The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. – 1 Timothy 1:5 (ESV)
In the days of the first church, there were wrong-headed teachings aplenty. Many were rooted in knowing the law, and others taught that one must gain “special knowledge” from God to be saved. (This growing heresy was called Gnosticism, and it was a problem for several hundred years. However, an example of God using a bad situation for good: we have the canon of Scripture we have today in large part because of the church’s response to Gnosticism.)
People like tangible stuff. We like to be able to see, feel, hear, taste… sense what is real. That’s understandable. We live in a fallen world. We have to sort through a lot of dishonest junk to get to the truth. We don’t just want to feel something is right. We want to know. We want things to be provable in order to trust the end result is as advertised.
That can make faith in God a challenge. Faith and knowledge run on two totally different tracks. They work together, to inspire, to inform, to solidify understanding. But to truly know God requires far more than learning about Him. It requires trust.
Trusting God can be tough. When life’s challenges keep piling up, it’s easy to wonder where God is in all of this. And no amount of “knowledge” will help anyone without faith. Even just a little faith – as small as a mustard seed, Jesus said – will do wondrous things.
I am a strong proponent of Christian education. But knowledge won’t save you. The trick to knowing God is that there is no trick. You just have to trust Jesus, believe He is right and follow Him in faith. He did all He did on this earth and gave up His life in a most profoundly painful and humiliating manner without one ounce of self aggrandizement. How much more proof do you need?