but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? (galatians 4:9)
why is this clarification in scripture?
when paul is writing to the galatians, why does he not say “oops, i’ll cross out that part–the part that says ‘but now that you have come to know God’ and replace it with ‘but now you have come to be known by God’”? writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he leaves the clarification ”or rather” in–and though I can’t really find another explanation of it, my is thought is this: paul knows that knowing God and being known are sourced in the same place–with God himself. knowing God really just flows from being known, and being known is a better way to express what happens to us when we come to him.
though you have not seen him, you love him. though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. [1 peter 1:8]
we love because he first loved us. [1 john 4:19]
why do we love God?/because he first loved us.
why do we know God?/because he first knew us.
knowing is the prerequisite for eternal life [john 17:3], and when we know him though we have not seen him, our rejoicing is filled with inexpressible joy, we overflow with new desires that we did not have prior to knowing him.
when you come into the presence of God and know him–
and I said: “woe is me! for i am lost; for i am a man of unclean lips, and i dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
i had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore i despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.” [job 42:5-6]
and like peter:
he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “depart from me, for i am a sinful man, o Lord.” [luke 5:8b]
–you will come to the end of yourself, you will not love what you loved before, and you will stand in awe of God–you will not turn back to the weak and worthless principles of this world. knowing God really is God revealing himself, calling us to himself, and overcoming our rebellious hearts for his own Glory.
so why do we continue to stumble?
because we forget.
but be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. for if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. for he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. but the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. [james 1:22-25]
we must look the perfect law, the Word, Jesus Christ every day, every moment! we must look to him to see ourselves as we really are! look! look to Christ! do not choose slavery but liberty in Christ!
~ conor eastman