It’s Not What You Know but Who You Know by Bill Stough

We sometimes hear about people who get away with crimes because they knew the judge or someone important in government or business. Often such criminals do not reform, but continue their evil behavior. Once in a while, however, someone is “scared straight” and takes advantage of his exoneration to live in freedom in a law-abiding way.

Does the expression “it’s not what you know, but who you know” have a Christian application? Indeed it does!

Being a Christian who will rise in the resurrection at Christ’s return (1 Thes 4:16) involves more than keeping a set of laws, ceremonies, and holy days. There is more involved than having Bible knowledge and believing specific doctrines. It involves knowing Christ and him knowing us. Jesus is going to save his own family and he knows who we are, just as we know who our own children are. God looks down and knows who are his.

Jesus illustrates this by comparing a shepherd and sheep in John 10: 2-5, 14, 27-29.

The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice. … I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me- … My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.

When the Spirit of God enters us we become transformed, but not all at once. Yet somehow we come to know that something is now different. If we don’t quench the working of the Holy Spirit we become transformed into a different creature. If we do not have the Spirit of Christ we are not a Christian (Romans 8:9).

King Saul was given the Spirit of God and changed into a person with a different heart (1Sam 10:6, 9). It appears that this happened all at once with Saul. Nonetheless in future years we see Saul as an evil king obsessed with power and trying to kill David. It is a frightening warning that we can quench the Spirit and lose our connection with God.

There are ways we can know if we are Christ’s. Consider that God disciplines his own children. Note Heb 12:5-8.

And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.

We know when God is disciplining us just as much as a child knows when his parent is correcting him. It happens when we have been drifting away spiritually and God does something to get our attention. It may be that a deep conviction that we have been going wrong hits us, or some event occurs and we know that it is God who has caused it. Have we ever had such experiences? Every true Christian has - and so have I. It can actually be encouraging since we grasp that God cares and is not giving up on us.

A scripture that Christians have commonly applied to the time after Christ returns to the earth is experienced by true Christians now if we think about it. It is given in Isaiah 30:20-21.

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

The Holy Spirit “speaks” to us now. We do not hear voices, but if we are considering something that is either right or sinful, very often scriptures pop into our mind. Jesus said this is what would happen in John 14:26. At times we also “just happen” to pick up a book or article and what we read is exactly what we needed to hear. That’s because Christ knows us and He is the one who did it.

It is Christ who must live in us and create his own righteousness within us. Any righteousness we have of our own is tainted with pride, arrogance, and sinful motives. And we need constant forgiveness which can only come from Christ. Knowing Christ and being known by him is what counts. A chilling thing we never want to hear is expressed in Mathew 7:23.

Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

God will look down and see us - those he knows. We are not saved by our righteousness or works but because of knowing and living in Christ. It’s not what we know, but who we know. Remember Luke 12:32.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.



Volume 10 Issue 1 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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