Eight Ingredients of a Christian’s Knowledge of God

In listening to various pundits in the culture, the nonsense they promote echoes from the Enlightenment period that anything of faith is irrational, but anything of reason is the only rationality worth pursuing.  Most have rejected this on other fronts, but this still remains for many in our culture when they look to Christianity.

The fact is, Christ is the treasure of all wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), so we realize that his call to love with our mind as well as our heart and soul (Matthew 22:37-40) and that we must be taught his ways (Psalm 25:4-5) means that the will and emotions as well as the mind are engaged in the Christian walk.

Thomas Watson gives eight ingredients to a Christian’s knowledge, as taught to him by God.  The Puritans provided an introspection that is helpful in our day.  But regardless of the time, to love God and to obey God means that we know him.  Watson brings a helpful illustration:  “There is a great difference between one who has read of a country, or viewed it on the map, and another who has lived in the country, and tasted its fruits and spices.”  May we taste and see that the Lord is indeed good!

  1. It is a grounded knowledge.  “It is not believing as the church believes, but this knowledge rests upon a double basis:  the Word and the Spirit.  The one is a guide, the other a witness.  Such knowledge is not changeable or doubtful, but has a certainty to it.  ‘We believe and are sure that thou art the Christ’ (John 6:69).’  A godly man holds no more than he will die for.  The martyrs were so confirmed in the knowledge of the truth that they would seal it with their blood.”
  2. It is an appreciative knowledge [NOTE: that is, understanding the true value of our Lord in comparison with others].  “The lapidary has the skill to value a jewel is said to know it.  He who esteems God above the glory of heaven and the comforts of earth knows him (Psa. 73:25).  To compare other things to God is to debase deity; as if you should compare the shining of a glow-worm with the sun.”
  3. It is an enlivening knowledge.  ”Knowledge in a natural man’s head is like a torch in a dead man’s hand.  [But] true knowledge enlivens.  … He not only shines by illumination, but he burns by affection.”
  4. It is an appropriating knowledge.  “A medicine is best when it is applied; this applicative knowledge is joyful. . . .  [It is found when] he who rightly applies Christ puts these two together, Jesus and Lord. . . .  He who rightly applies Christ derives virtue from him. . . .  Knowledge which is applicatory has an antipathy against sin, and will not allow the heart to be drawn away from it.”
  5. It is a transforming knowledge.  “As a painter looking at a face draws a face like it in a picture, so looking at Christ in the mirror of the gospel, we are changed to his similitude.  We may look at other objects that are glorious, yet not be made glorious by them. . . .  But this is the excellence of divine knowledge, that it gives us such a sight of Christ as makes us partake of his nature.”
  6. It is a self-emptying knowledge.  “Carnal knowledge makes the head giddy with pride (1 Cor. 8:1, 2).  True knowledge brings a man out of love with himself.  The more he knows, the more he blushes with his own ignorance.”
  7. It is a growing knowledge.  “True knowledge is like the light of the morning, which increases on the horizon until it comes to full meridian.  So sweet is spiritual knowledge that the more a saint knows, the more thirsty he is for knowledge.”
  8. It is a practical knowledge.  “True knowledge not only improves a Christian’s sight, but improves his pace.  It is a reproach to a Christian to live in a contradiction to his knowledge, to know he should be strict and holy, yet to live loosely. . . .  When knowledge and practice, like Castor and Pollux, appear together, then they herald much happiness.”

(Thomas Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture, Banner of Truth Trust, pp. 20-22.)

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