A collaborative post -- a meeting of the minds in Sunday School and our Friday night study group. I love when this happens.
While reading our Philip Yancey book, What's So Amazing About Grace? on Friday night with our good friends Steve and Dee, I had to say to Tom, "Wait, go back and read that again." It wasn't anything I hadn't heard before, just a few verses from Matthew 7. In that chapter some religious people are telling Jesus that they did this and that, thus and such in his name. He responds, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers." That follows the bit about, not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, only those who do the will of their heavenly Father. But my point is that Jesus said, "I never knew you." Philip Yancey was struck by this and wrote, One of our main tasks, perhaps the main task, is to make ourselves known to God. Good works are not enough...any relationship with God must be based on full disclosure." You want God? You gotta give yourself to Him, no holds barred.
And then my friend, Linda, said in Sunday School that she came across the same thought in her devotions that week while reading Galatians. In Gal. 4:9 it says, "but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God..." It's the "or rather to be known by God..." part that jumped out at her.
Hmmmm, God knew us before we were born. He knit us together in our mother's womb. But He is holy and we are far from it. So far from it that He cannot look on us...except for the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, which washes away our sin. When we open our hearts (full disclosure) and allow Jesus to clean us up, God can look at us. We can be known by Him. All the good works in the world won't make us righteous enough for God. But that one act of giving ourselves to Him allows us to be known by God. It reminds me of a hymn:
You have longed for sweet peace, and for faith to increase
And have earnestly, fervently prayed.
But you cannot have rest, or be perfectly blest
Until all on the altar is laid.
Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart, does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest and have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.
I want to know God and be known by him. I'll yield!