BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
The Apostle Paul said, “But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him” (1 Corinthians 8:3 NKJV). The Greek word translated as known in this scripture is ginosko. It means (1) to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel (a) to become known (2) to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of (a) to understand (b) to know (3) Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman (4) to become acquainted with, to know (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). The word ginosko is more than knowledge by acquiring facts but personal, intimate, and experiential knowledge.
For example, Matthew 1:25 says Joseph did not know Mary till she had brought forth her firstborn Son, and he called His name JESUS. That means Joseph did not have sexual relations with Mary, and in the human context, sexual relations take place in the closet, not in the open.
There is a similar usage of “know” for sexual relations in the Old Testament. Genesis 4:25 says, “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth” (NKJV). Genesis 4:17 says, “And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch” (NKJV). The Hebrew word translated as knew is yada, meaning to know, but like ginosko, it is also used for sexual relations.
In the context of Joseph and Mary, ginosko means sexual intimacy, and as used in 1 Corinthians 8:3, it suggests intimacy between God and the lover of God. Does God know you intimately? God knows everybody; there is nothing hidden from Him about anyone. But not everybody has an intimate relationship with Him. So in that sense, He doesn’t know those who don’t have intimacy with Him.
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV). Take note of the phrase “I never knew you.” That means all the while they were busy with supposed spiritual activities, labouring for God, Jesus never knew (ginosko) them.
How sad this could be that all their labour meant nothing to Jesus! They were absorbed or engrossed in their self-serving activities and didn’t bother to do what would make Jesus (God) know them i.e. have an intimate relationship with them. They didn’t bother to know Him so He didn’t know them.
God used to know some people but He doesn’t know them again! They are no longer in communion with God though they could continue to be busy with the ‘work of God’ without fellowship with the God of the work. They used to know God but now they are too busy doing ‘God’s work’ that they don’t know Him!
You must never mistake activities for God’s presence. Busyness for God does not mean He is pleased with you. His presence is not always in the wind, earthquake, or fire but in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12).
Be silent (be still) and know (yada) that He is God! (Psalm 46:10). Do you have time for intimacy with God in your closet? Your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18).
In His reply to a question on if a few people would be saved, Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last” (Luke 13:24-30 NKJV). Did you see that phrase, “I do not know you”?
In this passage, the verb “know”, in Greek, is eido, meaning to see or know by perception. The people who stood outside, knocking at the door, in Luke 13:24-30 thought familiarity with Jesus (the Master of the house) and His ministry – eating and drinking with Him and being aware of His itinerary – was the same as salvation or intimacy with Him. But Jesus doesn’t see such people – He doesn’t know them or where they come from. Church attendance or supporting a ministry financially is not the same as having a personal relationship with Jesus.
Sacrifice is required
After many years of being saved and serving in the vineyard of God, Paul still had a hunger to know Christ. He said, “That I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10a NKJV). Again, the Greek word translated as “know” is ginosko, a word also used for sexual intimacy.
If you read Philippians 3:3-10, you will see that Paul had to make sacrifices so as to be able to know Christ. He had to dump certain credentials that others were celebrating but which he knew would hinder him from knowing Christ.
If you’ll know God and He will know you intimately, you must be ready to forgo certain things – relationships, pleasure, busy schedule, etc.
Develop intimacy with God
Developing intimacy with God will always cost you something. The Bible calls Abraham the friend of God (2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23). But it cost him something.
In Genesis 12:1, God told him to get out of his country and from his family and father’s house to a land that He would show him. Verse 4 says Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him. Do not think it was easy for him. It must have been difficult but it was possible. Abraham did not become the friend of God overnight; it cost him obedience to God in faith.
Abraham departed his country and his family and father’s house when he was seventy-five years old. Twenty-four years later, God asked him to walk before Him and be blameless. Genesis 17:1-2 says, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly’” (NKJV).
Abram fell on his face and God talked with him. Where are you in your walk with God? Are you more intimate with God now than when you started or the reverse is the case? Have you become complacent because it is now ten or twenty years since you started?
I never knew you
Let’s go back to Matthew 7:21-23. I want us to focus on the word “Lord.” According to Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word translated as Lord is kurios, which means supreme in authority or controller. The Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines kurios as someone “to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has the power of deciding; master, lord.”
Those referred to in this scripture called Him “Lord, Lord” but were not submitted to His authority. They merely called Him “Lord, Lord” with their mouth but their hearts were far away from Him, as Jesus said in Matthew 15:7-8, quoting from Isaiah 29:13.
These hypocrites in Matthew 7:21-23 prophesied, cast out devils, and did miracles in the name of the Lord. That means they were not outsiders. They must have had a relationship with the Lord but they practised lawlessness (Matthew 7:23). They were not under His supreme authority; He was not their controller. They did not act as if they belonged to Him and He had the power to make decisions concerning them. He wasn’t their Master or Lord. Therefore, they did whatever they liked. They didn’t do His will but their will. They didn’t cultivate intimacy to know and do His will.
Jesus devoted Himself to doing the will of His Father and obeying His commandments (John 6:38; 4:34; 5:19; 14:31, 15:10; Matthew 26:39). His followers ought to make doing the will of the Father their number one priority. Otherwise, they will be pursuing their selfish agenda. No matter how great the work such people claim to be doing for God, they will still receive from God the same verdict: I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practise lawlessness.
The Lord knows those who are His
Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 8:3: “But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him” (NKJV). John 5:42 says, “But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you” (NKJV). The church of Ephesus was commended for its works but rebuked for leaving its first love (Revelation 2:2-4). Jesus said, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV).
How do we love God? John 14:15 says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (NKJV). In other words, if you love Him, you will keep His commandments. You love God by obeying His Word.
Luke 6:46 says, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (NKJV). Don’t forget the Greek word translated as Lord is kurios, which means “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has the power of deciding; master, lord” or supreme in authority or controller. How can you claim that someone is your Lord i.e. someone who owns you, is supreme in authority over you or is your controller and you won’t do what He says? Clearly, He is not your Lord.
Lordship demands recognition of and submission to His supreme authority. He doesn’t know those who call Him “Lord, Lord” but do their own thing, not what He says. He doesn’t know them intimately. They may just know about Him but they can’t claim to be His friends. Jesus said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14 NKJV). In other words, those who call Him “Lord, Lord” but don’t obey His commands don’t love Him.
2 Timothy 2:19 says, “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity’” (NKJV). Does God know you? Please take note of this phrase in that scripture: “The Lord knows those who are His.” Again, the Greek word translated as knows in that phrase is ginosko. The Lord has intimate knowledge of those who are His.
You may claim you know God but does He know you? Does He testify that He knows you? In Galatians 4:9, Paul said the Galatians had known (ginosko) God or were known (ginosko) by Him. Does God know you? Do you know Him?
What to do:
1. Accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
2. Submit totally to His authority. Make Him the final authority in your life.
3. Love God and spend time with Him to worship Him, study His Word, and for Him to speak into your life, lead you, guide you, correct you, and share with you His will. This will help you not to go about doing your will while you think that you’re serving Him.
4. Obey the Word of God. Make doing His will your number one priority.
5. Work for the expansion of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Live with the understanding that God owns you. Let Him be supreme in your life and your controller. He made you; you didn’t make yourself (Psalm 100:3b). He is worthy to receive glory and honour and power, for He created all things, and by His will, they exist and were created (Revelation 4:11).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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