Knowing the Greatest Artist (Part 3)
This is a continuation about knowing our God, the Great Artist. We are exhorted in Psalms and Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10a). In Proverbs it uses the word ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’ (NIV. Pro. 1:7; 9:10). This idea simply means that the ‘fear of the Lord (heart knowledge of God) is the beginning (the basis) of wisdom (that is to say knowing what life is all about). (Spykman, Christian Focus). The Westminster Catechism says ‘the chief aim of man is to know God and to enjoy Him forever’. The reformer and theologian John Calvin said that ‘all wisdom we possess which is true and sound wisdom, consist of two parts, the knowledge of God and ourselves.’ (ibib p. 30). When we speak of ‘knowledge of God’ it is not merely the kind of knowledge that God possesses in Himself, but the knowledge of Himself which He desires to share with us, His masterpiece-the crowning glory of His creation. This knowledge of God is not just intellectual and head knowledge. I know of one case; a fellow classmate of mine in the Bible College. He grew up in church, learned lots of Bible stories, memorized verses of Scripture, knew the great doctrines of the Bible, but did not really know God in a personal and living way. It was only in his third year in Bible College when he confessed Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. That is when he came to know God in the true sense of the word. The knowledge of God is not just relying heavily upon ‘good feelings.’ This is one of our setbacks in the last 100 years. The ‘feeling good Christian’ says, “I am a Christian because I am always feeling good about myself since I have been going to church and following Jesus. My job is secured and I get along with my boss and most probably get promoted soon to a higher position and best of all I am earning good money.’ But when tough times, trials and tribulation invade their comfort zone—‘the good feeling Christian’ has no solid rock to stand on, he/she is like a chaff being blown away by different worldviews. Too much reliance upon your feelings is like building your life on a sand dune. They prefer sermons with stories of high emotional experiences; they want sermons that would inspire them and feel good for the moment rather than sermons that are instructive. True knowledge of God is more than just an emotional high and sentimental experience. To have a true knowledge of God runs deeper than sentimental and emotional experiences. How about our ‘will?’ Yes, it plays a very important role. But it is more than just the activation of the will. Some people read the Bible for the sake of reading. It is just a routine, because they say that it is a Christian duty to do so. To them the Bible is just a simple guide of ‘yes and no’ or ‘do’s and don’ts.’ They might be leaders in the church and active participants in church activities. They may be strong willed and forceful in making decisions and carrying out the main program of the church, but in reality their knowledge of the Scriptures is just ‘head knowledge.’ Let us be reminded that true knowledge of God runs deeper than just stimulating the will. The factors above are not sufficient and unbalanced. We need a balanced approach. God revealed Himself to us through His creation which theologians call ‘natural revelation’ and He revealed Himself to us through His words we call ‘special revelation’-the Bible. And He revealed Himself to us through His Son the Living Word. It is safe to suggest that in all God’s words and works, He revealed something of His relationship to man and the world. And you and I the ‘masterpieces’ of His creation are called to embrace this ‘true knowledge’ with our whole being--that is to say with all our soul, with all our hearts, with all our minds, and with all our strength. True knowledge is from our heart, from our innermost being. To be fair and correct it does not exclude our heads, our emotions and will. In other words our whole being, our whole person- body, soul and spirit are involved in embracing the ‘true knowledge of God.’ If you get to know Him, you’ll appreciate how wonderfully and beautifully you were made. You are His masterpiece. You see, it’s a gift; all we have to do is accept it. This is called GRACE. All by grace and by grace alone! (To be continued).