Partial Knowledge

“For we know in part and prophecy in part.”

– 1 Corinthians 13:9

John closed out his eye witness account of the life of our Lord and wrote, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen” (John 21:25). What we know here and now is only partial. Does that mean what is written is inaccurate and incomplete? Not at all! The Bible tells us plainly that the Evangelists’ approved writings and their Gospels are testified of and are correct (John 21:24). We can be confident, then, that God has left us with the instructions necessary to navigate this life. He has also left us with the greatest gift of love demonstrated through Jesus’ death on the Cross, His burial, His resurrection, and His ascension!

No one person knows everything. The perfection of knowledge is reserved when we arrive in glory with Christ (2 Corinthians 13:10). However, although the Word of God is divinely imparted and accurate, we only know partially. There are many things we do not understand in the Bible and many mysteries in God’s providence. This should be of no consequence to us as Christians, though. The concern is not that there are still mysteries of God. The main concern is that what has already been made known and supernaturally imparted is very rarely pursued. As a good friend recently said, “We go to church expecting the pastor to teach us what he has studied. It should be that the sermon he prepared only confirms what we have already been reading.” What great words that both convict and instruct simultaneously.

J.C. Ryle wrote, “The heart of the best Christian, even at his best, is a field occupied by two rival camps, and the ‘company of two armies.'” The Christian men and women you may hold in high esteem are imperfect and flawed. They, too, are fallible and only know partially. It is critical then to not follow anyone blindly. Discernment must be employed in today’s church, yet it seems to be scarce. We often listen for instruction from man rather than confirmation of the Holy Spirit. Have we forgotten that we should not “believe every spirit?” We are to “test the spirits to see if they are from God. Because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Test everything with God’s Word, and be sure you are following Jesus’ commands on how to walk in this life. Although you may not always understand it, you can always trust it!

“Faith is believing it, simply because God said it. My faith is based upon God’s Word; God said it, I believe it.” “I believe what God has said, though I don’t understand what He has said.”

– Chuck Smith

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