Knowing about God.
There’s a big difference. Everyone knows about God in a sense, that’s Romans 1. But knowing God. Relationship. Understanding what pleases Him. What He desires from us. That’s what we want. And Calvin says that the difference between a person knowing about God and knowing God has something to do with piety.
As one of the editors of the Institutes notes, “It is a favorite emphasis in Calvin that pietas, piety, in which reverence and love of God are joined, is prerequisite to any true knowledge of God.” Getting more specific, Calvin goes on to say, “until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care, that he is the Author of their very good, that they should seek nothing beyond him, they will never yield him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him.”
I’ve been thinking about that.
Do I recognize that I owe everything to God? More than that, do I feel that in the deepest part of my heart?
Do I understand that I am constantly sustained and taken care of on a daily basis by a personal loving Father?
Am I convinced that I should seek nothing beyond Him?
Do I look to Him for my complete happiness?
He’s saying if I don’t I won’t really want to serve Him, I won’t give myself to Him, and I really can’t know Him. I’m just wondering, it’s kind of clicking, if this is what is going on in many professing Christians lives. You wonder why is it that they aren’t happy to serve God? Why is it that they are so afraid? Why is it that they aren’t giving themselves completely to God? Why is it that they are acting so much like unbelievers when they know so much about God?
And that may be it. Knowing about God is different than knowing God. And part of the difference lies in this, He is not their everything. He may be something to them, but not everything. The thing with God though is if He is not everything, He’s not really anything to you. If the God you are worshiping isn’t a loving Father who takes care of you, who is involved in your life, who is actively seeking your best, who is able to provide for you, who knows what He is doing, who is ultimately the source of your joy, then He isn’t really the God of the Bible even if you claim that He is.