What does it mean to know God?
The answer to this question is essential to our daily lives. When we do not know who God is according to Scripture, we experience a diminishment of our sense of His majesty that affects our relationship with Him. Our tendency is to pick and choose the bits and pieces we like about Him and ignore the best. To do so, however, is to our detriment. Studying the attributes of God restores a right sense of awe and joy.
The Majesty of God
Obeying God requires both fear and trust. We know that God is close to us; He is good and gracious, the Lover of our souls. He knows us intimately, and so we can trust Him. But we tend to ignore the fear of God, which is recognizing His majesty and standing in awe of His holiness. Such an ignorance results in a diminishment of our vision of who He is.
God is both immanent and transcendent. We need the whole picture of God, not a “scissors-and-paste job” in which we cut out the uncomfortable pieces and partake of “text management.” If we’re not careful, we will be pursuing the God we want more than the God who is. Our theology will be warped as we redefine God in our own cultural image. But this is not the God and Father of the Bible, and, as a result, we will not be able to obey Him.
Our Idea About God
In The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer writes,
That our idea of God corresponds as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little consequence. Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is.
Viewing God rightly is essential to our walk with Him. A common tendency is to view Him as a kind of cosmic vending machine—say or do the right things, and God will give you exactly what you want. The idea is that you “name it and claim it,” seeing God for what you can get out of Him rather than worshiping Him for who He is. We no longer worship the living God but a god of our own creation. As a result, such ideas are dangerous and lead us to wrong answers for the questions of who we are, why we are here, and where we are going.
Either the Word or the world will define us. Knowing God will reveal the truth of our identity, our purpose, and our hope. In order to know Him, let us look to His world (creation), His Word, His works, and His ways.
This study is based on A. W. Tozer’s book The Knowledge of the Holy and J. I. Packer’s Knowing God.