CAN A MAN KNOW GOD?
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and to depart from evil, that is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10); “But thou, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge of the Holy shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4)
“Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not understood from the foundation of the earth?
It is He that sitteth upon the CIRCLE of the earth? And the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding.
“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up on wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40: 21,22, 25, 28-31)
SEARCHING FOR GOD?
“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is high as Heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than Hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.” (Job 11: 7-9)
“For thus saith the High and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with Him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Is. 57: 15)
“The Eternal God is thy Refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee...” (Deut. 33: 27)
How can we ordinary plebeians, get to know the Almighty thrice-holy God, when prophets like Moses, Isaiah, Daniel and Job trembled in His presence and wrote words about the 'Ever Living One' that make us tremble?
King Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and the Knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” (Prov. 9:10).
THE FEAR OF THE LORD!
What is the Fear of the Lord? It is to think so highly of God with such deep respect that we desire and want to obey Him. And the more we learn about Him, the more we want to be in His presence!
Knowing our low intelligence as earthlings, Almighty God sent His incarnated Son to walk among us to teach us about His Father. He wanted His Father to be our Father. The was problem, was our accumulated sins going back to Adam and Eve!
Our sins had separated us from Him. Jesus Christ crossed that Gulf and brought us together at the Cross. He took ours sins upon Himself and atoned for them all by shedding His pure, righteous and holy blood on the old rugged Cross at Golgotha!
The natural man cannot understand God or even approach Him except through the shed Blood of His Son Jesus Christ, who took our place on the Cross of shame and humiliation!
Isaiah wrote: “He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes, we are healed.” (Is. 53: 4,5). In explaining the phenomenon of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Christ's miracle on the crippled man at the Gate Beautiful, St. Matthew quoted the prophet:
“When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils, and He cast them out with His Word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Easias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Matt. 8: 16, 17)
The Bible declares: “Who His own Self (Jesus) bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes we are healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
St. Paul stated: “For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same. That through Death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb.2:14, 15)
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son:
“In whom we have Redemption through His Blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (first in rank; the One who began the creating)
“For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:
“And He is the Head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell:
“And, having made peace through the Blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things, in earth, or things in Heaven.
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the Body of His flesh through Death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: If ye continue in the faith...” (Col 1: 12-23)
WRATH OF GOD REVEALED!
“For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God had showed it unto them.
“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal godhead; so that they are without excuse.
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to four-footed beasts and creeping things.
“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lust of their own body to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed forever. Amen.
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do these things which are not convenient.
“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness: full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents.” (Rom. 1: 18-20).
THEY WERE WITHOUT EXCUSE!
We have often been asked if the pagan will be lost or will God be more lenient toward them. We know that Almighty God is filled with compassion toward everyone. We also know that His love sent Jesus our Saviour to this planet to atone for the sins of the world, past, present and future!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3: 16, 17)
St. Paul writes about the Wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness of men; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God had showed it unto them.
“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Rom.1: 20)
The people referred to by St. Paul had at one time known God. They had been pure, righteous people who walked with God, but had turned from Him. God gave them up to a reprobate mind and they became totally perverted in their thoughts, lifestyles and worship.
GOD'S WORD IN HIS CREATION!
The creation itself shouts out the truth that God exists. Martin Luther stated that God not only wrote His Word in the Holy Scriptures, but also in His creation! Anyone who will not see God's creative work in mankind and all living creatures, the earth, the universe and the expanding outer space, is indeed a human being who is spiritually and mentally retarded!
Anyone looking at His great handiwork knows there must be a Creator. St. Paul states that God had revealed Himself to them through His creation and by His Holy Spirit.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to beasts, and birds and four- footed beasts, and creeping things. (Rom. 1:18-32)
Jesus stated, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11: 27, 28)
St. Paul stated: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil. 3: 10); Although he knew the Risen Christ in a powerful and intimate way, having been carried to Heaven and heard unutterable words, he still sought to know Him better!
And therein lies the secret of receiving God's wisdom, presence and power in His holy Ministry. The great Apostle was totally sold out to Christ's Kingdom and His Gospel. We must do the same; follow in his footsteps and be willing to lay down our lives for His Name and His great work!
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou. O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, where unto thou art called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (1 Tim.6:10-12)
JESUS CHRIST IS OUR EXAMPLE!
“Now unto the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1Tim.1:17). “That I might KNOW Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, been made conformable to His death. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before I PRESS toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
“Let us therefore as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. For our conversation is in Heaven to the working where; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” (Phil. 3:10-15, 20,21)
Although St. Paul knew the Risen Christ in a powerful and intimate way, having been carried to Heaven and heard unutterable words, he still sought to know Him better! Herein, lies the secret of receiving God's leading, presence and power in His holy Ministry. We also must be willing to give Him our all, for His honour and glory!
He wrote Timothy: “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession: That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in times past shall show, who is the Blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
“Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honour and power everlasting.” (1 Tim. 6: 13-16)
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8,9)
God created man in His own image and His own likeness. He made man for Himself, therefore He reveals Himself to us through His creation: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into hie nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Gen. 2: 7
God reveals Himself to us in many and various ways: Through the creation, through conscience, through His Word, through the Holy Spirit and through His Son Jesus Christ!
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the cornerstone thereof: When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God (angels) shouted for joy?” (Job 38: 4-7)
“For, lo, He that formeth the mountains, and createth the winds, and declareth unto man what is His thought that maketh the morning darkness, and threadeth upon the high places of the earth The Lord, The God of hosts, is His name.” (Amos 4: 13);
“O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! who hast set Thy glory above the heavens. When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? And the son) of man, that Thou art mindful of Him?” (Ps. 8: 1-4)
“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars Hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD, whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of Heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
“Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though He needeth anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one BLOOD all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.
“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being, as certain also of your poets have said, For we are also His offspring. For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven y art and man's device.
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men to repent: Because He hath appointed a DAY, in the which He will judge the world, in righteousness by THAT MAN whom He hath ordained; wherein He hath given Assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:22- 32)
“He hath made everything beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world (eternity) in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” (Eccl. 3:11)
“For when the Gentiles, which have not law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; In the Day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel.” (Rom. 2: 14-16)
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils: speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (1 Tim.4: 1,2)
What is the conscience? I believe that the conscience is a God given gift to every human being, a moral compass guiding us toward the right ways of God and protecting us from that which will harm us. It is a policeman given to keep us on the straight and narrow. It is in fact, the Word of God in our members telling us to reject evil and admonishing us to obey His holy precepts!
“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom. 7: 1). The conscience can be cleansed and purged by the blood of Jesus! (2 Cor. 4: 2; 1 Tim. 3:9)
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, PURGE your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Heb. 9: 14; 10:22)
THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the Word was made flesh, and dealt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1: 1-4, 14)
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the WORD of life: For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that Eternal Life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1: 1-4)
The Holy Scriptures declare that Jesus Christ was Himself the Word of God which the Father sent into the world to REDEEM us! He came as the Lamb of God to die on the CROSS in our place, to deliver us from the power of SIN and the kingdom of Darkness! When He arose from the dead in a triumphant VICTORY over death, Hell and the Grave, He had crushed the Serpent's Head and sealed Satan's fate for Eternity in the Lake of Fire!
JESUS CHRIST: SAVIOUR & HEALER!
The Bible says: “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you eternal Life.” (Matt. 11: 28); “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37). Almighty God states that He watches over His Word to confirm it. (Jer. 1: 12).
“For the Word of God is quick (alive) and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:12,13)
Many years ago, a missionary had penetrated a village for the very first time. The chief sat on the front bench as the crowd had come to see what was going on. The Missionary presented Jesus Christ the Son of God, bleeding from a horrific scourging, crucified and dying on the rugged Cross. Suddenly, the Chief jumped to his feet, shouting: “Stop! Take Him down from the cross. Take Him down from the Cross. I belong there”!
This great testimony proves the power of the Gospel to convict a total pagan of his guilt and Jesus Christ's sacrificial death for sinners! God's Word convicts sinners and supplies forgiveness and pardon!
THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT:
The Holy Spirit is Eternal and together with the Father and the Son, make up the Godhead! The Bible declares: “In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: And there was light.” (Gen.1:2,3)
Jesus said: “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you.
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14: 16-18; 26-27)
Jesus told His disciples: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.
“And when He is come, He will reprove the world of Sin, and of Righteousness, and of Judgment. Of sin because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when He, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, is come He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.
“He shall Glorify Me (Jesus): for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine and show it to you. A little while, and ye shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father.” (John 16:7-16)
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Himself maketh intersession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searchest the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom. 8: 26, 27)
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you to be ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand. That no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
"To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another diverse kinds of tongues; the another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” (1 Cor. 12: 1,7-11)
Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God and the Holy Bible is the written Word of God. And if you believe in Him as your Lord and receive Him as your Saviour, He will come into your heart with His forgiveness, peace and eternal Life! AMEN.