When I fell in love with my husband, I wanted to learn every detail about him. I longed to be intimately acquainted with his stories, motivations, and dreams. At the beginning of our relationship, we spent hours swapping histories, each of us divulging our past, our lineage, our hopes, and our essence. The intimacy deepened when we were married. The knowledge of one another was intensified. Our love grew and expanded.
We fall in love with Jesus in the same way.
He has made himself known through his Word. It reveals his stories, motivations, and dreams. The more we learn of him through what he has revealed of himself, the more we love him. We see who he is and are amazed by this brilliant Creator God who put on human flesh to live a perfect life, to die a bloody death, and to be raised to justify us. We come to know him as a dearest Friend, a comforting High Priest, the Shepherd of our souls, and the One who intercedes for us.
The more we know of him, the more we love him. The more we love him, the more we want to be like him. As we grow to be like him, we are transformed.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV).
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:2-3 ESV).
The way this knowledge transforms is detailed in many passages: Titus 1:1-4, 1 John 3:1-3, Colossians 1:9-23, Philippians 2:1-13, Ephesians 1-3, and 2 Peter 1:1-11, to name a few.
Epignosis is the Greek word. It is knowledge that produces personal change. This knowledge alters us. It’s not simply head knowledge. When combined, true faith and life-changing knowledge produce reciprocating love. They deepen and intensify our relationship with Christ. This love changes everything.
Another type of knowledge is also essential. We must know ourselves.
God’s love and his Word allow us to see ourselves clearly. We are secure in his affection, so are free to make an unflinching self-examination. When we do, we comprehend how the tentacles of sin poison all our thoughts and actions, even causing us to hide our motives from ourselves.
Knowing ourselves allows us to identify and turn from sin. Honesty is required. God sees it all anyway and loves us enough to sacrifice his Son for us, even with his clear-eyed view of all our nastiness. Why hide it?
Recognizing our brokenness, we confess these sins of heart and thought freely, letting the Lord guide our transformation. Doing so, we fall even more in love with Jesus as he applies the medicine of mercy. The desire to sin less and to honor God more is the Holy-Spirit-empowered result. Love transforms us. Our passionate relationship with the Savior makes us new.
The scripture writers say this faith-knowledge-love combo will alter our lives. If it doesn’t, we’re exhibiting spiritual blindness and have forgotten who we are and what Christ has done. Knowledge of Jesus changes us. Because of who he is, it is impossible that it not. If we aren’t being changed, they recommend we examine our lives to ascertain the validity of our salvation.
In what ways has he changed you? What is the evidence of your transformation?
First, second, and fourth image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net