Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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As a rule, when people come to the Lord, one can tell how well those new converts will do by observing their interest in knowing the true doctrine of Christ. In a wise person's heart is both an awareness of his need for knowledge of God and a deep thirst for that knowledge. Solomon said that everyone who has an understanding heart seeks knowledge (Prov. 15:14). In other words, the new convert to the Lord who has an understanding heart realizes that he is ignorant and that he needs knowledge. And knowing that, he then relentlessly pursues the knowledge of God until he finds it (Prov. 18:15)!
Foolish children of God do not pursue the knowledge of God, nor do they embrace it when it is offered them. They are more attracted to other things. It is a bad sign when new converts are obsessed with prophecy, when their heads are continually in the book of Revelation or in some Christian theologian's book on the end times. The convert's greatest need is to know their Father's will for them right now, not what might or might not happen in the future. It is also a bad sign when new converts retain their former interest in worldly things instead of becoming consumed with a hunger for the things of God. Their hours will be consumed with attention to carnal things instead of with the pursuit of holy things.
Without attaining to the knowledge of God, a child of God is left open to evil influences. Paul said that the very reason that God anoints certain men to shepherd the saints is to help them develop into mature, discerning people. To the saints, God gives apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers "for the perfecting of the saints ... till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God ... so that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:11-14). Are you tired of being blown about by one doctrine after another? Then, cry out to God for knowledge; "if you cry after knowledge and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of God, and find the knowledge of God" (Prov. 2:3-5). To ancient saints who obtained mercy, God once made this promise: "I will give you pastors according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." I know of nothing that is more needed now for God's confused and divided people than this precious promise.
Child of God, it is knowledge of the truth that will save you from following any of the strange spirits that are carrying so many others away. The knowledge of God delivers the upright soul from being taken away by the spirits of this age (Prov. 11:9) because by the knowledge of the Lord, a believer is made strong against them (Prov. 24:5). Isaiah reveals to us that it was by Jesus' knowledge of God that he made the way for us to be delivered from our sins (Isa. 53:11)! Thank God that Jesus knew the Father! Our souls' salvation depended on it.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge!" cried the Lord through Hosea. God's people are being destroyed now, too, and for the same reason. In Christianity, they are trained to raise money and are taught the skills of drawing more people into the trap; they grow adept at performing the dead ceremonies of their particular sect and are made zealous to defend the doctrines of their leaders. But what about the knowledge of God? They have none. "For my people are foolish! They have not known me! They are sottish children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no understanding." What are you wise to do? Some words from Sister Donna Nelson's song are to the point: "You can be a good Christian, but you cannot fool Jesus. You can be a good Christian, but you cannot hide from God." And the song concludes with the simple, repeated admonition, "No place to hide. No place to hide. No place to hide."
It is disgraceful for us, as God's children, to be without His knowledge. It seems as if I can hear Paul's earnest plea to the saints in Corinth now: "Awake to righteousness and sin not! For some of you do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame."
May our God have mercy on us again, and restore to us the knowledge that we foolishly cast behind us when we invented the religion of Christianity for ourselves. We desperately need to know our heavenly Father, but I have found by experience that the struggle is not so much for us to obtain that knowledge (Jesus gives it freely) as it is to convince the children of God that they do not already possess it! After all, why should they listen to me and cry out for knowledge when they have been persuaded to believe that if they are good Christians, then they already possess it?
God will destroy Christianity for the damage it has done to His people, for the envy against Him and His ministers that has fed them, for the pride that it has injected into their hearts with its titles and rewards, for the death-bearing ceremonies that it compels them to practice, and for the fear of our God that it has stolen from their spirits. Can you not hear the cry of the Spirit today, pleading with the children of God, "O! My people! Who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth?" And, "Come out of her, My people, and partake not of her sins and receive not of her plagues!"
Dear friend, even if you feel that you personally have no need to seek God for the knowledge of the truth, the least you should do is to ask the Father if He agrees with your assessment of yourself. Ask Jesus if you have his knowledge. You certainly do not want to find yourself among those whom James describes in his letter, those children of God who have not, only because they have not asked.