The apostle Paul said to the Galatians, "But now that you know God or rather are known by God —how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?" (Gal 4:9, NIV). He thought it was more appropriate to say they were known by God than that they knew God. Perhaps that's because right now we only know God in part (1 Cor 13:9). Even the apostle Paul admitted that he himself only knew God in part.
He said, "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Cor 13:12, NIV)
Those who truly belong to the Lord are fully known by Him. David described in Psalm 139 just how completely God knew Him, when he wrote:
"You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you." (Ps 139:1-18, NIV).
That's how intimately God knows those who belong to Him. At this time, we cannot say we know God that same way, but we will when we see Him face to face. Then we shall know Him fully, even as we are fully known.
Yet not everyone who says to Jesus, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father in heaven. (Mt 7:21). There are people who operate in the supernatural, prophesying and driving out demons in the name of Jesus, and who call Him "Lord," but He does not know them. And on judgment day He will tell them so. He said, "Then I will tell him plainly, I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!" (Mt 7:23, NIV)
None of us would ever want to hear the Lord say those words to us, yet He does have to say that to many people, who then go away into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt 25:41). That is the eternal punishment that awaits those false disciples who do not do the will of the Father in heaven. The Lord will deny that He ever knew them.
Therefore it behooves us to know for sure that Christ knows us. How can we know that He does? He said to do the will of the Father in heaven, and then Christ will acknowledge us as one of His own whom He knows. Paul also said in his letter to Timothy: "'The Lord knows those who are His,' and 'Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.'" (2 Tim 2:19, NIV)
This is a key aspect that is not preached about much these days. The Lord surely knows those who are His. But if you confess Jesus as your Lord, you must turn away from wickedness. If you do not depart from all iniquity, then don't expect the Lord to know you as His own.
That's why it's best to pray sincerely as David did at the end of Psalm 139 for the Lord to search you and reveal any wicked way in you:
"Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting."
(Ps 139:23-24, NIV)
It reminds me of the words of the famous hymn, Search Me, O God, by J. Edwin Orr that goes:
"Search me, O God,
And know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior,
Know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be
Some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin
And set me free."
This is a wonderful way to express your love for God, by asking Him to search you, cleanse you from every sin, and set you free. If you truly love God, then you will be known by Him. Paul said, "The man who loves God is known by God." (1 Co 8:3, NIV). Yet many people say they love God, and not everyone who claims to love Him truly loves Him. Here is the standard by which it will be determined whether you love God.
Jesus said, "Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and show Myself to him." (Joh 14:21, NIV). He also said, ""If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him." (Joh 14:23, NIV). Therefore, if you want to be known by God, then you must love Him, and if you truly love Him, you will obey the commands of Jesus. You will obey His teaching.
That is the straight and narrow path that only few people are willing to take, and it's the only one that leads to eternal life. Many would rather take the wide road to destruction. If you want to be known by God, then find out what pleases the Lord. Take the commands of Jesus and obey them. Follow His teachings and do what He said. That will affect every area of your life. Let me encourage you to do that today, if you are not already doing so. Then you will have no regrets on judgment day. If you depart from sin and serve the Lord with love, then you will not have to hear Him say, "Depart from me, you evildoer, I never knew you," but will instead hear Him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," and you will know Him fully even as you are known.
Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible NIV.
Author's note: If you would like to become a disciple, consider enrolling in our Doulos Training School. You are invited to read Knowing the Lord, The Difference Between Being a Disciple and a Believer, The Cost of Discipleship, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Separation from the World, Michael Shigaba's Encounter with Jesus, Strive to Enter the Kingdom of God, Straight and Narrow Path, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, A Warning for Married Christian Couples, What's Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Keeping Sundays Holy - Part I, Keeping Sundays Holy - Part II, Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music -- Three Divine Revelations, God's View of Public Bathing, and Ask for the Ancient Paths. You may access the Main Directory for this Seeking the Lord blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping