(January 9, 1991)
It isn’t easy writing a column for January 2 in the middle of December. Who knows what will be happening in three weeks? Plans, hopes, dreams or worries may or may not come to pass. Certainly, the Bible affirms it: “You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.”
In spite of that, God does give some “knowns” to grab hold in our struggles with uncertainties. Call them blueprints, goals, or even anchors, but without something more solid than our own wants and hopes, blueprinting the year ahead is a waste of effort.
KNOWING WHAT I AM WITHOUT GOD: Paul said “I know that in me dwells no good thing...” This is not comfortable knowledge but necessary. We cannot know God or receive His forgiveness for our sins until we know and fully acknowledge our deep need of Him.
KNOWING HE HAS POWER TO FORGIVE SINS: God provided salvation from the penalty, power and presence of sin. Rather than be destroyed because of our guilt, in Christ, we can know forgiveness (Luke 5:24). No one knows any other way to deal with the guilt of sin!
KNOWING THE TRUE GOD AND JESUS CHRIST: Through faith in His Son, it is possible to intimately know God and have eternal life (John 17:3). Many people think they believe but how can we be sure that we actually do know Him?
OBEDIENCE TO HIM IS EVIDENCE OF KNOWING HIM: 1 John 2:3 says “Here is how we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” The forgiven friends of Jesus Christ are those who, from the heart, obey what He says.
KNOWING LIBERATING TRUTH: Obedience gives even further assurance; Jesus said those who obey Him (rather than sin) will know that what He says is truth (John 7:17). Furthermore, those who know truth are set free from sin’s bondage (John 8:32). As we more deeply know truth, we more deeply realize what we would be doing, thinking and saying without Christ, thus we know any goodness that is present is there because Jesus is there. (see 2 Corinthians 13:5)
KNOWING THE MYSTERIES OF HIS KINGDOM: Jesus promised all this valuable knowing to His disciples. God’s insight into His world keeps me from losing my mind, direction, and confidence in this one (Matthew 13:11).
KNOWING AFFLICTIONS ARE APPOINTED FOR ME: One of His mysteries is that He does not shield his children from all trials. Then, when unexpected troubles come, instead of blaming God or being angry at Him, I can expect to find His wisdom teaching me lessons through it (2 Thessalonians 3:3,4).
God is not out to get me because “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” His love works through blessings and disasters, using both for the good of those who love Him. That keeps me glad that I know Him.
KNOWING GOD HEARS AND ANSWERS PRAYER: John 9:31 says we know He will not hear sinners, but He will hear those who worship and obey Him. I John 5 says we can know He will do whatever we ask, if it is according to His will.
KNOWING WHAT I DO FOR HIM WILL BE REWARDED: There may not be a lot of thank you’s or praises in this life, but God’s Word promises rewards so I know my labor is not in vain in the Lord. I also know...
HE WILL RETURN UNEXPECTEDLY: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (2 Thessalonians 5:2). Until that great event happens, I am convinced of one more certainty:
ETERNAL LIFE: 2 Corinthians 5:1 proclaims we know that when our earthly bodies are destroyed, we will have a heavenly body from God, eternal in the heavens. In fact, I John was written to all believers for this purpose, so they “may know they have eternal life.” I am sure of my destiny.
When Paul wrote Timothy, he had been ridiculed for his faith, however, he was “...not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Me too, not because of what I have done, but because He said so.