|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
Part nineteen of a series. Read part eighteen.
Knowledge of God in Christ is designed to have the practical effect of controlling our comprehension and application of Biblical truth in all areas of life.
The Imperative for Every Believer
Knowledge of Jesus Christ must be the foundation of every aspect of life for every believer. The imperative is for every Christian to be
attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge... As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:2, 6-7)
Practical Conformity to the Image of Christ
The Apostle Paul delves into the specific and practical application of this knowledge in Colossians chapters 3 and 4. For example, we find this in Colossians 3:9-10: "Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him." Here Paul is saying that our everyday speech should reflect the fact that we are being "renewed in knowledge" - literally, "growing up into knowledge" - in ever-greater conformity to the image of Jesus Christ.
Peter speaks of the same things at the beginning of his second epistle. Notice his four-fold repetition of the imperative that believers must be growing in knowledge of God and Christ, and the practical connection of this knowledge to all of life:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:2-8)
In each of the three cases above where Peter speaks of the knowledge of God and of Christ, he uses the word epignosis. As we have seen previously in this series, epignosis signifies not merely knowledge in a general sense, but precise and correct knowledge of God in Christ - the knowledge that comes through instruction in the Word. In 2 Peter 2:20, Peter uses epignosis again when he reminds believers that we have "escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
Knowledge of Christ Begets Wisdom in All of Life
But in the passage in chapter one above, Peter also says this: "add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge self-control." Here he uses the word gnosis rather than epignosis. In this particular context, gnosis signifies the proper comprehension and application of truth. In other words, our epignosis knowledge of God in Christ is designed to have the practical effect of directing and controlling our comprehension and application of Biblical truth in all areas of life.
Is this true in your own life? Are you seeking to know more of the Lord Jesus Christ so that you can become more like Christ? This is exactly what Paul means when he says, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
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