But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
(Galatians 4:9 NIV)
I read this verse last week or so and dwelt on it for a moment, particularly the part that says, “but now that you know God—or rather are known by God”. To know God and to be known by God are vastly different. Many people know God, but are they known by God?
This may sound like an odd question because if God is omniscience, then how could anyone be unknown by Him? God knows all His creations. The old song says, 'His eyes are on the sparrow'. Indeed, God knows all and sees all.
So, why would Paul say “now you are known by God” as if the Galatians weren’t known by Him before? Well, let’s make it personal. I am sure there are many people who know you. Former classmates, teachers, former co-workers, new co-workers, family, friends, etc. But how many of those people really know you?
Not the polished version of you that you display to the public. I’m talking about the you that your mother knows, the you that your siblings know, the you that your spouse and closest friends know. Most people don’t intimately know you, do they?
Likewise, many people know of God, but they neither intimately know Him nor are they known by Him. Paul stated that those who were known by God are those who turned towards Christ and away from the spiritual forces of the world. Those who were known by God exchanged the bondage of sin for the adoption to sonship in Christ Jesus (Galatians 4).
Before the Galatians accepted Christ, they only knew of God. They had yet to be known by God. It was only through the adoption (Gentiles given access to God through Christ) that they became known by God.
What does that mean for us? It means the same thing it did for the Galatians. Until we are adopted into God’s family by way of accepting Jesus as Lord and walking in obedience, we are not known or acknowledge by God. Please take heed to what Jesus said in Matthew 7:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 NIV)
Mercy me! There will be people who will proclaim that they knew God and acted on His behalf. Yet, will He say to some “I never knew you.” Isn’t this further proof that we can think we know God but undoubtedly be unknown by God?
I can’t have that. I can’t have God tell me that He doesn’t know me. I need to know God and I need God to know me. So, how do I ensure that? How do I make sure that He says to me well done my good and faithful servant at the end of life? How am I adopted into Christ?
First, I must hear the gospel preached or taught (Romans 10:14)—the gospel meaning the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins so that we may have access to God and heaven. Once you hear the gospel you must believe the gospel. If we believe the gospel that is taught, we then confess our sins (Mark 1:15). We are then baptized into Christ Jesus (Romans 6:4). After we are baptized, we must run this race in obedience according to God’s will until He calls us home.
Do all you can to know God and to be known by God. Learn of Him by reading the Bible. Learn of His ways, His will, His commands and walk in them. Pray that He orders your steps and reveal to you those things that are not like Him in you. Hold on to your faith in the good times and in the bad.
It won’t always be easy. Sometimes questions go unanswered. Pain and pressure are prevalent, and we don’t understand why God won’t make it go away. Trials can absolutely test your faith. Above anything else, our faith is constantly under attack, from both Satan and our own doubts. But at the end of the day faith is all we have (Hebrews 11:6).
So, I pray that your faith deepens and remains steadfast. I pray that you not only know God but are known by God. Know that you are not alone in this race. There are others striving to follow and obey God along with you. Yet, God will judge us all individually. The ending judgement will either be “well done” or “I never knew you”. Let’s do all that we can, even if to the point of exhaustion, to get a “well done”.
That’s all I have you guys. I pray you have a blessed day and week in Jesus’s name. ‘Til next time, take care.
Quin Arrington's debut book "And Then You Shall Have Good Success: Attaining Good Success God's Way" is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook format. Links listed below: