We have been talking about knowing God. The interesting thing is that we will forever find more to know about God since He is infinite. And He delights in revealing Himself so that He is known as He is. Identity is important to humans because it is important to God who desires to be known as the I AM of Himself. So do we.
We can think on the fact that God’s forbidding of idolatry is about His identity and ours. A distorted view of God makes a warped view of us. So does a bent gospel.
LIFE WITHOURT LIMIT
We can know God if we choose. Jesus declared that eternal life is ‘knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent’. By eternal life He means more than long life. He means life in its infinite freshness and effervescence.
I was preaching years ago and suddenly realised that there were people present who did not know God, so I said, ‘There are people here today who do not know God.’
I sensed that one man was rather taken aback, which was understandable since he and others had led a diligent life of law-keeping as a result of their view that God’s preoccupation is the law and that the law is an expression of God’s character.
Of course it is not. Jesus is the full and accurate expression of who God is. To see Jesus is to see our Father.
Satan’s plan has from the start majored in binding people through distortions of God.
‘One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them.’
This prompting while speaking was the witness of Holy Spirit. Since our meeting was about Holy Spirit it was apt that Holy Spirit would want all to ‘know God’ as He is rather than as He has been imagined, construed and distorted.
We distort God greatly if we see Him through the lens of the law and we dim Him when we view Him through the window of religion. Fullness of life is to know God as God is through Jesus. This is also to know ourselves as we are and as we can become when we are in the Christ of God*, His gospel of the Kingdom and the teaching of Jesus and the apostles.
The ‘word’ is a Person and the expression of that person is manifested through holy people of God who spoke as imbued by the Living Word. God’s ultimate ‘word’ is Jesus. There’s a sense in which that ‘word’ is you when Christ has come in your flesh and you are a living manifestation of Jesus. This is not a work of merit. It is the gift of God because we have been incarnated with the presence of Jesus.
Our inheritance is to live in this oneness rather than to live in some externality such as the law, a religious rite or an effort of self-discipline. If Christ is not our life we are not alive.
You are not a living word by striving to be so. You are a living word – a son because you agree with God that you are.
God is known through the ‘Jesus lens.’ Jesus is known through Himself and by all who are humble enough to lay down their own lens’s; their own preconceptions and distorted gospels so that God can be known as He is. Let’s be clear. God cannot be knows as He is through the law. But all can know Him through the un-adulterated lens of Jesus – particularly when our Jesus is the Christ of God and not some figure who has been distorted to be subordinate to the law. This is why Paul urged the Jews to transition from the status of slaves and workers in the law to their real being as sons of God as sons of the Free Woman in Jesus Christ. Karl Barth writes,
“That man who refuses to listen and to obey the Word acts not as a free man but as a slave, for there is no freedom except through God's Word. We are speaking of the God of the Gospel, his work and action, and of the Gospel in which his work and action are at the same time his speech. This is his Word, the Logos in which the theological logia, logic, and language have their creative basis and life.”
He is speaking of the new and living way in which the Word of Life becomes you and becomes us; about God being known as He is and about the scriptures being interpreted as the gospel of the Kingdom and not some distorted gospel of a sectarian kingdom or little empire of man.
* We take care to specify the Christ of God because a christ construed in the law is a false christ.
Karl Barth. Evangelical Theology: An Introduction (Kindle Locations 264-267). Kindle Edition.