Let’s start with Peter’s confession we saw in the previous post.
“…But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matt. 16:13-18)
That is the essential of our Christian faith, and on that foundation Jesus will build his congregation.
We have placed our faith in him, on that foundation. We strive to follow him as our Lord and Savior. We love him and are devoted to him, praise and honor him, and seek to adhere to his teachings by walking in his steps. We are therefore saved by grace* (Eph. 2:8-10), belong to him (Rom. 1:6), and are children of God (1 John 5:1). We are family, brothers and sisters together—and with Jesus (Rom. 8:14-18).
* saved meaning having been given life in the age to come, eternal life is based upon nothing additional to believing that Jesus is the Messiah and God’s son. (John 20:31)
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3
What does it mean to know God and Jesus? For the Greek mind it was a intellectual endeavor of being aware of pertinent facts and understanding particular truths about God. I must have Greek blood because that was so me.
To the Jewish mind it was more than having the facts, it is also highly relational and experiential. One gets a sense of this when you remember that the bible refers to the intimacy between husband and wife as knowing – “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived”.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8
To know God is subjective and personal, one has an appreciation of his personal attributes and qualities—his heart, mind, and will.
My desire is to know God in this way, to be like him in the way he thinks, to share his desires and to live up to his wishes for me.
The things I have learned about Christianity is non-essential, “We all possess knowledge. But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God. 1 Cor. 8:1-3
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” 1 Cor. 13:2
In the same way I want to know Jesus. His core being and character is love (1 Cor. 13:4-8). When asked what the first and greatest commandment is which is the foundation of all scripture (upon which “all the Law and Prophets hang”):
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind – this is the great and foremost commandment, and there is a second like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. Matt. 22:37-40
Thank you for following me on my journey.