Things God Wants Us To Know

By Ernie and Mary Kroeger

The invisible realm is foreign to us, and it remains a mystery until God reveals it to us by His Holy Spirit. The scriptures give us many clues in symbolism, but these clues remain in the death realm until the Holy Spirit breathes His understanding into us. God wants us to know Him even though He is invisible to our physical eyes, so He has given us the revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ, and through the Spirit we can know Him. The scriptures testify of Him, and help us to know His ways.

In Hosea 4:6 God said, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Knowledge of God is most important. Look at all the trials Job had to endure in order to get to know God! Look at the sacrifice God made so we could get to know Him! He sent Jesus Christ, the exact representation of His nature, to enlighten us. Our words reveal who we are, and the Word (Jesus Christ) reveals God to perfection. God wants us to " know that the Lord Himself is God" and that "we are His people and the sheep of His pasture"! (Ps. 100:3) Knowing God brings us into life.

In this study we want to look at some of the things God wants us to know, and we hope it will whet your appetite to study the scriptures and let the Holy Spirit reveal the Father God to you. In geometry we are given enough information to solve the problem at hand, but we have to know how to apply that information to solve the problem. Similarly, God has given us enough information about who He is, and who we are in Him, that when we apply this knowledge in faith, all the problems we face in this life can be overcome.

Before we look at the things God wants us to know, let's look at the meaning of the Greek word GINOSKO from which "know" or "knowledge" are translated. "It signifies to be taking in knowledge, to come to know, recognize, understand, or to understand completely. In its past tenses it frequently means to know in the sense of realizing, the aorist or point tense usually indicating definiteness. John 10:38 `That you may know' (aorist tense) `and understand' (present tense)." (The explanations of the words under discussion are taken from "The Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words" by W. E. Vine. I will underline the word "know" in the scripture quoted for easy identification.)

God wants us to know the importance of love, for love is the very essence of God. " Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:7-8)

The invisible essence of God comes into the visible realm through those who know God and love like God loves. God's love has no boundaries; it is limitless! Humanity's love is very limited; it loves self and those who add to its own self-worth. God does not call that love. His definition of love is found in 1 Cor. 13:4-7. " Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things; believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things ." Human love cannot meet God's standard. God's love can only become ours in the Holy Spirit! Exemplifying this love proves that we know God, and it makes God known to the world.

Love comes from God! We cannot receive it from any other source. The Adam man cannot receive it because he is dead to spiritual things. Only those who are born of God have love. Without knowing love we cannot know God. The two are intertwined for they are one. Therefore love is the distinguishing characteristic of God's children.

Loving God also causes us to be known by God. We often feel that we know some important television stars or public personalities, but they don't know us. They have no idea that we exist. "But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him." (1 Cor. 8:3) Love brings us into a relationship with God, for here GINOSKO "indicates a relationship between the person knowing and the object known, and what is known is of value or importance to the one who knows, and this establishes a relationship." (Vines) Relationship needs a common interest, a common goal or a common pursuit - something that connects them. Since God's intrinsic being is love, a relationship with Him has to have love as its foundation. God takes notice of those who love Him. The depth of love between two people establishes the depth of relationship. The depth of God's love for us is beyond our comprehension, so the depth of our relationship with God depends on how much we love Him.

Knowing the love of Christ is greater than knowledge. Paul wrote, " And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." (Eph. 3:19) When we are filled with the love of God we are filled with the very essence of God, for God is love! His love is not a permissive and doting love. That type of love would not be good for us. His love for righteousness excludes all unrighteousness. God loves us and wants the very best for us. To become like Him is His goal for us, and He knows how to achieve this goal!

The knowledge of God is the knowledge of truth, and there are many benefits in knowing and believing the truth. It is very obvious that believing the truth frees us from our bondage to the lies of the devil. Since Jesus is the truth, our faith must have its roots in Him. " So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, `If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. '"(Jn. 8:31-32)

Truth is of vital importance to all believers. This knowledge includes an appreciation of knowing God, for without appreciation there is no true knowledge of God. True knowledge of God cannot be obtained by our intellect, for through it we can only know about God, and there is a big difference between knowing about someone, and actually knowing this person. To know God we have to continue in His word - hear His word and obey it. This brings us into an experiential knowledge of Him.

Knowing Him comes by the operation of the Holy Spirit, for He has to reveal Him to us. In Eph. 1:17 Paul prays that we may grow in the revelation knowledge of Jesus Christ. Revelation knowledge comes to us by the Spirit, not by mental gymnastics. There is always room for growth in spiritual knowledge. Peter also emphasizes growth in 2 Peter 3:18, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Jesus Christ is the truth, and His words are spirit and are life. So only that which has its source in Him can be truth. Knowing Christ is the only way we can know truth. Knowing Him requires an intimate relationship with Him. If we continue to live in this relationship of hearing His words and obeying them, we are true followers of His.

Jesus always leads us into truth, and truth does away with lies just as light does away with darkness. Lies have no foundation, whereas truth has foundation. Truth frees us from our wrong thoughts and ideas about God, and teaches us what our true identity in Christ is; it also frees us from the wrong ideas received from worldly and legalistic teaching. Truth brings us into freedom from the devil's lies. God wants us to KNOW truth!

Knowing God takes us out of our bondage to the Law and the many philosophies of humanistic thinking. " But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again ?" (Gal. 4:9) Here the knowing suggests approval or being approved. In the past, the Galatian church had come to know God, and had therefore been approved by Him. They had come to know the freedom that accompanies truth. So Paul asked them why they wanted to be enslaved again by worthless human philosophy.

Knowing God brings the intimacy of union. To know (GINOSKO), when used as a verb, conveys the thought of union, as between man and woman. Joseph did not have a sexual relationship with Mary, "but kept her a virgin" (GINOSKO - "knew her not" - KJV) " until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus." (Matt. 1:25) What a high calling is ours in Christ! The only true God - the great and mighty God who created the universe and has all power - desires an intimate relationship with us!

Willingness to do the Father's will is of utmost importance, for only in obedience can we know truth. If we are not willing to do His will, we will disregard what He tells us. We may even argue against the truth. Jesus said, " If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself." (John 7:17) Those who want to remain in the philosophies and traditions spawned by the natural mind will never receive truth. A closed mind will not receive knowledge. Therefore a willingness to do God's will proves that we are willing to learn. There is a big difference between our will and God's will. The realization that our own will cannot achieve God's will makes us open to hearing from God.

To KNOW whether a teaching comes from God, we have to lay aside our preconceived ideas and our own agenda, and listen to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Only He can lead us into all truth.

Obedience to the Father's directives causes us to become witnesses of our love for God. Our obedience cannot be motivated by fear of reprisal or punishment, for that would not portray God correctly. To be a witness we have to exemplify the Father's nature. How can they know the Father's love if our life does not reveal the Father's love? If we are not willing to love and forgive as Jesus did? " But so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me." (John 14:31) It is our obedience to the Father's directives that proves our love for our Father God. Jesus proved His love for His Father by being willing to suffer and to lay down His soul for a lost humanity. Jesus knew that this was God's purpose for Him. By taking away sin He fulfilled His Father's will. He did this out of His love for the Father and for us. Our willingness to do the Father's will displays to the world our love for our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

It's important for us to know what is ours in our identification with Christ, and that our old self was crucified with Christ. " Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin." (Rom. 6:6) Young's translation says that the body of sin is made useless, for we are no longer serving sin.

Unless we know that we have been freed from our old self (our body of sin), we will believe that we are still bound to our old sinful self. It grieves me to say that so many Christians think that they are still slaves to sin. They do not believe that their new birth has made them a new creation - a creation that is not sinful. They still call themselves sinners, and say that heaven and hell will be full of sinners.

"Our old self was crucified with Him." Christ did not identify with the Adam man. God was His Father, and His life exemplified the Father's nature. In order to be crucified with Christ we too must disown our identity with the Adam man - the man that sins. Adam cannot obey the word of God. " For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace ." (Rom. 8:5-6) The natural man always rejects the word of God; he enjoys the deeds of the flesh and cannot obey God's word (the truth). Obedience to God's word crucifies the self-life. Obedience necessitates repentance from our identification with the Adam man.

If we do not believe what Christ has done for us, we won't avail ourselves of the power that is actually ours in the Holy Spirit. God does not want us to be ignorant of the greatness of our salvation. If we don't know what is ours, we won't use it. For example, if I don't know what my computer can do, I won't make use of its capabilities. Once I know what it can do, I have to learn how to avail myself of its ability. Once we know what is ours in Christ, we have to learn that it is ours by faith.

As long as we want to see Christ as He was when He walked the dusty roads in Galilee, we don't know Him. Christ is no longer flesh - He is spirit! " Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer ." (2 Cor. 5:16) Seeing Jesus as a man promotes zealousness in trying to be like Him. We will see Him outside of ourselves instead of inside of ourselves, and we won't know our unity with Him. We will try to imitate our hero Jesus instead of letting His life become our life. If we only recognize people according to their external features, we will not discern their spiritual condition. Without this discernment we will either be led astray or miss out on a blessing. Nor do we see ourselves according to the flesh -and that is difficult for us. We need to see ourselves according to who Christ says we are. God wants us to know the true Christ. He no longer has a fleshly body that would limit His activity, nor does He occupy space. God wants us to know this!

God wants His children to know that they are His even while their flesh hides their true identity. " Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is ." (1 John 3:2) Although we cannot physically see who we are in the spirit, we believe the witness God has given us in the scriptures. He tells us that we are new creations, righteous and holy, and that Christ is our life. Christ is the life and the truth, and His words are spirit and are life. He always appears with life-giving words! Knowing truth is knowing Christ! Whenever our spiritual eyes are opened to another aspect of truth, Christ appears to us. The more we function in truth, the more we become like Christ. We need truth to discover the lie. As we grow in truth, we receive the ability to discern the deception that is often imbedded in spiritual words. We become like Him when our walk witnesses to the truth and life that He is.

Knowing Christ includes knowing the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. " That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." (Phil. 3:10) We cannot know Christ without knowing the power of His resurrection. Resurrection is life; and life has power over death and power over sin. There is no death in resurrection, and the power of Christ's resurrection overcomes every area of death in us. It is Christ in us (for He is the resurrection) that enables us to fellowship His sufferings and be conformed to His death to sin.

Spiritual knowledge cannot be obtained by mental gymnastics. Our natural mind cannot grasp or understand the mind of Christ. Its ability is limited to the natural realm. "If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know." (1 Cor. 8:2) Some people have great intellectual ability, and they know a lot about the scriptures, about God, about history, etc., and we all admire their great learning. But mere knowledge cannot get us into the kingdom of heaven; we need to know God! Intellectual knowledge is not revelation knowledge. Intellectual knowledge fans the ego, but revelation knowledge reveals the greatness of our God! Spiritual realities are not learned intellectually; they are received in the spirit. As long as we think we are sufficient in ourselves, we are ignorant and unwilling to learn. To receive true knowledge we have to be humble of heart. The humble recognize their need for truth and are willing to learn.

Since the natural mind cannot understand spiritual realities, we cannot depend on it to interpret the scriptures correctly. " But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation." (2 Peter 1:20) Many falsely think this means that the scriptures have to be interpreted by the clergy, and the clergy then passes the interpretation on to the laity. God does not want a second-hand relationship with His children. This scripture is simply affirming the fact that we need the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures for us because the natural mind has no understanding of spiritual concepts. Christ's words are spirit, and spirit words need spiritual understanding.

Spirit supersedes the natural. The natural man cannot deceive God, for God sees through all the various religious masks that people wear. " Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, `The Lord knows those who are His'." (2 Tim. 2:19) How does he know them? He recognizes those who have been born of Him, for they have His Spirit and His nature, and therefore He can have a relationship with them. An intimate relationship reveals a greater depth of love and understanding of the Father.

In our relationship with the Lord we realize that our spiritual possessions are far superior to our material possessions. " For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. " (Heb. 10:34) Sharing our possessions with the needy brings eternal dividends - dividends that no one can take away from us.

To what degree do we appreciate our spiritual possessions? As long as material possessions possess us, we lack an important aspect of relationship with Christ. Whenever possessions are taken away from us, do we accept this joyfully, grudgingly, or angrily? What causes us more pain: losing some earthly possessions or losing our temper or our love for someone? The way we accept our loss will reveal whether or not we understand the greatness of our eternal spiritual possessions. If we can joyfully accept the seizure of our property, we know that our trust is in the Lord.

In our relationship with the Lord we see the necessity of overcoming trials, and in the process of overcoming we get a greater glimpse of God's power and love. Passing through the trial was difficult, but the strength we gained was worth more than the pain we suffered. " Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." (James 1:2-3)

If we let this truth become life in us, we are going to be a very joyful group of Christians! Instead of chafing at the bit when trials overwhelm us, we will be praising God. Each trial is a testing of our faith, and with each overcoming, greater endurance is produced. Just as athletes grow strong by overcoming resistance, and then rejoice in their strength, so Christians grow strong by overcoming the obstacles that would lure them into self-endeavor, and then rejoice in their deliverance from their old life in Adam.

As long as we are living on planet earth we will face trials. For this reason it is important to know Christ now! The good news is that we don't have to wait until after our physical death to come into this knowledge. John wrote, " I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning ," (1John 2:13-14)

Our Father wants us to know Him in truth. Since He is invisible to our human eyes, we find it difficult to know Him. We may think we know Him when, in actuality we only know things about Him. This substitution automatically takes place in our minds because the carnal mind cannot know Him. In these verses we see that it is possible to know Him while we are living here on planet earth.

Since God is spirit, He can only be known spiritually. Just as we get to know people by speaking to them and discussing various matters and topics with them and working together with them, so we get to know our Father more intimately by having spiritual communion with Him. God's children have been fathered by Him, so they have His DNA. They are a new creation - a spiritual creation. Our new birth gives us spiritual ears to hear Him, and a new heart that desires to do His will. Our depth of intimacy depends on our love for Him and our willingness to learn from Him. Learning involves time in His presence and practice in applying the principles that were taught. The degree of our obedience and submission to His will in difficult circumstances reveals our intimacy with Him.

We can only know the Father in truth. He is not a man that He should lie! Lies can be presented in a false light so that they look like truth. A little lie clothed in truth distorts truth, so it is no longer truth, just like a drop of poison in pure water takes away the purity of the water. No lie is of the truth. " But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth." (1 John 2:20-21)

The Holy Spirit, the anointing, teaches us truth. His teaching is pure and unadulterated! The source from which we receive our teaching is very important. The devil quoted scripture to Jesus in order to lure Him into sinning; he also quotes scriptures to us to lure us into fear, condemnation and unbelief; he gives us a wrong image of God in order to discredit Him. The Holy Spirit only teaches truth, so we can believe His teaching. Truth cannot be bent or adulterated. Even a little lie adulterates the truth. Lies and truth have nothing in common, and do not belong together. They are as different as the east is from the west, and they can never be united.

Truth, light, love and righteousness belong together, while lies, darkness, hate and unrighteousness belong together. These are opposites. All who do not practice love and righteousness are the devil's children. " By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother ." (1 John 3:10)

We may be surprised that the distinguishing features between God's children and the devil's children do not include going to church, participating in Bible studies, reading the Bible from cover to cover every year, witnessing on street corners, giving to the poor, etc. These are all good things, but non-believers can do the same things. So they are not the distinguishing features. However, love and righteousness are distinguishing features because the children of the devil cannot have God's love, nor can they live righteously.

Only those who are drinking from the fountain of life can love their brothers, live righteously, and practice righteousness. " If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him." (1 John 2:29) It is impossible for the natural man to practice righteousness, for he is dead in his trespasses and sins! To practice righteousness means to practice righteousness habitually. The natural man can do some righteous deeds when it suits his promotion of self, but he cannot practice righteousness. Only Christ's life in us has the power to recognize and overcome evil in whatever deceptive form it presents itself to us.

Not only does God want us to know whether or not we have been born of Him, but also whether we are abiding in Him. " By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." (1 John 4:13) He does not give His Spirit to the natural man. Only those who are born from above have His Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit will become evident in them.

The very essence of God is love, so God's children must have love. " We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16) Only as we abide in love will Christ be manifested in us! Love does not accept resentments, bitterness, malice and unforgiveness. It functions in grace and mercy. It is an awesome and solemn truth to know that when we are filled with love, God abides in us and we are in Him.

Love is the motivating force for our obedience to God's commandments. Parents want their children's obedience to be motivated by love and trust - not by fear. If our relationship with our children is wholesome, our children will respect our wisdom, and know that we have their best interests in mind. Knowing God's love for us gives us the confidence that His commandments are for our good. Receiving His life (like the branch receives life from the vine), marks union with Him, and gives us the ability to do His will. "The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him."" (1 John 3:24)

The world does not know God. We know that its idea of God is wrong. If it had known God, it would not have crucified Jesus Christ, the exact representation of the invisible God! Jesus performed miracles and spoke words of life, yet humanity hated Him and crucified Him. The world does not understand love. " See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him . (1 John 3:1) How can the world know God's children if it does not know the Father? It is impossible for the world to know us because it is walking in darkness, and it is blind to spiritual realities.

It is a sad fact that many Christians do not know who they truly are. To remedy this situation, God inspired His apostles to enlighten us. We are to know that we have passed from death into life. " We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life" (PSUCHE = soul) "for us; and we ought to lay down our lives" (PSUCHE = soul) "for the brethren." (1John 3:14-16)

God is love and He is also life. Therefore it is impossible to have life without having love. God's love has been poured into our hearts in the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 5:5) God loved us and gave His Son as a ransom for us so we could receive His life. Love is recognized by our willingness to lay down our own comfort and desires for others. The self-life belongs to the death realm, and the love-life belongs to the life realm.

Truth also dwells in the life realm. Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life. We are to know that God's children are of the truth. " We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things." (1 John 3:19-20)

God has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. He knows us better than we know ourselves. The natural mind uses the law to condemn us, and whenever we listen to that voice we will feel condemned. We need to remember that there is no condemnation in Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, but He does not condemn us. It's important to know the difference! The Holy Spirit is completely trustworthy; He works repentance in us, but He does not condemn us.

God also wants us to know that believing on the Son of God gives us eternal life now. It is a present possession, and our physical death cannot touch that life. "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13) It says that we HAVE eternal life - it does not say that we will get it after we die.

There is a big difference between God's life and human life. Human life has a beginning and an ending, and it is ear-marked by corruption and death. Only God's life is eternal; it has no beginning, no ending, no corruption, and is ear-marked by goodness and love. Without His life we remain dead in our trespasses and sins. Only in union with God can we have eternal life, and His life overcomes death, for life is stronger than death.

Our God is able to accomplish His will. For this reason we say that He is omnipotent. He has the power to answer our prayers, and we have the assurance that He will answer those prayers that are according to His will. " This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him ." (1 John 5:14-15)

God never changes; He only does His will. Therefore every prayer that is in accord with His will, will be answered! God wants us to know this and have confidence that He has the power to do His will!

God wants us to know that we are from Him, and that this knowledge brings us listening ears and a discerning heart. " We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. " ( 1 John 4:6)

We may have often wondered how we can differentiate between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Here we have the answer. Obedience to the teaching of the apostles comes from the spirit of truth, and disobedience to their teaching from the spirit of error. People can mislead us with their words, and give us the impression that they know God, but if their lives tell a different story, we know that the spirit of truth is not in them.

We also know that only God's Spirit confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world ." (1 John 4:2-3)

In John 1 we read that the "word was made (became) flesh and dwelt among us". This does not only refer to the birth and life of Jesus Christ, but also to His life becoming flesh in us. Jesus Christ has come into our flesh. To confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh means that Christ is now in us, and He is living His life through us. Our spiritual walk is to be a confession of Christ's life in us!

The spirit of the antichrist comes to us through the natural mind, for it is antichrist! The flesh is always against the Spirit, and the Spirit is always against the flesh. (Gal. 5:17) Our warfare is against the mind of flesh. To be antichrist does not necessarily mean being anti Jesus. The antichrist spirit is against the anointing, for Christ means anointing. It is the anointing that gives us the power to be witnesses and to live the Christ life. Unbelievers can mouth the words and say that Jesus has come in the flesh, but they cannot live the life. It is the anointing that characterizes the believers.

God wants us to take inventory of all that we have in Christ. " Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so, consider" (take inventory) "yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 6:9-11)

Our identification with Christ needs to be complete. Christ's obedience to God's will during every trial and temptation brought victory over the complete body of sin. His obedience during the torture of crucifixion brought the final blow to the body of sin, and it was put away forever in His death and burial. It is great to know that death cannot be resurrected, but that we can be resurrected out of death! Life does away with death, and our life in Christ makes us a new creation. In our union with Christ we too have died to sin, and our bondage to sin has been taken away. Trying to die to self is self-effort. Our life in Christ consists of faith in what He has accomplished.

" We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of" ("power of" is not in the Greek) " the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. " (1 John 5:18-20)

One of the questions that continually bothers us is the sin question. We are well acquainted with our faults and failings, and we long for perfection. When we read that no one who is born of God sins, we may wonder if we have been born again. Are we still sinners after we have been born again? If the new birth does not bring us into a new realm, the symbolism of birth is nullified. Let's see what the Spirit of God teaches.

"No one who is born of God sins." Have we been born of God? Do we never sin? In I John 1:10 it says, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." God emphatically declares that " All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) If we say we have never sinned, we reject God's verdict of us. The good news is that our new birth takes us out of the Adam man who sins, and puts us into Christ, the man who does not sin. Our new life is lived in union with Christ, and His life in us does not sin.

It also says, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8) Since John is the writer of these verses, we know that a spiritual understanding of them will bring unity, not division. If we say that we have no sin, it means that the flesh, in which sin dwells, has been done away with. Sin originates in the lusting of our fleshly desires. We still need to be on guard and watchful against unholy desires. We have not as yet reached our goal. Since our carnal mind is always against the Spirit, we know that sin dwells in that mind. This shows us that the carnal mind can never make right choices, and emphasizes the importance of constantly abiding in Christ, listening to His voice and obeying Him.

Jesus Christ came for the express purpose of taking away sins. " You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him ." (1 John 3:5-6)

What a statement! "No one who sins has seen Him or knows Him." This almost makes us doubt that we have been born again, and we wonder how we can ever live a sinless life. Since we don't believe that it is possible to live a sinless life while we are on planet earth, we say that our sinlessness only becomes effective after we die. We strongly agree with the verse that states that all have sinned, and that if we don't agree, we are liars and the truth is not in us. Have we two different concepts here, and if so, do they contradict each other? To say that we don't know Him because we still sin, causes us to doubt that we are truly born from above.

Romans 7 gives us some light on this subject. There Paul explains that it is the sin in the flesh that brings forth sin, and he no longer identifies with being in the flesh. He identifies with who he is in Christ. Paul wants us to have the same identification, for he said, " Christ in you, the hope of glory". (Col. 1:27) The new creation man, born from above, born of the Spirit, is perfect, for he has been born of an incorruptible seed. An incorruptible seed cannot produce anything that is corruptible. But the renewing of our mind is a process; it does not happen in a moment of time. Whenever we listen to that mind of unbelief, the sin in the flesh will surface. This emphasizes the importance of abiding in Christ. In Him is no sin, and the obedience of faith takes us out of our bondage to the flesh. Jesus came for the express purpose of taking away sin, and we are so thankful that He is able to accomplish whatever He purposes!

Knowing these things opens the way for intimacy with our Lord! We are no longer satisfied with hearing things about Him; we want to know Him! We want to live in His presence and behold His glory! " But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit ." (2 Cor. 3:18)

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