HOW CAN I KNOW GOD?

This is a question many people ask themselves. The question is not just asked by teachers, philosophers, or preachers. It often arises from within, because we are created in the image of our Creator. Have you ever wondered who created the world and the universe and for what purpose? And if there is a creator, can I know Him personally?

People try to find the answer to this question in different ways. Some look at the universe for the answer. However, its greatness and complexity can be overwhelming. We can feel like a speck of dust in a huge cosmic mechanism. Though there is beauty and consistency to the universe, its greatness seems impersonal. Some look at the earth and nature to find answers. We see beauty in our world, but also we see disorder and cruelty. We hear the news about earthquakes, droughts, and tsunamis. Seeing natural disasters and their devastation makes us wonder why they happen and if anything can be done to stop them. Others may look at humanity and civilization to find answers, but these seem just as complex. We wonder why humans can be kind to one another and then again so cruel and hateful. This problem touches our own lives and we feel the effects of it personally. Many look for answers by searching for meaning in various religions, philosophies, and worldviews of which all have different founders and leaders.

If we look to the Bible, starting with the opening chapters of the book of Genesis, we find God’s record of how He created the universe, the earth, and animals. It also describes a special creation of two creatures that would bear the Creator’s image. These two people, named Adam and Eve, were given a place to live with responsibility and accountability to their Creator God. He gave them free range to work the garden and eat of most everything. He only asked that they trust Him by not eating the fruit of a certain tree. This tree was not evil in itself, but God chose to use it to test this man and woman’s trust and reliance in their Creator. It wasn’t long before they were tempted by a creature named Satan. He took advantage of their questions about God’s restriction, leading them to desire to be like God, by ultimately becoming independent of Him.

Being deceived, they decided to eat of the tree that God told them not to eat. The result of their choice was catastrophic. It caused death over the whole creation. First, they personally felt guilty because it brought a separation between God and them. Their own bodies would now be subject to death and the dying process. Next, it brought resistance and even ruin to the human environment. Humans would from that time forward feel pain in their labor and in childbirth. Their relationships would be flawed by exploiting and manipulating one another. These and other affects would be ongoing and serve as a reminder, to everyone thereafter, that there is a basic problem known as sin in our world and in humans. Daily, humans face the consequences of the brokenness of life by choosing to do their own thing without God.

Thankfully, God did more than pronounce judgment on mankind. He proclaimed and provided the solution to bring restoration between the people and Himself. He began to reveal in various ways how He would ultimately provide the solution for us. However, the climax came when God himself entered history through the person of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature… (Hebrews 1:1-3)

He came to earth in a humble way, being born as a baby, growing up, and revealing His identity. He proclaimed that God, His Father, gave Him as a ransom putting Him to death as an innocent person at the hands of guilty people. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was a public display of God’s love for us, by Him becoming our substitute and taking our judgment upon Himself. “He (God) made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God’s love wasn’t mere words, nor was it cheap. His holy and perfect character required Him to demonstrate that His dealing with sin and evil was done justly and yet also mercifully. The cross of Christ met the demands of justice as a ransom, while at the same time offered forgiveness and new life.

“…Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:25-26).

His triumph over death was witnessed by many when He was resurrected from the dead three days after he was crucified, validating His claims to be God and fulfilling His mission to come as Savior of the world.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now….” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

God’s offer of salvation and new life is not based on race, nationality, social, or economic status. It is offered to all people, and it is offered freely, because the saving work is accomplished only through God’s provision. We can do nothing to earn or achieve it on our own. Originally man and woman stepped away from God in order to become independent of Him. In contrast, God’s salvation is our taking a step toward becoming completely dependent on Him and His provision of salvation. It can only be received as a gift because all of this is God’s work. We receive this gift by faith, as a beggar would, with empty and open hands. By rejecting God’s provision, we choose eternal separation from Him.

God’s salvation promises us eternal life. But eternal life is more than you reaching a destination someday. It is about entering into a relationship with God right now where you are, regardless of the condition you are in. There are no degrees or levels we must reach in order to become savable by God. His salvation was accomplished and completed once and for all through Christ.

“…We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10, 14)

Eternal life begins now by experiencing His forgiveness and His saving work in your life. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)

Do you know God? Not just know about Him, but do you know Him personally? If not, His invitation is open to you:

  • First recognize that God took the initiative to demonstrate His love by first loving us (John 3:16).
  • Next, humbly admit to God your fallen condition without Him, and your own self-made independence from Him, and your total inability to help
  • Then by faith…accept God’s provision of salvation from your sins by trusting Christ and His redemptive work on the We are told in the Bible that God’s provision of salvation can only be received by faith. So, like a beggar with empty and open hands, receive God’s forgiveness and new life today.

“But as many as receive Him (Christ) to those who believe on His name, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

Excerpt reprinted with permission: When God Shows Up At Work, Paul Curtas, Copyright 2013.