Knowing God and the Point of Christian Faith

As a practicing Christian, I claim to know the living God. I certainly cannot know God fully, as only the Son can, but I do believe that years of prayer, study, and serving others (not necessarily in that order) have given me a small window into the infinite mind of God. Yet, I do find my own beliefs troubling. Prayer, study, and service mean very little in and of themselves. The fact that I do them, and have spent years doing them, does not increase my faith in and knowledge of God. The growth does not come through sheer force of will on my part. It is more like practicing my faith keeps me open and receptive to divine relationship. The idea of spiritual growth in itself may be misleading. It is not the point of Christian faith, but it is an added benefit.

So, what is the point? I have used the word relationship. Yet, this may also be a given. All human beings are, in a sense, in relationship with God through Jesus Christ whether they realize it or not. I do not believe that this relationship can be flat out rejected by the human party, or that the heavenly Father would ultimately choose to reject human beings, or choose to allow any to fall to a point beyond redemption. But we are allowed to fall, we are allowed to resist, and we are allowed to become lost. As to the permanence of this, we really will not know on this side of the resurrection. Yet, I do like to think that all the saints in heaven constantly petition for the return of all that are lost.

In light of this, seeking out the lost becomes an important Christian activity and perhaps the most important one. To not only join the saints in petition for the lost, but to become instruments of God’s redemption in this world, may indeed be the point of the Christian calling. But even this point has its limits. The redemptive work of Christ cannot be replaced or augmented by human effort. The point is to seek out the lost and join them in fellowship and solidarity and, in doing so, witness God in action. All of the prayer, study, and service in the world cannot replace this kind of first-hand God knowledge.

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