“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)
Our Father in heaven has done so very much for us. He is the God of light in many ways and our verse reminds us that He brings that light into our hearts. The Apostle Paul makes a direct reference to God as Creator, who commanded physical light into existence (Genesis 1:3). The God who created physical light in the universe creates supernatural light in the soul and bring believers from the kingdom of darkness to His kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). The light is expressed as “the knowledge of the glory of God.” That means to know that Christ is God incarnate. To be saved, one must understand that the glory of God shone in Jesus Christ and He drives darkness from our lives. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we don’t have to live in that darkness or with it in our hearts? God has made his light shine in our hearts and it is a glorious light for us who have believed. Be encouraged today as you recognize that God is a God of glory and He wants us to know of His glory. It is a promise that will bring light to our hearts and to our lives.
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2 (ESV)
These words which are a blessing or prayer written by the Apostle Peter in the second letter he wrote to Christian believers in the first century. This “knowledge” is a strengthened form implying a larger, more thorough, and intimate knowledge. Our precious faith is built on knowing the truth about God. Christianity is not a mystical religion, but is based in objective, historical, revealed, rational truth from God and intended to be understood and believed. The deeper and wider that knowledge of the Lord, the more abundant is the “grace and peace”. What a great difference it makes in our lives when we come to know God and His Son Jesus Christ. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, God brings us into His family and begins to reveal himself to us. He wants us to know Him and to keep learning more and more about Him. Our verse today promises us what happens when we learn to know our Lord better. We receive grace and peace that multiplies through knowing Him. It will be true as we learn to know Him better. What a benefit is promised to us here.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, … that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, …that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:14, 16, 17, 18, 19 (NASB)
From today’s passage we’ll consider specific parts of Paul’s continued prayer* for the believers in Ephesus. Because this is part of the inspired Word of God, what Paul prays for on their behalf he has prayed for on ours as well. His prayer is for the spiritual welfare of others. The source of these promises is according to the riches of His glory – ‘according to’ rather than ‘out of,’ means the riches are never diminished. They are limitless and available to every believer. It is for our spiritual power that Paul prays, “strengthened … His Spirit in the inner man.” Spiritual power marks every Christian who submits to God’s Word and Spirit. The prayer is for our understanding. Only as believers are we able to understand the fullness of God’s love. There is no comprehension apart from genuine, Spirit-empowered love in our life. Paul gives us four descriptive words⸺breadth, length, height, depth⸺which suggest the vastness and completeness of God’s love. Such knowledge of Christ’s love is beyond the capability of our human reason and experience. It can be known only by those who are God’s children and are filled up to all the fullness of God.
*Read our passage in context Ephesians 3:14-21 (NASB).
“For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,” – Proverbs 2:6-7 (NASB)
True and Godly wisdom comes only by revelation. The words of the LORD’s mouth are contained in inspired Scripture. It is there that we can hear God speak. That is the promise we are given in the Bible, the Word of God. Through yielding to our awesome Lord God, we gain wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Wisdom promises us positive and moral benefits that become a shield for us. Wisdom keeps one from evil and contributes to holiness. Wisdom is a matter of our heart, and of our moral conduct, for it is not simply the acquisition of intelligence. Another promise beyond giving us wisdom, knowledge and understanding is that the LORD stores up sound wisdom for the upright. He has it in abundance and available for us when we need it and ask Him for it (James 1:5-8). The ‘upright’ identifies those who are true faith believers, who seek to know, love, and obey God. It identifies us as those who seek wisdom and instruction in order to live righteously. One verse more teaches that the only ones who can know this wisdom and experience God’s protection (Proverbs 2:8), are keepers of the covenant and promises of God.
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.” – Psalm 19:1-2 (NASB)
Today we consider a promise for us from God’s Word that He is here. With an objective look at the world around us and especially, as in today’s verse, looking up to the sky day and night, we see the evidence that God exists. He has given us a testimony in the heavens and their expanse; both are vital elements of God’s work in creation. Observing we know without hearing a voice because creation itself is telling and declaring this truth; both emphasize the permanence of these corresponding revelations. The psalmist, who is David the King, uses an anthropomorphism (ascription of human attributes to God) to illustrate God’s great power in creation of the universe. God has placed these evidences of His existence and work so that we can know without excuse that He exists (Romans 1:18-20). God has done this for our benefit and for His glory. He is perfect in every way, powerful without any weakness and worthy of honor and praise from us; we are His creatures made for this purpose. This is the sense and urgency behind David’s words in this Psalm. Today, let us see God in His creation and rejoice with thanksgiving.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” – Philippians 1:9-11(NASB)
Paul wrote letters to the churches he helped start and in them he scribed some awesome promised packed prayers. This verse today is one and it is so full we can’t cover it all. But we focus in on the first requests in Paul’s prayer; ‘love may abound,’ ‘in real knowledge,’ and ‘all discernment. The word for ‘knowledge’ describes genuine, full or advanced knowledge. Our practical application of knowledge out of moral and spiritual perceptive is the exercise of discernment. This is our ability in love to distinguish between right and wrong. Paul prayed the Philippians’ love for other believers would abound still more and more and, run over as a cup or a river overflows. The Philippians were already known as a loving assembly of believers and the apostle prays that it would increase. The result would be advanced knowledge and spiritual sensitivity and discernment in their lives. Why does he pray this for the Philippians? So that they would be filled with the fruit of righteousness through Jesus Christ, to His glory and praise of God. Lest we forget, also that we would be able to stand blameless until the Day of Christ.
“…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” – Colossians 1:10 (NASB)
In the letters written by the Apostle Paul, he often uses long compound sentences. Verses 9 through 12 is one sentence so continuing from yesterday’s consideration of verse 9 we now find the aim of Paul’s petition in his daily prayers. His prayer request was practical: in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. A genuine knowledge of Christ reveals itself in transformed character, in Christlikeness. In Ephesians, Philippians, and both letters to the Thessalonians this exhortation is used. We are called to live our lives and walk in a manner worthy of God, of his calling us, and of other believers. How we live each day, what we think, say and do is observed by others and it reflects our dedication and conviction of God. Christ Jesus has saved us and called us to be a testimony to His Word. If we are walking worthy of the Lord, the promise is that we will please the Lord in all respects. We will bear fruit in all our good efforts at the work He gives us; our knowledge of God will be increasing daily which also pleases the Lord.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,…” – Colossians 1:9 (ESV)
Paul the Apostle was a man of prayer and filled with love for those who had come to know the saving faith of Jesus through his ministry. One of the servant messengers had brought to Paul a good report. This is Epaphras (Epaphroditus), Likely the same one who carried messages and support to Paul from the believers in Philippi (Philippians 4:18). Because of this good report of them from Epaphras, he continued to pray for them. Paul’s ceaseless prayer does not mean that he prayed without ever stopping but that he never forgot to pray for them when he regularly prayed each day. Paul’s primary petition was that God would fill them with the knowledge of His will. There are two key words, “fill” and “knowledge” which Paul used. The first suggests a filling out to entirety, and the latter is a full, deep understanding. Knowledge of this kind, and of God’s will, does not come from a natural or fleshly mind, but from the Word of God through the Holy Spirit who, dwelling in us enlightens our spirit. That is our promise ⸺spiritual wisdom from the Holy Spirit.
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” – Colossians 1:9 (NASB)
The believers in the assembly of the church in Colossae were up against false teachers who were co-opting the truth of the Gospel with fabricated rules about eating, drinking and religious traditions. This false teaching developed into the heresy called Gnosticism. The Colossians, like us, needed to know and understand the deity and superiority of Christ. Paul writes that he prayed for them without ceasing. It means that in his prayer times, they were always included in his prayers. He writes this letter from his prison in Rome and stressed two primary requests. That they, and us, would know fully and be filled with the knowledge of God’s will; that they would be enjoined with spiritual wisdom and understanding of who Jesus Christ truly was. This perverse heresy taught that Christ was not God. It takes believers with spiritual maturity in faith to overcome false teaching and fully embrace the truth of Christ’s deity as taught in the Bible. Paul wrote this for us as well so that we too will learn to hold fast to the truth of Jesus Christ who is, the Son of God, our Savior. And acknowledge Christ as sovereign head of the Church.
Understanding What Gnosticism Is
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. … For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-10, 12 (NASB)
Some of the words and truths we read in our Bible seem beyond our understanding. When we read the Scripture without adding anything to it or taking anything away from it, we find it always true even if we have not yet reasoned it so. There are many such dichotomies in the Bible. Most times we are not so earnest and just roll right on past them. When we do, we miss the deeper truth that God has for us. Here is a promise that we can cling to and live with that will help us understand that what we don’t understand. One day it will be clear. Paul says that what we understand now is incomplete – We only understand a part. Often the truth is deeper than our ability to know. But we have the promise that there is a day when it will be made clear. We will understand it deeply and completely. What we comprehend partially now we are promised we will understand its entirety in heaven. We do not even know ourselves fully as God does, but we will one day know ourselves completely just as God knows us.