You can know God?
by Robert Krumrey
Have you ever heard Christians talk about knowing God? For some who have grown up in church, this kind of language can become as mundane as talking about the weather. To others who are outside the church, it may seem absolutely absurd. Why would an all powerful all knowing Deity relate personally with a human being? It is a lofty claim, but it seems to be something that God is serious about accomplishing in the lives of people like you and me. Last Sunday’s sermon explored one of the places in the Bible that indicates that God wants to relate with us personally:
This verse encapsulates God’s vision of a community of humans that know him personally. This is so much more than the typical religious pitch. Most religions are either offering an impersonal set of rules and ritual or an impersonal experience of mystical power. Neither of these versions of religion communicates that there is a god who relates through a personality. If you think about it long enough, it does seem logical that if I am a person who can relate with other persons, wouldn’t the God who made me also be personal?
This is one of the most powerful truths to be revealed about God in the Bible. It is expressed ultimately in what theologians call the “Incarnation”. This is a 10 dollar word used for communicating that Jesus (who is God) took on a human nature. He took on “carne” or flesh. In Jesus, God is revealing himself as more than an energy or a force. He’s personal and can therefore be related to in a way that could be described as “knowing” and not just knowing about.
So how can one experience God in this way? Notice in the above verse from Jeremiah that the prophet couples the idea of knowing God personally with the idea of forgiveness of sin. I shared yesterday that the word “iniquity” not only points to sinful actions but also to a sinful condition that is at the root of all of our sinful actions. This is an unpopular part of of the message of how one comes to “know God”. Why would the prophet Jeremiah mention sin and sinfulness while simultaneously inviting people into an intimate relationship with the Divine.
Jeremiah’s mentioning of the problem of sin reveals something else about God’s nature - that he is holy. The idea of holiness includes moral purity and perfection. It also includes the idea that God is “set apart” from anything that is not morally pure and perfect. Humans were created in the image of the pure and perfect God. This was our state when we were in the Paradise of the garden of Eden. When humans chose to sin against a holy God, they didn’t just do something wrong. They broke relationship with God. This is when humans went from knowing God to merely knowing about God.
Thankfully God does what it takes to usher us back to this state of personally relating with him. This is what Jesus is getting at when he is instituting communion with his disciples and says “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (see Luke 22:14-23). He’s inviting them into fellowship with him (hence the meal) and he is dealing with human sin which is why the meal is a remembrance of body and blood. This new covenant of deep relationship is bought and paid for by Jesus’ death on the cross and is the Path back to the Paradise that we were made for in the first place.
We hope that those of you who long for this but have not yet entered into it, would join us for this semester’s sermon series "Path to Paradise” and that the result would be more than helping you learn about God (although that is certainly helpful) but that you would come to know him.
If you would like to follow along with Bible readings that correspond to Sunday messages, check out this reading plan - Path to Paradise Reading Plan Hope to see you on Sunday!
Robert is husband to Melanie and dad to Kory, Kayla, and Cooper. He came here with his family in 1999 to plant MERCYhouse and currently serves as lead pastor primarily fulfilling roles of teaching and leadership.