Knowledge of God
I recently watched Carrie Underwood’s performance of “How Great Thou Art” from the “ACM Girls Night Out: Superstar Women of Country” concert, which aired on April 22, 2011. Accompanied by Vince Gill, this beautiful young woman lifted her even more beautiful voice, and by the end of it the entire auditorium, in a powerful and flawless offering to the God of whom she sang. It’s a glimpse of heaven, I know it.
This classic Christian hymn begins with a testimony to the revelation of God in Creation.
Two verses describe just a portion of the beauty and majesty in the created order, and the response of the only created being able to do so is, “How great Thou art!” God’s greatness…his indescribable power in forming the universe and everything in it from nothing…is one of the things we can know about him simply by observing the world around us. His greatness in the level of beauty, complexity, and design is also evident.
By the third verse, the hymnist has turned his attention to the special revelation of God found in Jesus Christ.
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
One of the reasons Jesus the Son of God became flesh was to reveal the Father to us. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”1 “He is the image of the invisible God.”2 Here’s just some of what we discover about God from the life of Christ:
- He is loving. Jesus’ words testify to this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 And his willing sacrificial death on the cross for us demonstrates his love.
- He is compassionate. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36
- He knows our thoughts. “And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts?’” – Mark 2:8
- He not only created the universe but has complete control over it. “And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’ Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” – Matthew 8:26
- He raises the dead. “When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go,’” – John 11:43-44
- His followers will be with him forever. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” – John 14:3
One of the most important gifts we receive when we come to know Christ is a deeper, more intimate knowledge of our Creator. This is what we were created for! And this will be our experience when he returns if we belong to him:
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And there proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”