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The Knowledge of Life

How can a human being know and experience God? In 1 Peter 1:8 the apostle Peter spoke of our loving Jesus Christ whom we have not seen. Of course, Peter had seen and known the Lord Jesus personally during His human life, but the believers he was writing to had never seen the Lord Jesus and yet they loved Him, not as a past martyr but as a living person. You certainly cannot love someone you do not know, so this verse presents a seeming contradiction, they loved Jesus but they had never seen Him, that is, they knew intimately a person that they had never seen. How can this be?

In the Old Testament God too was mostly experienced and loved in an unseen way, only appearing physically on rare occasions to certain people, such as Abraham by the oaks of Mamre (Gen. 35) or in dreams, such as to the prophet Daniel (Dan. 7). From time-to-time God’s people would also experience the Spirit of Jehovah coming upon them (i.e., Judg. 3:10; 1 Sam. 16:14). However, the more common experience in the Old Testament was for people to know God by faith through calling on the Lord (Gen. 4:26), praying, praising, psalming, offering sacrifices, and meditating and musing on the Word. Is our New Testament knowing of God just a continuation of the Old Testament way of knowing God, or is there something fundamentally different in our experience of God today?

The book The Knowledge of Life shows that there is indeed a great difference. In the Old Testament God was always outside of man, but in the New Testament God has come to be life to man. The first chapter asks the fundamental question, “What is life?” In this chapter we see:

  • only the life of God is life
  • life is the flowing out of God
  • life is the content of God
  • life is God Himself
  • life is Christ
  • life is the Holy Spirit

Having identified what life is, the second chapter asks, “What is the experience of life?” In this chapter we see that the experience of life is:

  • the experience of God
  • the experience of Christ
    • Christ being revealed in us (Gal. 1:16)
    • Christ living in us (2:20)
    • Christ being formed in us (4:19)
    • Christ being magnified in our body (Phil. 1:20-21)
    • our being full of the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13)
    • our being transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18)
  • the experience of the Holy Spirit.

In other words, the experience of life is the experience of the Triune God in a most personal and intimate way as our very life.

The following two chapters address the matter of regeneration, that is, of our being born of the divine life. These two chapters give us a profound appreciation of what happens when a person hears the gospel and through faith receives Jesus Christ. When a person receives Jesus, that person becomes a child of God (John 1:12-13), a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), and is united with God as one (1 Cor. 6:17). The ensuing chapters then take us through the Scriptures presenting in a clear way how we can go on to enter into a rich, profound, and practical experience of God as life in our day-to-day living. This book has helped many believers to go beyond a mostly Old Testament experience of God to a truly New Testament experience of God as life.

Book Spotlight - The Knowledge of Life

All kinds of life in the universe, whether of angel, man, animal or plant, are mortal and changeable; hence, they are not eternal. They do not have the nature of God, nor are they divine. Only the life of God has the nature of God; therefore, it is divine and eternal, immortal and unchangeable, impossible to be held by death, and indestructible (Acts 2:24; Heb. 7:16). No matter what kind of blow or destruction it undergoes, it remains unchanged and stays forever the same. In the universe, beside the life of God, no other life can be such. Therefore, from the standpoint of eternity, only the life of God is life. It not only has the name of life but also the reality of life, and thus, it completely fulfills the meaning of life. Other lives are only life in name, not in reality; thus, they are unable to meet the criteria of immortality and unchangeability of life and cannot be considered as life. Hence, according to the divine and eternal nature of the life of God, God’s life is the unique life in the universe. Because the life of God is the unique life, whenever the New Testament in the original Greek speaks of this life, it always uses the word zoe, which refers to the highest life (John 1:4; 1 John 1:2; 5:12; etc.). Beside this, the original text of the New Testament also uses (1) bios to speak of the life of the flesh (Luke 8:43; 21:4; etc.), and (2) psuche to speak of the soul-life or the natural life of man (Matt. 16:25-26; Luke 9:24; etc.).

(The Knowledge of Life, pg. 11)

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A story from a person who was once told that "You need another life!" Find out what this means and how to receive the life of God.

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The Greater Law

In Romans 7 & 8 Paul presents a complete analysis of his experience as a believer trying to live the Christian life. What is presented is knowledge for us to apply in our lives, yet many fall short of living this out on a consistent basis. We have the key given to us but we need help to know, see, apply, and live it out.

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