Last night as I participated in listening to some thoughts shared by other believers, I heard a subtle and recurring theme that has rubbed me enough to leave a sensitive spot… a ready awareness.
We started in Luke 6 in a favorite passage for some about the straightforward rebuke of judging others and not dealing with the speck in someone’s eye when you’ve got a log in your own. Solid… important… good words from Christ. (as an aside, its interesting how often this passage is referenced in isolation from the greater context of what Jesus is teaching.) But anyway, we had some good discussion and as always my heart received needed rebuke and training from the Word as I am constantly challenged and too often getting caught up in my pride. From that point, another person directed us to 1 Corinthians 13 and championed ‘love’ as being the greatest thing to concern ourselves with. In the midst of this exhortation was a slight (and easily glossed over) highlighting of ‘knowledge’ being something that ‘will pass away’. No argument here, right? I mean Paul states it pretty clearly; prophecy, tongues and knowledge will cease and will pass away…
keep listening/reading……….. “when the perfect comes”. If it will cease, if it will pass away then it stands to reason it has a purpose in the time that it exists… before it passes away. So, with that as my preface, here is what I was compelled to append today in response to that tender rub that stirred up my thoughts last night.
Interesting and important to note/clarify/understand from last night is that knowledge will pass away (along with prophecy and tongues) as was highlighted. What does this mean? Does it mean that knowledge is less important than faith, hope and love? Does it mean that knowledge isn’t important at all? Why were prophecies, tongues and knowledge held up in contrast to Love?
1 Cor 13:8-13
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Clearly our knowledge of things as we walk here on earth will become somewhat useless or meaningless when we are caught up to Glory… when the perfect comes. BUT,
be careful to how you think about ‘knowledge’ while you press on in faith here in this world.
The Bible gives us knowledge. It, for example, gives us knowledge about people who struggled against the truth of the Gospel and in conflict with the church in the area of ‘gnosticism’. They believed (in the extreme) that their salvation was through esoteric (special) knowledge. Clearly wrong. The Cross is the only way of salvation. There were and also are those who are ‘agnostic’, who believe that we really can’t ‘know’ God or that we can only know what we can experience. Be careful here.
The Gospel is Good News… hear that? NEWS! It is something that is real, true, historical, existing outside of us, objective propositional Truth. Faith comes how? by hearing the Word of God… information coming to us through our hearing to our minds. And were it not for the grace and mercy of God to reveal this knowledge to us and to bring us to salvation through it, we all would be in or on our way to Hell for eternal judgement. We CAN’T experience God apart from knowledge. We must come to know God. We must come to know Christ and Him crucified. Knowledge is important. Knowledge of the truth through the Word of God by revelation of the Holy Spirit coming to us through hearing of “Good News” is how we are saved. AND it is the ongoing “knowing” of God and Christ through the study of God’s word… “Knowledge”… that we grow in grace and truth. True knowledge begets obedient response. We can’t glorify God or experience God without being informed from the Word of God. This is where/how He has chosen to reveal Himself… through the Word – Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;” (1 Peter 3:15)
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord
; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:1-3
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2 Cor 10:5)
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Eph 4:11-14)
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6)
May God keep us through the ongoing hearing and revelation of His Word; may we press on to know the Lord, and may we love as Jesus Christ loved.
As I conclude my thoughts here and my post, I am again brought to a place of worship as I consider that the only One who is good, our Triune God, has demonstrated Himself (His love) to us in revealing to us a knowledge (true reality) that He exists and that we are dead in our sins and that He has made our salvation possible through the cross of Jesus Christ who freely obeyed His father’s will and came as the God-man, lived in submission to the Holy Spirit who empowered Him in his humanity to live a perfect life, free from any sin and thereby met and propitiated the penalty of sin in my place. Then rose victorious from death and now lives at the right hand of God the Father interceding on behalf of the elect. Hallelujah!! what a Savior!