Blogging the Institutes–1.5.9–What True Knowledge of God Is, and Isn’t

“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List

What True Knowledge of God Is, and Isn’t

I don’t need to provide a bunch of long-winded arguments for God’s existence. The few arguments I’ve already made show that God is immediately within our reach. Let me clear something up again: true knowledge of God is not merely head knowledge which flutters in your brain, but knowledge which takes root in your heart and produces lasting life-change.

The Lord reveals Himself in His many perfections. When we experience God’s power and see His benefits in our lives, the knowledge of God then becomes more vivid to us rather than if we never experienced God’s presence in our lives. When we seek God, we must not try to pry into God’s essence—what He is “made” of. Rather, we should seek Him through His works. Through His works, He draws near to us, becomes familiar to us, and communicates Himself to us. The apostle Paul speaks about this reality in Acts 17:27. We don’t need to go far to find God. In addition, king David goes into great detail about God’s works (Psalm 145). According to David, it is through His works that God’s greatness unfolds.

It is our responsibility to study God so diligently that His knowledge comes to thrill our soul that it makes a life-changing impression upon it. As Augustine puts it: we are unable to fully comprehend God. Therefore, our only course of action is to think about His works and thus refresh ourselves in His goodness.

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