"Knowing" The Lord
Ever so often, especially after a sermon on the necessity of obedience, someone will comment: "The important thing is to know the Lord." I get the impression that they are not too concerned about the details-- such as, specifically what the Lord taught, or what I must do to be acceptable, or divinely appointed characteristics of the church and its work-- but I "must know the Lord."
Now "know" has a wide usage, in English and in the Bible. It may mean "to recognize" "distinguish as valid, or as a fact" "be skilled in or have practical knowledge of-- as "know his business" "be familiar with-- even sexual intercourse" (Matt. 1:25) or to "enter into relation with" and a host of other uses. This last usage is of particular importance, for it is this "knowing" and "being known" that will determine our eternal destiny.
When Jesus said (Matt. 7:23) "I never knew you" he obviously meant "I have never been in an approved relation with you"; hence, "depart from me:" Here is the "knowing" we desire; i.e., the approved relationship: to know Christ in this way, and to be known of Him.
Two words are used in the Greek to say "know": oida, meaning to perceive, and ginosko, to take knowledge. When Jesus washed the disciple's feet He told Peter, "What I do thou knowest not now" (you know I'm washing feet, but you do not perceive the point) "but thou shalt know hereafter." (You will have a more full knowledge, will progress in knowledge.) The many fine points of these two Words we can not here discuss, but we note that it is ginosko that pictures the active relation between the one who knows and the person or thing known. (See Vine)
John says (1 Jn. 2:3) we can "know that we know Him if we keep His commandments." (Emphasis mine, in all.rt) Vs.4 says, "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." Then the "perfectness" of knowing God -- meaning "mature" "full-growness" -- is impressed upon us by the next two verses: "But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereb know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked."
The epistles of John are rich with the use of "know" as descriptive of an acceptable relation with God. But nowhere does John teach the modern "experiential" kind of "knowing" by which many today seek to replace the importance of specific obedience. Crying "legalism" from dawn to dusk will not change the Holy Spirit's message through John. Doesn't it seem strange that those who talk most about the Holy Spirit seem to pay the least attention to what the Spirit says??
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him." (1 Jn. 3:18-19)
To know God is to walk in His ways, partake of His nature, put on His image, all of which involves obedience.