As you read through the Bible you will come across phrases that seem to repeat themselves. I was reading the book of Joel this morning and came across the following phrase:
And ye shall know that I am the Lord… (Joel 2:27 KJV)
I typed this phrase into a concordance and found that it (and others very similar) appears in the scriptures almost 200 times. This phrase tells us a lot about the God we worship; He wants us to know Him and He wants us to know that He is God.
If you have been to a Christian church more than twice I hope you have heard someone speak about a “personal relationship with Jesus.” The God of the Bible is a God who reveals Himself; He wants a relationship with His creation. Sin separated man from the Creator, but the redemption provided through Jesus reestablishes our relationship with God.
Here are two very familiar Christian questions:
- Do you know the Lord?
- When did you first meet Jesus?
The core of the Bible is the story of humanity’s redemption. From Genesis chapter 3 through the end of Revelation we see God working to return humanity to the relationship that was established in Genesis chapters 1 and 2.
The relationship between God and man is established vicariously through the Lord Jesus Christ. We enter into relationship with God through the New Covenant. We are able to participate in this covenant because of the price that Jesus paid.
You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:24)
The God of the universe sacrificed His Son so that He could know you and me. That is an amazing thought.
The Old Testament is filled with prophetic promises that we will know the Lord:
Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced. (Joel 2:27)
Kings and queens will serve you and care for all your needs. They will bow to the earth before you and lick the dust from your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord. Those who trust in me will never be put to shame. (Isaiah 49:23)
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! (Malachi 3:10)
Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the Lord had not spoken directly to him yet. (1 Samuel 3:7)
For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, (Job 19:25-26)
Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. (Psalm 46:10)
These verses are the communication from God to His people. He over and over proclaims that they will know He is God because of the divine deeds He performs on their behalf. Prophecies are His words of promise to His people. The fulfillment of these prophecies is the manifestation of His divine Lordship to His people. He not only proclaims that He is God to His people, but He proves that He is God by what He does. The greatest attestation to the divine inspiration of scripture has always been and will always be the fulfillment of prophecy. Our God is a God who fulfills what He promises. I like to say that He enjoys showing off. He likes being God and showing the world that He truly is God.
In Jeremiah 31 God begins to describe the change that will take place under the New Covenant:
“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
The knowledge of the Lord will be as a result of direct knowledge and experience. There will be more than knowledge of what a believer of God can see and hear manifested in the world. God declares that there would be knowledge that would exist in the hearts of those in covenant with Him. This is the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament maintains the theme of divine relationship, but the dynamic changes from the Old Testament. It is no longer a prophetic promise of divine knowledge that is communicated but a proclamation of present knowledge. New Testament Christianity is not just a future promise of Heaven but a present real relationship with Almighty God.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, (John 10:14)
I am suffering now because I tell the Good News, but I am not ashamed, because I know Jesus, the One in whom I have believed. And I am sure he is able to protect what he has trusted me with until that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)
Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? (Galatians 4:8-9)
He wants us to know Him. The God of the universe wants to make His home in you and me. “And we will know that He is the Lord.”
Here are some New Testament ways to communicate our Joel 2:27 phrase:
The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. (Ephesians 1:14)
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 5:1-5)
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:14-17)
The New Testament way to know God is to have Him move in. We receive forgiveness and cleansing of our sin through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and as a result the Holy Spirit moves into our lives and bodies.
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” (Acts 2:38-39)
Assurance of salvation (I know this is disputed theological territory) is found through the Holy Spirit. His residence in our lives and bodies (per scripture) is the “guarantee” of our eternal redemption.
He wants you to know Him and He wants you to know He is God.
The Holy Spirit in your life is your connection to heaven. The third person of the eternal Godhead has made you His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19).
New Testament Christianity is based on faith in Jesus Christ. The result of our faith is the redemption of our lives, the rebirth of our spirits and the Holy Spirit of God taking up residence in our life (there are other things too).
If your life has not experienced these things I encourage you to do as Peter proclaimed on Acts 2. Turn away from your sin and trust in Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
If you are a believer may your faith be encouraged by this message. My purpose in writing was to remind you that we serve a God who is active in the earth today and in the lives of His children. He is definitely preparing a place for us to live with Him for eternity, but He is active in our lives in the present tense.
Remember the words of Joel 2:27, “and you will know that I am the Lord.”