Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Today’s Topic: Knowledge
Today’s Text: 2 Peter 1:5 …and to goodness, [add] knowledge;
I know. I wonder how many times each day we say that? But do we really know? What do we think we know? How do we know we know?
The study of philosophy is fascinating to me. Aristotle defined philosophy as the knowledge of truth. But before we can even begin to tackle the subject of truth, we must understand the meaning of knowledge.
Knowledge is the accurate and faithful reflection of reality. Those two adjectives – accurate and faithful – are critical. Our mental image of reality can become distorted by intellectual apathy, emotions, and dysfunctional personality issues such as the human cravings for approval and acceptance. Any one of these things will close our minds to real knowledge and become the territory of Satan who will terrorize us with false beliefs. True knowledge must always result in the knowledge of truth.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy he said, Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20-21) Paul understood that unless our knowledge is the accurate and faithful reflection of reality, it is false and should not even be called knowledge.
Jesus Christ came to earth to bring us true knowledge. John the Baptist’s father, under the power of the Holy Spirit, said that his son would be the prophet that would lead us to the knowledge of salvation by pointing us to Jesus. (Luke 1:77) Jesus declared Himself to be truth in John 14:6 when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” And Paul tells us in Colossians 2:2-3 that all truth is found in Jesus Christ. My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Therefore, it is impossible to have an accurate and faithful reflection of reality unless our knowledge is based on the truth of Jesus Christ. Every other pursuit of knowledge is to be set aside so that the knowledge of Jesus may be the priority of our intellectual pursuits. Paul, one of the most highly educated and respected Jews of his day, said it this way:
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:7-14)
But we must be careful to remember that our knowledge of Jesus is to be added to the already growing existence of goodness. Paul warns us in First Corinthians 8:1 that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. We must not take pride in what we know, but must use it to generate even more love for others and do even more good for them.
Every day our knowledge of Jesus should be growing, and that will happen as you intentionally spend time with Him in prayer and the study of His written revelation of Himself to us. It’s called the Bible. Open it up today with an open mind so that your knowledge becomes an accurate and faithful reflection of reality.