Monday, November 23, 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).

We often think of salvation in terms of whether one knows the Lord. A more God-centered approach, as defined by the Apostle Paul, is does God know us? Almost as importantly, how can we know that God knows us?

The answer lies in the context of Paul's epistle to the Galatians, in which he emphasizes the Lord's regard for us. The letter was writing to born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who had "begun in the Spirit" (Galatians 3:3). The Galatians had trusted solely in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation, believing that "not of works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). Paul emphasizes this blessed truth of the freest gift ever given, and the necessity of our ongoing determination to "trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

The Galatians, those known by God because of their faith in His grace, were being tempted to place themselves under regulations and restrictions of the law. The "Judaizers," however, taught that particular works were required for salvation and its maintenance. They were jealous of Paul, and sought to discredit the Apostle's message by the humanistic logic that redemption must involve at least some human effort and determination. They followed in the line of Cain, whose offering to God involved the labors of his own hands producing an offering from a cursed ground that required much diligence to produce fruit. The Lord had no regard to Cain's offering, but rather accepted Abel's presenting of the sacrifice of another as the basis of his approach to God. "Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect" (Galatians 4:3-5). In the same manner, Paul challenges the Galatians to remember the grace that originated their relationship with God, and the grace that alone can maintain it.

God knows those who come in the way He has provided for us to know Him. The hymnwriter beautifully proclaimed such Gospel truth: "Nothing in my hand I bring; only to Thy cross I cling." Thus, we can know that He knows us if our own regard is completely directed to the Lord Jesus who is to be "preeminent" in all things (Colossians 1:18). Is He believed to be the beginning, continuing, and culmination of our redemption? If so, we are "accepted in the Beloved," "known of God," and the "beloved of the Lord" (Ephesians 1:6; Galatians 4:9; II Thessalonians 2:13).

"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever."
(Romans 11:36)

"Salvation is of the Lord."
(Jonah 2:9)

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