It is written:
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:14)
One of the most thrilling concepts of the Word of God is in the knowledge that God desires personal relationship.
Yet what does that mean?
In the words of the Prophet Hosea, God declares:
Hosea 6:6-For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Look at how that is translated in the Easy To Read Version:
Hosea 6:6 (ERV)-This is because I want faithful love, not sacrifice. I want people to know God, not to bring burnt offerings.
The word “knowledge” used here is a very interesting word in the Hebrew.
“Know-“1085) Od% (Od% DAh) ac: See co: ? ab: Knowledge: The pictograph d is a picture of a door. The o is a picture of the eye. Through the eyes one experiences his world and learns from it. Combined these pictures mean “the door of the eye”. The eye is the window into the mans very being. Experience is gained through visual observation. Knowledge is achieved through these experiences. A) Od% (Od% DAh) ac: ? co: ? ab: Knowledge: To have an intimate relationship with another person, an idea or an experience.” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions, emphasis added, M.T.)
Often in the Bible, the word “knowledge”means more then simply knowing facts about someone or something. Quite often, it involves an intimate relationship. For example:
Genesis 4:1-Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.”
Speaking of this particular phrase, Mounce has pointed out:
“On the relationship between ‘instruction’ (Heb. tôrâ ) and ‘knowledge of God’, see Koch, p. 91: ‘For torah feeds the knowledge of God; and … this is the concept which provides the guide for conduct. Here knowledge … is an understanding, with emotional and sympathetic connotations and practical consequences, which is possible only as a result of close personal community with what is known.” (David Allan Hubbard, Tyndall Old Testament Commentaries: Hosea, 4088-4091 (Kindle Edition); Nottingham, England; Inter-Varsity Press)
This personal relationship with God through Christ is the very basis of eternal life. Jesus says:
John 17:3-And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Commenting on the word “know” used throughout John, we are told:
“In vv 14–15 we have a good example of how concepts in different languages can draw close, yet still require discrimination. In the Greek tradition knowledge is thought of as analogous to seeing, with a view to grasping the nature of an object; for the Hebrew, knowledge means experiencing something. In the area of religion, therefore, knowledge of God for the Greek is primarily contemplation of the divine reality; for the Hebrew it means entering into a relationship with God. This latter is vividly, if not shatteringly, illustrated in Amos 3: 1–2. On this background vv 14–15 have a clear meaning: the mutual knowledge of the Shepherd and his “sheep” denotes an intimate relationship which reflects the fellowship of love between the Father and the Son. (In 17: 21 it not only reflects but is rooted in that relationship, expressed in terms of the Son being “in” the Father and the believers “in” the Son.) Hellenistic Judaism prepared the ground for Greeks to approach this way of thinking, so that in the Hermetic literature knowledge of God means mystical communion with God. Bauer adduces, in illustration of vv 14–15, a well-known prayer in a magical papyrus, thought to be taken from a Hermetic cult liturgy: “I know you, Hermes, who you are and whence you are. I also know your barbarous names. . . . I know you, Hermes, and you know me. I am you and you are I” (Bauer, 137). The last sentence, however, indicates a wholly different religion from the Johannine revelation, which emphasizes a union initiated by the Creator in his redeeming love and by the creature in responsive love through the Christ, in whom God and man alone are one.” (George R. Beasley-Murray, John, Volume 36: Revised Edition (Word Biblical Commentary), 170-171 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan)
God invites mankind to be saved from sin and enter into personal relationship Him as a member of His church (or family-1 Timothy 3:14-15). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to redeem us from sin through His atoning death, burial, and resurrection on the third day after His death (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Will you not come to Him today?
Acts 2:38, 41, 47-Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit….Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them…praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
If you are a baptized believer who has turned away from Christ, He invites you to return to Him. Notice what the Lord says to Christians who had turned away from Him:
Revelation 3:20-Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
We stand ready to assist you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.