Knowing God [Part 1]
By Alan Wright — May 31, 2016
Are you ready for some good news?
You can know God.
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” (Galatians 4:8–9, ESV)
I have read Billy Graham’s autobiography. But I don’t know Billy Graham. In my freshman year of college, I studied Billy Graham’s place in the history of Christianity in America. But I don’t know Billy Graham. Interestingly, Billy Graham came to my university and did a series of meetings in Carmichael Auditorium. Thousands of students accepted Christ. I helped lead a follow up Bible study in our dorm. I heard Billy Graham speak every night he was at Carolina. But I don’t know Billy Graham.
I have a Bible in my house that is inscribed by Billy Graham. He gave it to my wife’s grandmother, Mama Bennett. We have Mama Bennett’s bible signed by Billy Graham. But I don’t know Billy Graham. The reason that we have the bible is that my wife’s uncle, Stanley Bennett, served as the Graham’s pastor in Montreat for a number of years. I’ve heard lots of stories about Billy Graham. In fact, I have a letter written by Billy to Stanley, telling our uncle that he appreciated the opportunity to preach in Stanley’s pulpit. But I don’t know Billy Graham.
Interestingly, a dear friend of mine worked as an executive leader with the Billy Graham Association for years. My friend knows Mr. Graham well. But that doesn’t mean that I do. I have met Franklin Graham and I have met Anne Graham Lotz. And I have met Rev. Graham’s brother in law, Leighton Ford. But I’ve never met Billy Graham. I have spent many, many days leading and attending conferences in Montreat, NC where Billy Graham lives.
But, all that said, do you get the point? I don’t know Billy Graham.
You can know all about someone and know many people who know that someone – without knowing the person at all. There is a vast difference between knowing about Billy Graham and knowing him. There is a vast difference between knowing people who are friends with Mr. Graham, and actually knowing the world famous evangelist.
If I were to actually know Billy Graham, such personal knowledge would utterly transcend and trump all other information I might have about him.
Knowing God is the invitation of the Gospel. Not knowing about Him or knowing others who know Him. But, you, truly, personally, knowing God. You can know God. And that’s the Gospel!