Experiencing God

“...come and see” (John 1:46).

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8).

The Christian faith embraces a set of biblical beliefs that we often call “doctrine,” or “teaching.” In Jude’s small letter, he charges his readers to “contend for the faith.” He was not referring to personal faith here, but “the faith” or body of beliefs that Christians must hold to. God is concerned with what we believe.

But God should also be experienced. The Westminster Confession puts it this way:

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

In response to a question by Nathaniel, Philip urges him to “come and see.” Nathaniel needs to experience Jesus for himself. When compared with the world’s religions, the Christian faith alone invites seekers to encounter the living God. This does not mean that we no longer care about what we believe. On the contrary, we cannot experience a God we do not know, and we cannot know God apart from knowing something about Him. Knowing God and experiencing God are not mutually exclusive, as Paul explains:

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might” (Ephesians 1:15-19).

This passage includes both “knowledge of him” and enlightened hearts that experience God. The God we’re called to obey is also the God we are called to love.

In our Christian life, we need solid doctrinal truth to provide support and stability to our walk with God. Moreover, we need to experience the present joy of knowing God and the peace “which surpasses all knowledge” (Philippians 4:7).

As we ponder the quote from the Westminster Confession, we recognize the promise of everlasting life that brings spiritual abundance to our lives. In our witnessing to others, we needs to stress the facts of the gospel, but also the wonderful life God imparts to those who follow Him.

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