We don’t just know God, but we are known by God. There is a huge difference between these two expressions. The first expression puts the focus on our ability to know who God is. There is a real sense when we come into a right relationship with God that we come to know some aspect of who he is. We come to know him as our savior, as our redeemer, as the one who took mercy on us and forgave our sins. In this sense we know God. But the weight of our relationship cannot be on how well we know God. The real strength in our relationship with God is found in how God knows us. This is then the second expression and the foundation of our relationship with God, true we know him, but the wonderful thing about our relationship with God is that we are known by God!
Paul understood this difference and stresses it in Galatians 4:9, “But now that you know God—or rather are known by God…” Paul stresses the fact that God has chosen to know us. This thought alone is mind blowing. I am reminded of the bumper stickers that came out many years ago that said, “I found it” meaning I found Jesus. Now there is a sense that in our lost state we find Jesus, but the greater truth is that I did not just find him, but he found me. The bible teaches us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. In truth, Christ found us.
So you might be thinking, “So what is the difference between to know God or to be known by God?” If our relationship with God was solely based on how well we know God, we would have little hope of every seeing real change in our life. Job 36:26 declares, “How great is God—beyond our understanding!” The wonder of our relationship with God is that we are known by him. So the question arises, how are we known by him? We are not known as sinners or failures or weak people struggling to get through the day, although ironically that is how we often see ourselves, but we are known by God as His people, His sheep, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.
You do not just know God, you are known by God. God knowing you means God has conferred on you a relationship that declares you are so much more than what you think you are. Because we are known by God we can believe we “…are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” You are known by God, but not in the way you think, you are known by God as his child, his offspring, his heir, his conqueror, his co-worker, his ambassador, his own handiwork, and a member of his body, his house, known to be in him and from him and like Jesus! Because we are known by God we have become all these things. This is what God makes us into because he has chosen to know us. The power of this revelation is that as we are known by God in this way, his knowing us is actually transforming us as he has chosen to know us.
In your effort to know God better, remember that you are also known by God. His knowing you, not just your knowing Him, is what is changing you. In this we can find great hope, strength and comfort. Wow, I am known by God and so are you.