Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 8, 1953

Who Knows God?

Quentin A. Dunn, Eldorado, Texas

Nearly everyone in America believes there is a God, and a good many people claim to know Him. But who really knows God? Does the man who says he knows God necessarily know Him? No, this is not sufficient evidence that he knows God, because a man may say that he knows God, and not keep His commandments. He that saith, "I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1 John 2:4) When our love for God is manifested by keeping His commandments, we can be assured that we know God. It is good to have a knowledge of God, yet one must have more than a knowledge of God; one must obey God to truly know Him. "And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." (1 John 2:3) Only those who love God and keep His commandments really know God; the man who says he knows God, and does not keep His commandments does not know God.

Disobedience to God, or not keeping His commandments is manifested in many ways. There is plenty of evidence in the New Testament that Jesus is the Christ, yet many people say that Jesus was a mere man. This is not a new idea; there were people who did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, while He was on earth. Jesus said to the Jews "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24) Jesus was a man; He was flesh and blood, yet He was also divine because He was God's Son. Those who are unwilling to accept what God has said concerning the humanity or divinity of Jesus, do not know God. To believe that Jesus is the Christ, is a command of God, therefore one must believe that Jesus is the Christ before he has any right to say that he knows God. It is possible for a man to believe in Christ to some extent, and still not know God; this is surely true if he looks upon many of the commandments of God as non-essential.

God has commanded all men everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30) To repent means for one to turn completely from the love and practice of his sins. Some people are willing to give up some of their sins but not all of them; this cannot be genuine repentance. The man who continues in his sins does not know God. When a man truly repents, he changes his conduct and turns toward God; repentance is unto salvation. (Acts 11:18) His repentance must lead him to obey the commands that are necessary for him to obey to get into Christ before he really knows God.

Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 10:32) Some believe in Jesus to some extent, but they are afraid to confess Him; such men do not know God. Many men would not confess Jesus while He was on earth because they were afraid, and they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." (John 12:42,43) It is quite obvious that those men did not know God; to confess Christ is a command of God. Confession must be made with the mouth, and confession is unto salvation. (Rom. 10:10) Belief, repentance and confession are unto salvation. One can do these things and still not know God. After he has taken the step that puts him into Christ, he has the right to say he knows God, provided he is willing to keep all of God's commandments.

Many people are not willing to do what God commands them to do to get into Christ. Baptism is the dividing line between the kingdom of darkness, and the kingdom of God's dear Son. Those who say that baptism has nothing to do with salvation remain in darkness and sin. They may have some knowledge of God, but they do not know God because they have not obeyed Him. Galatians 3:27 and Romans 6:3 plainly tell, us that baptism puts us into Christ and into His death. Baptism also saves one from his past sins, and puts him into the Lord's church. (1 Peter 3:21; 1 Cor. 12:13) There is no other way for a sinner to be saved from his past sins; those who contend otherwise do not know God. "Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even we also should walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:4) Paul plainly says that baptism is a burial; this is too plain to be misunderstood. When men practice sprinkling and pouring for baptism, they do not practice it because it is taught in the Bible. Such practices are based upon the teachings of men, and shall be rooted up. (Matt. 15:13)

After a man has been buried with his Lord in baptism, he is raised to walk in newness of life. His walking in newness of life is the real evidence that he knows God. He now has a new motive, a new purpose in life and a new hope. His first consideration is to please God because he loves Him; he manifests his love for Jehovah by keeping His commandments. He can say with full assurance that he knows God, because he loves God and keeps His commandments. God is his helper and friend, and someday this man shall see the Lord. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." (1 John 3:1-3)