Galatians 4:8-11. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.
A few days ago we looked as these verses from Galatians 4 when we looked at what the elementary principles of the world are, and how we are freed from these principles in Christ. The contrast to not knowing God and being enslaved to the elementary principles of the world (v.8), including the law, is that we know God and, better yet, are known by God (v. 9). God wants to know us!
“Knowledge” was a big deal in Paul’s day. Some Greeks believed that the path to union with the Logos (an impersonal force) came through hidden knowledge that only some would gain, usually through secret passwords, mantras, and spells. This way of thinking crept into Christianity in the form of Gnosticism (gnosis = to know). Gnostics denied Jesus’ humanity. They said Jesus came to reveal the secret knowledge. But John the Apostle equated Jesus with the logos. Jesus didn’t come to reveal the secret knowledge or the logos, John said, rather he IS the knowledge. He IS the logos. And he is no secret. Because of the incarnation, death, resurrection, and indwelling of Christ, everyone can know Jesus. And everyone can know God.
Paul’s statement that we know God, and even better, we are known by God, challenges the Greek and Gnostic thinking with a Jewish thought. In Jewish thinking, to “know” someone is to have an intimate relationship with them. It goes way beyond the mind. It is the entire self, body, soul, spirit, that is claimed by God. Known by God. Transformed by God.
God’s love is the initiating love, and always will be. His love sought us and bought us. But why? So that God could know us. That is, not just know about us, he already knows everything about us. But what he really wants and needs is to know us experientially. He wants to experience us, our love, our faith, our inner most being. God knew us before time so that he could know us for all of time. We know him, he knows us- it’s meant to be a deep family relationship.
“To live is Christ” is God’s way of knowing us. And I mean knowing us, not just knowing about us. Union with Christ connects us to God beyond mere head knowledge. Beyond gaining some transcendent knowledge about an impersonal force. God wants to know you so deeply that he connected his life to yours, his Spirit to your spirit. By the indwelling life of Christ you are not only saved, you are known. And because God knows us, now we can know God. And I mean really know him, not just know about him.