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Thank you for tuning in to the Bibleofile Podcast with Corey Ramsey.
I am Corey Ramsey and in today’s episode, I am excited to continue in our study of the book titled “The Wonderful Works of God” by Herman Bavinck.
In this episode, we will be looking specifically at chapter 2, which is written regarding the Knowledge of God.
The format in which we do this is something like a summary of the book, expounding on important points from the chapter and talking about what I think Bavinck to be saying, while adding in feedback from my own experience and study.
I would like to remind you that if this is your first time tuning in to the show, you can follow along with us in the book from chapter to chapter, although it is not required in order to benefit from the program.
If you would like more information about the show, you can visit www.thebibleofile.com
or follow us on social media, all of which can be found at the website.
Before we begin in our discussion of the Knowledge of God, lets recap what was discussed in the last episode.
Recap & Transition
The first chapter in the book and also our first episode, was titled Mans Highest Good.
Bavinck went in depth to explain that God was mans highest good and the many reasons why this was the case.
He said man was created in the image of God and was created in a way that man could not be fully satisfied in anything else other than God.
He explained why the various degrees of study such as science, philosophy, and art were fulfilling but how they ultimately were unable to be the complete satisfaction of man.
Man just simply wasn’t created to find this in the created things but in the creator Himself.
As we move to chapter 2, Bavinck is now saying, here is how one can know the object of ultimate satisfaction.
When you hear the Knowledge of God, you may think theology proper and assume that we are speaking of The knowledge that God possesses, but the knowledge of God that Bavinck is talking about is more related to how we can know God.
Many people today say that they know God but is this the same knowledge that Bavinck is speaking of in this chapter?
You can answer this question in The Bibleofile Facebook Group which can be found on the website or the Facebook page.
Lets find out!
The Knowledge of God
The Covenant of Grace
We start this chapter speaking of the Scriptures as the revelation of God and the Covenant of Grace contained therein, which says, I will be a God to you, and you shall be my people.
He then explains how this promise and its fulfilment go hand in hand.
In the beginning, God called all things into existence by his word.
By his word, he will bring in the new heavens and the new Earth, in which the tabernacle of God will be with men.
In Christ, we see that this Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
and this Word was with God and was himself God.
He says that, “The full being of God is revealed in Christ.”
“Christ is God expressed and God given.”
The promise is I will be a God unto thee and the fulfillment of that promise is I am thy God.
Finally, to quote Bavinck again, “God gives himself to his people in order that his people should give themselves to him.”
From my experience, many of the people that I have talked to tend to take this as a one sided deal, that simply God gave himself to them and that they must no longer do anything else which is sometimes known as easy-believism.
He makes a great point right here that 1. God gives himself to his people.
He doesn’t give himself to everybody but only to his people.
and 2.this is in order that Gods people should give themselves to Him.
This is the duty of the people of God.
Consider the marriage covenant, which is often compared to the relationship between Christ and the Church.
The husband is to give himself to his wife and the wife is to give herself to her husband.
If one does not give themselves to the other, the relationship fails.
When both parties give themselves to each other, the relationship goes well.
If the church were to give itself to Christ, and Christ was not there to nourish and cherish it, that relationship would fail.
Since Christ is there to nourish and cherish his church, the church in turn gives themselves to Christ and the gates of hell do not prevail against it.
Easy-believism is a false understanding of the gospel and does an injustice to the saving grace of God.
Bavinck points out that this is continually repeated in the Scriptures, God telling His people “I am thy God.”
God says this same thing to his people in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
This church responds “Thou art our God, and we are Thy people, and the sheep of thy pasture.”
Bavinck says, “This declaration of faith on the part of the church is not a scientific doctrine, nor a form of unity that is being repeated, but is rather a confession of a deeply felt reality, and of a conviction of reality that has come up out of experience in life.”
How is it that they came to this understanding?
He points out that this wasn’t realized through the work of philosophy but from what God meant to them and what they owed to him.
God wasn’t a cold concept who was analyzed rationally, he mentions, but a living, personal, force, more infinitely real than the world around them.
How did they respond to this?
He says, “They reckoned with Him in their lives, they lived in His tent, walked as if always before His face, served Him in His courts, and worshipped Him in His sanctuary.”
Once God is known, everything else loses value in your eyes compared to Him.
He says, “For the saint, heaven in all its blessedness and glory would be void and stale without God; and when he lives in communion with God he cares for nothing on earth, for the love of God far transcends all other goods.”
It is most certainly a materialistic world that we live in today.
Many people imagine heaven as a place of all their favorite things.
I can remember before I was saved I used to picture heaven as a place all about me.
I had everything I ever wanted and I was always happy and there was no more pain and sadness.
The only problem with my view of heaven then is that I was the god in my heaven.
It is clear that non-believers take this quote the exact opposite as the Christian.
The Christian believes heaven would be void and stale without God.
The non-believer believes that heaven would be void and stale if they were not god or even if the God of the Bible was there.
The believer cares for nothing on earth.
God far transcends all other goods.
The non-believer only cares for things on earth.
Their love for goods far transcends a love for God.
This shows me that they do not know God because God has not given himself to them.
Had God given himself to them, they would see that it is far better to have him than anything that he has created.
1 John 2:15 tells us “Do not love the world or anything in the world.
If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”
The non-believer is seen to be a lover of the world whereas the Christian is seen to be a lover of God.
“In this sense Christ said that eternal life, that is, the totality of salvation, consists for man in the knowledge of the one, true God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent.”
This is the concept that we will look at throughout the rest of this chapter.
The Character of this Knowledge
So we have just seen that Christ said that the knowledge of God is eternal life but what exactly is this knowledge or what does it consist of?
This knowledge as we will see, is different from any other kind of knowledge.
The first way in which in this knowledge is different from all other knowledge is its origin.
This is a knowledge completely dependent on Christ.
“It can be said in a certain sense that we get all of our other knowledge by reason of our own insight and judgment, by our own effort and study.”
He points out that unlike that knowledge, this knowledge we must receive as Christ says we should, as little children, and let Him give it to us.
It can be found nowhere else.
Why must Christ give it to us and why must it be found only in him?
He quotes Matthew 11:27 ““All things have been committed to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
No one else has this knowledge to give except God.
There remains another problem.
“We did not know God and took no interest in a knowledge of His ways.
But Christ caused us to know the Father.” says Bavinck
This knowledge could be found only in God and we had no interest in finding this knowledge.
If Christ hadn’t caused us to know the Father, we would have never known the Father.
This was his very work say’s Bavinck.
To quote him he says, “He revealed God in His words, in His works, in His life, His death, His person, and in all that He was and did.
He never said or did a thing except what He saw the Father doing.
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