Eternal Life - the privilege to know
Reflecting on the priceless privilege to truly know God in pure relationship.
There are so many scriptures in the Bible that tell us about the access we have to God and what's available to us because Christ loved us enough to lay down His life. Most Christians would agree that the greatest gift Jesus gave us was the gift of eternal life, but mistakenly think that simply means living forever in a life to come. The truth is that rather than a future event (although that is part of it) Jesus actually described eternal life in John 17:3. Whichever Bible version you read, they all concur that eternal life is the opportunity to truly know the Father and Jesus who He sent.
'And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.' John 17:3
To know Jesus means much more than simply being introduced to Him when we get saved. It means to have a very personal and very close relationship. The original Greek word ginosko means to know, perceive, recognise, become acquainted with and to understand; to have a relationship like a husband would know his wife; two people sharing from the heart and both in love with each other. That's the relationship that God desires for us to have with Him. The apostle Paul understood this clearly when he proclaimed the 'priceless privilege' in Philippians 3:8.
'I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.' AMPC
Over the centuries thousands of books have been written about God by people who have known Him to a certain measure. We might think of the writers of those books as great men and women of God. If we want to we can study those books and acquire as much information as possible about what they discovered about God, but it doesn't necessarily mean we know God personally for ourselves.
I often liken it to knowing about someone famous like a TV star, sports personality, or celebrity. You could read their autobiography or Wikipedia page to find out where they live, grew up, went to school, what they like to do, their favourite music, food and hobbies. You could even read what others have said about them in the media, maybe forming a picture of some parts of their personality. But the reality is that if that celebrity walked down your street they would walk right past you. They would have no idea who you were and you would have very little chance of sharing from your heart with them. Probably zero chance of them sharing their heart with you. Similarly, my wife would be quite distant if I only ever read books about her, followed or on social media or asked others what she likes.
This has been the approach many believers have taken in trying to learn more about God. They have studied the writings of Paul, Peter, or others whose revelations are included in God's Word. They have read theology books and heard testimonies of other Christians who have gone before them and by doing so they have gained more knowledge about God. However, 'knowledge' and 'knowing' are very different concepts. Knowledge can come when we are focused on studying about God rather than the most important thing of all, which is knowing God through the personal, individual study of Him for ourselves! Yes we should study the scriptures as He leads, but pure theology is not just studying about God, it is the study of God.
God intends for us to know Him in reality through a personal relationship with Him! That relationship includes fellowshipping with Him, hearing His voice and following His plan.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, said in John 10:27, 'My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.' Again we see the word 'know'. I believe this is Jesus' greatest desire for us that we would hear Him and know Him. He has so much of Himself that He wants to reveal to us and it's amazing to think that He loved us enough to make this possible. I believe the deepest purpose of Christ's sacrifice was not to grant us a get-out-of-hell card but to give us the opportunity to enter behind the curtain into the holy place of fellowship with God.
Matthew 7:22-22 describes a group of believers who made much of the things of Jesus but didn't make the most of this opportunity to know Him. Let that not be us. Of all the opportunities that life has to offer, make knowing Jesus your number one priority. This is the valuable gift of eternal life. This is a priceless privilege!
Definition: Priceless - Adj.
extremely valuable or important, impossible to replace, invaluable, indispensable.
© 2021 NorthSaint: Darren Roy