All Saved Believers Know God And Christ To Some Degree

One common belief which is an offshoot of the easy believism “gospel” and its adulterous sister called abused grace, is the idea many born-again Christians do not know God at all at present and will only come to know Him once they mature in Christ. In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, Paul stresses that the Lord Jesus will eternally punish all who do not know God: “…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

In Galatians 4:8-9, Paul told all the Galatian believers they now know God but previously in their unconverted state they did not know Him: “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God…” In the original Greek, the word “now” in verse 9 above is “nun” which means “now, at the present time, of the immediate present”. [1] Also note the usages of “you” in verses 8 and 9 are all plural. This means Paul was referring to all the Galatian believers including the more carnal, less spiritual ones.

John 14:17, 1 Corinthians 1:21 and 1 John 3:1 show unbelievers do not know God. John 1:10 and 8:19 reveal the unsaved do not know Jesus Christ. John 14:17 indicates unbelievers do not know the Holy Spirit. John 14:7 shows those who know Jesus Christ will know the Father also.

In John 17:3, John linked having eternal life to knowing God and Jesus Christ: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Hebrews 8:10-11 prophesies that under the New Covenant, all and not just some Israelite believers would know God: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbour, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.” These verses do not say that just the more spiritually mature Israelite believers under the New Covenant would know God.

Only God is the perfect Judge of who knows Him and Jesus Christ and of who does not. But in a subjective fallible sense, we can have a general idea of who knows God and who does not by the fruit in their lives. 1 John 2:3-4 says: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him”, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 4:7-8 states: “…love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Observe that John uses the perfect tense of the expressions “we know” in his second usage in 1 John 2:3, “I know” in 1 John 2:4 and “has known” in 1 John 3:6. In these verses, the perfect tense refers to a completed action of knowing God or to a state of knowing Him.

We must be very careful not to set ourselves up as absolute judges of which churchgoers know God and which do not. But note church leaders cannot really give their subjective assurance of salvation to those supposed “new converts” who have absolutely no fruit of Jesus Christ in their lives in the weeks and months after their so-called “conversion”.

Romans 1:21 and Acts 19:15 reveal there are forms of knowing God which those who are eternally condemned can have. Romans 1:21 refers to unsaved pagans in ancient times: “…although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Also Titus 1:16 shows religious people can claim to know God in a right way but not really know Him: “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”

2 Timothy 1:12 shows Paul already knew Jesus Christ when he said: “I know whom I have believed.” But note in Philippians 3:8-10, Paul indicates that he wanted to know Christ in an ongoing sense also. Even though saved believers know God, they should desire to know Him more fully and with much greater intimacy.


Bible Study Question


1.       What does the New Testament teach about the relationship between knowing God and Christ and being saved?




[1] Ibid, page 545.



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