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KNOWING GOD SERIES - Part 2 - Can We Know God

     “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them....He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”(2 Corinthians 5:18-19a,21 NASB)

     “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,….For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more , having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:1,10 NASB)


    Last month, we explored what it meant to know God.  We discovered that it was not just an intellectual assent or a religious exercise but having an intimate relationship with Him.  It is a mutual exchange.  We open our hearts to Him, and He reveals Himself to us.  It is a daily fellowship.  It is a holy communion.  This was made possible by the blood of Christ. We may understand that faith in Christ provides forgiveness of our sins and consequently insures our eternal destiny in heaven.  Some of us, however, may not understand how a holy, infinite God can find fellowship with a sinful, finite human being.  In this article, we will explore Biblical concepts that explain the ramifications of the cross that have made this fellowship possible.


    In the above verses, there are two key words that will help us understand how such a fellowship could be possible. The key words are “justified” and “reconciled.”

Judicial Consequences

     The word “justified” is a form of the word “justify” which is a judicial term.  It was used in the context of a court of law or a judicial system.  In this case it is not an earthly court but a heavenly one.  It does not just determine the fate of our physical existence but rather of our soul. Whereas the earthly court determines earthly consequences, the heavenly court decrees eternal consequences.  In this Scriptural sense, God is the judge and human beings are the defendants.  

Guilty on our Own Merit

     Without Christ, we stand before God--the holy, perfect, just Judge--on our own merit without advocate or defense.  The evidence is stacked against us.  It is not just a judgment of our deeds but of our nature.  It is a judgment based upon something we cannot change.  

     We stand before Him guilty as charged, and the penalty is death – eternal separation from all that is good--and torment.  In order for this Judge to be just, He must condemn us, for we are guilty.  Romans 3:23 states, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (NASB) This is confirmed also in Psalm 14:2-3 and in Isaiah 64:6.  

Compassion and Grace

     Though our God is a judge, He declares Himself first and foremost in Exodus 34:6 (NASB) to be “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.”  So here is the problem: how can God be both loving and just? The love desires to draw us close to Him, but  justice demands a judgment of our sin nature and consequently separates us from Him.  

A Solution Provided

     It appears to be a problem to us, but to God it is an opportunity to demonstrate His greatness. Because He is not bound by time or space, He is able to devise a perfect solution.  He pays the penalty for us and remains just and becomes the justifier (Romans 3:26).  Romans 5:8 (NASB) states, “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

A Divine Exchange: Justification

     So because of this act of love we can be “justified” – acquitted, declared righteous by the righteous Judge. This concept can be remembered by breaking up the word “justify” in this manner:  “Just as if I’d never sinned.”   We must simply put our faith in Christ and trust Him to take our place before the Judge.  After the gavel falls, we are declared righteous by God.  He begins to see us as hidden in Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:21 states that a divine exchange takes place.  Christ takes on our sin and we take on His righteousness, thus making fellowship with God possible.

Reconciled and Realigned

     This divine exchange is also expressed in the next key word which is “reconciled.”  Reconciliation is the process of being adjusted and realigned with a standard that is  absolute, unchanging and completely accurate.

     An illustration of this is our tendency to align our watches and clocks to the time displayed on our cell phones or announced on radio or television.  We recognize the cell phone and the time given on radio or TV as accurate and in line with the national standard, so we align/reconcile our watches and clocks to that time.

     Likewise, God is the only one who is perfect and holy, and in order for us to have fellowship with Him, we must be aligned/reconciled to His standard of holiness.  Just as our watches and clocks cannot align themselves to the correct time, neither can we align ourselves with God’s holiness and righteousness.  God must do it for us.  This is the process of “being made righteous” that was expressed in 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Aligned with God’s Image
     This process of reconciliation, being made righteous, is the result of being justified, declared righteous.  When we are justified, we are reconciled/aligned to God’s nature and this makes it possible for us to have fellowship with Him.  Scripture calls this alignment “the new nature” or “new creation” or “new man” (2 Cor 5:17, Colossians 3:10).  This is done at the moment of salvation.  In addition, He gives us His Holy Spirit to abide in us (Ephesians 1:13,14, Romans 8:9-17).  


    It is in this place of fellowship that we get to know God.  Though God has declared us righteous and has aligned us to His nature in the spirit realm, it is our task to align our choices in our daily experience with what God has declared.

Renewing Our Mind

     This comes as a result of renewing our minds with the Word of God and obeying it (Romans 12:1, 2; Romans 6:12,13).  This is the process of maturing in Christ.  The more we grow in our relationship with Him, the more what is true about us in the spirit realm becomes evident in the natural realm. Aligning our choices with His nature involves yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit and living out of the new nature rather than the flesh (Galatians 5:16; 2:20).  This keeps the communication channels clear between us and God.  
Obedience is Linked to Hearing Him

     There is a direct correlation between our obedience and God’s revelation of Himself, as we see in John 14: 21-23. “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him,” John 14:21, (NKJV).

     When we “blow it” and fall into disobedience,  we simply admit it to God (confess our sin).  He forgives us, cleanses us and restores fellowship (1 John 1:9).

Fellowship as Heir’s of God

     Finally it is important to understand that not only are we declared righteous, we are also declared sons/heirs.  We are a part of His family.  He loves us and is committed to us (John 10:27-30).  He enjoys our company and delights to be a part of every aspect of our lives (John 15:4-8).  We connect with Him through His Word (the Bible), prayer, worship and fellowship with one another.  So it is not a question of can we know Him but will we know Him.  God has done His part; the rest is up to us.  
Next month we will begin to explore what we discover about God when we live in fellowship with Him.  Let’s pray.


     “Dear God, thank you for loving and valuing me so much that you made it possible for me to get to know You.   Thank you for declaring me righteous and giving me everything I need to experience fellowship with You.  I yield myself to you and welcome You to be my best friend and confidant.  May my love for you grow to match your love for me.  In Jesus name, Amen.”


*photo credit of sunset: Javin's Photography*

Copyright © 2008-2015 Shermaine Jones

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2009-10-20 06:29:40
        - Denise

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