Tuesday, July 14, 2015

the goal of knowledge

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, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Colossians 1:9-10

One very big mistake in the study of theoloy is to assume that the purpose of studying about God is purely academic. To know about God is not the same thing as knowing about botany, protons, or geometric theorems. To know God has a higher, more meaningful effect on us. If it is just terminology or theological framework, it is trivia.

Paul prayed for the church in Colossae to know and understand God and His will and wisdom. But the results Paul prayed for show us where we should expect good theology to lead us. These are the results of truly knowing God and not just facts about God. God's wisdom leads us to live differently, to "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord". Theology leads to change in us. Orthodoxy (right doctrine) leads to orthopraxy (right living). We will be "fully pleasing to Him."

And the result of this right living? The kingdom grows. Lives are changed. We see others come to know God as we have. Our good living "bears fruit". The gospel does its work as we believe it, proclaim it, and live under it. Other people come to trust Jesus.

And this never stops. It is cyclical. The kingdom expands generationally in ways that show God to us even more. We are "increasing in the knowledge of God", which leads to even more productive spiritual progress. Paul's prayer for God's people to know Him was nothing less than a vision for the gospel to expand in lives as God's kingdom rule extends in the gospel.

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