have, we often have no certainty as to what the outcome will be. We have no idea if our loved ones will still be with us next year, or whether we will be healthy next month, or whether we will lose our jobs next week. When it comes to knowledge with certainty, it seems we don't know much.

So how about God, and spiritual things? That seems like an area where we might not know much. After all, that's the very definition of faith, isn't it? Believing without seeing?

We might be surprised to see just how much the Bible says we can know with certainty when it comes to our faith. The Apostle John, the same one who through amazing experiences had matured into a great man of God (see these posts), wrote in a letter about what we can know with certainty concerning God and ourselves, when we are in Christ. And he even says that we can know that we know God. Take a look at these remarkable words:

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. (1 John 2.3, ESV)

He actually uses the primary Greek root word for know twice in this sentence. I used to hear pastors ask, "Do you know that you know Him?" And I used to think it was funny that they would word it that way. But the fact is, John the Apostle essentially does just that.

We'll cover later what John is saying in 1 John 2.3, about doing what God says to do. But one thing is certain. He says you can know that you know God through Jesus Christ. And that's real certainty. Some translations even word it that way: "And by this we are certain…". 

God's word says that you can know that you know Him. That's profound. Do you know Him?

Next time, we'll look at more of what we know.