Wednesday 19 March 2014


What is the difference between knowing about God and knowing Him?

Knowing that God exists does not necessarily mean that we are favoured by God or that we will be definitely meet Him one day when we leave this earth.

“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror” (James 2:19).

Knowing in our mind that God exists is not enough to earn His approval. Even demons know who God is and acknowledge His existence. Mental assent to the fact that God exists is not to be equated to submission and allegiance to God.

Here are four instances in the New Testament which illustrate various people who merely knew about God but did not know Him. They knew God existed but did not submit to Him.

The demoniac who lived among the tombs, on seeing Jesus from afar, ran and worshipped Him. He cried out with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me” (Mark 5:7). Even the physical act of bowing down to God does not necessarily reflect true submission.

In Philippi, there was a slave girl with a spirit of divination who brought her owners much gain through soothsaying. She followed Paul wherever he went and cried out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). Much annoyed that he was being tailed in his travelling ministry, Paul cast the evil spirit out from her.

On seeing the extraordinary miracles wrought by Paul, some exorcists presumed that they could invoke the name of Jesus to cast out evil spirits: “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognise, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded (Acts 19:13-16). There is no special formula for exorcism which does not take into account an abiding relationship between the exorcist and his God.

Evil spirits do recognise Jesus and those who serve God. But though they know who Jesus and His servants are, they do not submit to God. Their allegiance is to satan, the prince of the power of the air, who now rules this earth.

Even those who minister in signs and wonders and perform spectacular miracles in the name of God need to take heed of Jesus’ warning: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7: 21-23).

We may belong to a respectable church. We may know all the correct Christian lingo. We may know how to sing, clap and jump during worship in church. But, if we do not know God, we are just going through the motions; our involvement in church activities is in vain. 

Presumptuous faith, failure to walk closely with God, discern and do His will could prove disastrous for many believers on the day of judgment. It will be a most dreadful day when the goats will be separated from the sheep, the tares will be separated from the wheat.

We need to examine ourselves to see whether we are truly in the faith or not (2 Corinthians 13:5).

We need to be diligent to confirm our calling and election (2 Peter 1:10).

We need to watch how we live and what we believe: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Can we confidently say, like Paul, I know whom I have believed, when we are nearing the end of our lives (2 Timothy 1:12)?

Receiving God’s grace is merely the first step in the life of a believer. The difficult part is to continue growing, keeping ourselves under God’s favour and impacting the world.

Some compare the Christian life to a walk in the park. They say everything is by faith. You just have to believe in what Jesus has done for you at the cross. Anything more than that smacks of self-effort, pride and legalism. Is it true?

To live soberly and purposefully during these perilous end times, we need to arm ourselves with wisdom and discernment.

When we spend a lot of time watching, we tend to forget to be watchful. What does it mean to be watchful?

What does it take to be a winner in the most important race of all?

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