Is It Really Possible to KNOW the Things of God?
Can we KNOW the will of God? Can we KNOW anything about God? Most folks would say, “Well, we can’t KNOW, we can BELIEVE what we think is right, but to KNOW implies settled fact… and isn’t everything that applies to God done by faith?” Well, we certainly approach God by faith in His Son, Jesus, and we have faith toward God. However, does the Bible teach us that we can KNOW?
Yes, it does! Let’s look at some scriptures and see what they say about knowing spiritual truths. Can we KNOW? (By the way, to emphasize the word “KNOW,” I am intentionally bolding and capitalizing “KNOW” for emphasis.)
1 John 5:13 “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”
1 John 5:15 “And if we KNOW that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we KNOW that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (Emphasis is mine.)
Look at these three “KNOWs.” We can KNOW that we have eternal life, not just guess, or hope, or even just believe, we can KNOW!
We can KNOW that God hears us when we pray to Him!
We can KNOW that we have what we have prayed for and received by faith!
And that is just one of many places that says that we can KNOW! For instance, Luke, when he was explaining why he was writing the book that bears his name says:
Luke 1:3 “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,”
Luke 1:4 “That thou mightest KNOW the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” (Again, the emphasis here is mine.)
You can KNOW the certainty of the things that you have been instructed in from the Word of God as well! Notice, not just KNOW, but KNOW the CERTAINTY! That seems to be the very opposite to, “Well, we can’t really KNOW…” or, “Well, you might BELIEVE that is so, but…” No, we can KNOW the CERTAINTY!
Let’s look at other examples:
John 8:32 “And ye shall KNOW the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Emphasis mine.)
Do we KNOW OF the truth, or does it say that we KNOW the truth? Notice that we KNOW the truth, and KNOWING the truth makes us free!
In the parable of the shepherd Jesus said:
John 10:4 “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they KNOW his voice.” (Emphasis mine.)
“His sheep (followers) KNOW His voice. We KNOW the voice of God! “But, Brother Bill,” you might say, “surely we can’t KNOW that we KNOW the voice of God!” What does the Bible teach us here? If we are His sheep, then we KNOW His voice, and verse five continues, “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they KNOW not the voice of strangers.” So, if we are His sheep, we KNOW His voice, and we can distinguish His voice from a stranger’s voice!
The bottom line to all this is that we do KNOW the Spirit of Truth:
Joh 14:17 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye KNOW him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (Emphasis mine.)
We KNOW the Spirit of Truth, for He dwells IN us! God’s Spirit, the teacher of the church (John 14:26) lives within us as believers! How much do we KNOW?
1 John 2:20 “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye KNOW all things.” (Emphasis mine.)
Because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit (the “unction”) we KNOW ALL THINGS! Now THAT is powerful! Don’t sell short what we KNOW as believers! (Emphasis mine.)
1 Corinthians 2:12 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.” (Emphasis mine.)
1 Corinthians 2:13 “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (Emphasis mine.)
1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he KNOW them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (Emphasis mine.)
Because we are believers, because we have the Spirit of truth on the inside of us, we can KNOW the things that are freely given to us by God! The world can’t understand these things, but we can! That is plain from these scriptures!
BUT BROTHER BILL! What about scriptures like:
1 Corinthians 8:2 “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to KNOW.” (Emphasis mine.)
1 Corinthians 13:9 “For we KNOW in part, and we prophesy in part.” (Emphasis mine.)
What do you say to those scriptures? Well, the Word is true…and we don’t KNOW everything that we are going to KNOW when we are in our glorified bodies after the resurrection. We DO now, in this dispensation, only KNOW in part. And we will KNOW more in that day…but, let’s look at it this way, we KNOW enough about some things scientifically to use them effectively, but we don’t KNOW their full depths as of yet. Scientists can split the atom and produce electricity, or make an atom bomb, but they would be the first to say that they don’t understand and KNOW all that there is to KNOW about atomic energy. But, what they KNOW, they KNOW! The part they have learned and can use, they can use. It is the same way with us and spiritual things. What we KNOW, we KNOW! We will learn more, we can KNOW more…but what we KNOW, is still true!
The bottom line is that we have been dwelling too long on “we can’t KNOW the things of God.” When, in fact, He tells us we CAN KNOW the things of God! We won’t KNOW them all in this life necessarily, but what we do KNOW, we KNOW!
One thing we KNOW is His grace:
2 Corinthians 8:9 “For ye KNOW the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (Emphasis mine.)
We KNOW His grace (unmerited favor!) We can rest in that!
Paul prayed that the believers in Ephesus would KNOW the love of Christ:
Ephesians 3:19 “And to KNOW the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Emphasis mine.)
Even though this Love passes nature knowledge, we can KNOW this Love and be filled with all the fullness of God! Paul goes on to say:
Phillipians 3:10a “That I may KNOW him, and the power of his resurrection…” (Emphasis mine.)
We can KNOW God, we can KNOW the power of His resurrection! We can KNOW how to answer every man that we deal with (Col. 4:6) and we are to KNOW those that labor over us, such as pastors and teachers (1 Thess. 5:12) and that are “over us in the Lord” (that is, have authority over us.) Therefore, don’t confess, “I don’t KNOW what church I am to attend!” Rather, confess, “The scripture says that I am to KNOW those that have authority over me, therefore I KNOW what pastor and church I am to join, support, and submit to!”
1 John 2:3 “And hereby we do KNOW that we KNOW him, if we keep his commandments.” (Emphasis mine.)
So, we “KNOW that we KNOW Him,” if we keep His commandments! If we KNOW His Word, and if we keep His Word, then we can KNOW that we KNOW!
1 John 2:5 “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby KNOW we that we are in him.” (Emphasis mine.)
We can KNOW that we are in Him…but notice the key: “Keep His Word! Let the Love of God be perfected in you!”
1 John 3:14 “We KNOW that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (Emphasis mine.)
We KNOW we have passed from death unto life…not guess, not hope, but KNOW!
Now, here’s the bottom line scripture:
1 John 4:6 “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby KNOW we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (Emphasis mine.)
It is possible, and in fact, the norm, for us, as children of God, is to KNOW the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error. To KNOW the difference between them. To hear God’s Voice, but discern the devil’s voice. To KNOW what is right and what is wrong. Yes, we can and do KNOW! So, don’t let anyone tell you that the things of the spirit are “wishy washy,” uncertain, or unknowable. In fact, we CAN and DO KNOW the things that pertain to the Spirit! We CAN and DO KNOW right and wrong, and we do KNOW the things of God, and can, in confidence proclaim them!