Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Known of God"

"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" (Galatians 4:9).

In his question directed toward the Galatians believers tempted by legalism, the Apostle Paul reverses our normal way of viewing those who are related to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rather than, "Do we know the Lord?," Paul raises the more God-centered question, "Does the Lord know us?" Have we approached Him in a manner that assures His reception and acceptance of us? This is a far more consequential issue than our knowledge of Him, and we can only find the answer in accordance with the light and authority of Scripture.

"He hath made us accepted in the beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).

Proper relationship to the Lord Jesus is the only way we can be sure that we are "known of God." We must be in Christ, that is, we must be spiritually united to Him and enrobed in His righteousness (I Corinthians 1:30). There can be no trust in our own merit or works, and no notion that we can be received for any reason other than the truth that our Savior was rejected on the cross of Calvary for our sakes. "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21) We come by faith, but even more, we come by the grace that provides relationship with God as the freest gift ever given.

Our Heavenly Father's standard of acceptance is His beloved Son. We must either be exactly like Him, or we must be so closely related to Him that His goodness is accounted as our own. The former contingency is impossible; the latter is the Gospel. "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). Righteousness, the pristine righteousness of the Lord Jesus, is imputed to all who believe, fulfilling God's standard of acceptance and ushering us into a gift of grace beyond comprehension and description (Romans 4:22-25).

Salvation and subsequent relationship with God involves the awareness that unless He has made a way to Himself, there is no way. "I am the way" declared our Lord of grace (John 14:6). Christ's perfect life, atoning death, and high priestly ministry in the heavens assures all who come by Him that the Father's regard for us will be no less than it is for His beloved Son. "Known of God?" Without a trace of arrogance or audacity, the born again believer in the Lord Jesus affirms that he is received, accepted and regarded. And with a heart overwhelmed by the grace of God, he bows to give the most heartfelt thanks, and then he arises to live a life that honors the One who has so honored him.

"And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me. Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

(John 17:22-26)

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