THERE IS NO WAY to overemphasize the importance of knowledge in our lives. Knowledge is power, so the saying goes, which is why many people aspire for it. And throughout history, it is the unrelenting pursuit of knowledge that has brought progress to man. A great portion of knowledge an wisdom has been transmitted in various institutions of learning. Some have been discovered through efforts and experimentation of persistent people. Although much of the knowledge discovered and acquired by man has contributed greatly to his welfare and progress, not all kinds of knowledge are beneficial to man. There are some that result in the destruction of lives and properties.
On the other hand, there is this kind of knowledge that is far more important and beneficial than any worldly knowledge. This is what we should seek and aspire for However, this knowledge cannot be learned in school and one’s intelligence is not a guarantee to enable him to know and understand it. Apostle Paul enlightens us:
“And how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Jesus Christ [that is, through the learning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. Every scripture is God-breathed–Given by His inspiration–and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness [that is, in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action].” (II Tim. 3:15-16, Amplified Bible)
Knowledge of the sacred writings or the Holy Scriptures can give us the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus. This makes such knowledge different and unique from any worldly knowledge man has and can acquire. Although the knowledge that is learned and acquired from educational institutions may bring progress and make life easier for man, this cannot lead him to the salvation of his soul. But this does not mean that anybody can gain right knowledge and understanding of what the Bible teaches concerning God and salvation. The Bible is not like any ordinary book that can be easily understood by anyone who knows how to read. Apostle Paul teaches in I Corinthians 2:6-7:
“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, or the rulers of this age, who care coming to nothing. But we speak of the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages of our glory.” (New King James Version)
Right understanding of God’s wisdom cannot be gained by just reading the Bible for this is hidden in mystery as has been ordained by God.
Unraveling the mystery
Although God’s wisdom and knowledge contained in the Holy Scripture is hidden in mystery, this can be unraveled and understood for the welfare of man’s soul. For us to understand and benefit from this, the Apostle Paul gives us this guide in I Corinthians 2:11-12:
“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (Ibid.)
Apostle Paul has made it clear that no one knows the things of God except His Spirit. Thus, only those who have received the Spirit of God can understand and explain His wisdom and knowledge which He has hidden in mystery. Only they can unravel and reveal to us the mystery of our Lord God for our own benefit. And indeed, there are people who have been given and have received the Spirit of God and, thus, have understood and are able to explain the words of God, although it is hidden in mystery. Foremost among them is our Lord Jesus Christ:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18, Ibid.)
Our Lord Jesus Christ was sent by God. He received the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit, hence, He was able to understand and preach the Gospel, which He is during His ministry here on earth. Thus, the messenger of God, inasmuch as He has the Spirit of God, can understand and preach the Gospel. He is the one who can explain the mystery of God’s knowledge and wisdom. No wonder the inspired preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ elicited awe and amazement from the people, particularly the Jews. John 7:15-16 narrates the following:
“The Jews were amazed and asked, ‘How did this man get such learning without having studied?’ Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me’.” (New International Version)
The Lord Jesus did not learn or get His knowledge of God’s words from the learning institutions of this world. So although He did not undergo formal education from any school, He was able to preach and explain God’s words by virtue of His commissioning. The same could be said of the other messengers of God, for instance the apostles. Inasmuch as they learned from our Lord Jesus Christ and they, too, received the Holy Spirit from God (John 20:21-22), their preaching also elicited like response and reactions from those who heard him preach. Recorded in the book of Acts is this:
“They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: ‘By what power or what name did you do this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.” Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved’. When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:7-13, NIV)
Not based on man’s understanding
Knowledge of God’s words that gives one understanding for salvation is not based upon man’s own wisdom as proven in the aforementioned cases. It is not gained through persistent studies and having doctoral degrees from theological schools. As Apostle Paul state, “Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7, NKJV).
One’s educational attainment, however high it is, does not guarantee that a person can already understand God’s teachings and can preach the pure gospel. “And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Apostle Paul asks rhetorically (Rom. 10:15, Ibid.).Therefore, one needs to be a messenger o f God to be able to preach His words. This does not mean, however, that no one among the messengers of God was schooled or educated. This is proven by Apostle Paul, no doubt a messenger of God, when he said of himself in Acts 22:3: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today” (New American Standard Bible).
Apostle Paul was educated and learned, having had formal education but he did not preach based on human wisdom. He did not use his worldly education as basis of his authority to preach and in converting people to Christ. In Galatians 1:11-12, he said:
“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (NKJV)
Apostle Paul testified that the gospel he preached was not according to man but he received it from God through the revelation of Jesus Christ. His authority to preach was given to him by our Lord God. And being one of the true messengers of God, he was able to preach and explain His words that would lead man to salvation. Thus, for man to gain knowledge and understanding concerning God and to receive salvation from whom should he seek such knowledge? In the book of Malachi 2:7, the Bible teaches this:
“It is the duty of priests [Jewish Priesthood] to teach the true knowledge of God. People should go to them to learn my will, because they are the messengers of the LORD Almighty.” (Today’s English Version)
If man wants to gain true knowledge about God and to learn His will that he must follow in order for him to attain salvation, he must seek such knowledge from the messenger of our Lord God. Listening to the preaching of God’s messenger is very important, for it is from the messenger that one can gain the true and right knowledge concerning God. Such knowledge, if he accepts and believes, can assure him of eternal life.
The knowledge to eternal life
What then is the true knowledge concerning God taught by His messengers that will lead man to eternal life or salvation? Cited earlier was Malachi 2:7 and verse 10 of that same chapter says the following:
“Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?” (Mal. 2:10, NIV)
The Prophet Malachi, one of God’s messengers, taught clearly that the Father is the one God who created us. This is the true knowledge concerning God taught since the time of His early messengers, a teaching that has endured up to the time of the Christian Era as testified to by Apostle Paul, another messenger of God: “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (I Cor. 8:6, Ibid.).
And why did Apostle Paul say that “for us,” referring to the Christians, to whom he wrote this epistle, “there is but one God, the Father?” Because for others, this is not the knowledge that they have known about God: “But not everyone knows this” (I Cor. 8:7, Ibid.), Apostle Paul said further. That’s why there are those who teach that, aside from the Father, who is the true God, there is also God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. But this teaching is unbiblical. The Bible, the book that contains God’s revealed knowledge and wisdom, teaches clearly that the Father alone is the true God. This is the knowledge concerning God taught by His messengers and learned by the true Christians. This is also the same knowledge about God that the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest of God’s messengers, taught:
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, an said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, … And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent’.” (John 17:1,3, NKJV)
In teaching that the Father alone is the true God, Christ did not teach that He Himself and the Holy Spirit are Gods. And how important is it to possess such knowledge about God? Christ emphasized that this is the knowledge that will lead to eternal life. This is the knowledge that all people must seek and know, which only the genuine messengers of God have been able to teach throughout history.
By RUBEN D. AROMIN
Source: God’s Message Magazine