What Can We Know For Sure?

One philosophy popular in the last several years espouses that there is no absolute truth.

This works out conveniently for those who want to follow nontraditional courses. If there are no absolute, inarguable truths, then everyone can define their own truth.

But what happens when individual truths differ, or even clash with each other?

Just spend a little time on social media, and you’ll see. Instead of allowing everyone to have his or her own truth, society “cancels” anyone whose “truth” falls outside current societal values.

This philosophy has even crept into the church, sounding something like this: none of us is God, after all, and none of us knows everything perfectly. Therefore, we can’t be too dogmatic about anything.

It’s true, none of us is God. And it’s true none of us has perfect knowledge of all things. We’ll always be learning, growing, adjusting our philosophy to Bible truth as we understand it.

It’s wise to search out answers to questions. We might (and probably will) end up at the point that God is bigger than we are, and we can’t understand everything He does. But that shouldn’t be the smack-down, conversation-stopping answer to questions. There are many reasons young people have left the faith of their upbringing, but I think one factor is that the church has sometimes treated questions themselves as rebellion instead of invitations to help the person search out answers about the faith

But though all these caveats are true, it does not therefore follow that there’s nothing we can know for sure spiritually. There are some questions theologians will argue over til kingdom come, but there are core truths God has laid out in His Word.

Here are just a few:

There is a Creator.

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” Romans 1:19-20). Psalm 19:1-3 tells us: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.”

God is the Lord

Isaiah 45:6 says, “that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.” The phrase “that you may know that I am the Lord” appears about 70 times in Ezekiel and several times through the Bible in other places.

I used to sometimes see the saying, “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.” And I’d smile and shake my head, because God is not in the business of remaining anonymous. He wants people to see and know Him.

Jesus forgives sin

Jesus said he healed a paralyzed man “that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26).

Jesus is God

When Jesus forgave the paralytic man’s sin, mentioned above, The Pharisees answered, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” They got the point, even if they rejected it.

Jesus told men who were going to try to stone Him, “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (John 10:37-38).

You can know you have eternal life

I’ve known of people who felt it was arrogant to claim salvation, or at least to claim assurance of going to heaven. But there is no arrogance involved, because it’s “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

John wrote, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:12-13).

A few decades earlier, John wrote, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). See other claims Christ made about Himself here.)

Paul prayed that the “eyes of your hearts” would be “enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:8).

God’s Power

The rest of Paul’s prayer “that you may know” in Ephesians 1, mentioned above, is “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:19-20). God’s power raised Christ from the dead and set Him “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (verses 21-23). Paul prays we might know the greatness of that power. A God who can do that can take care of us as well.

God loves us.

John wrote in 1 John 4:15-16, “If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” Paul prayed that we might “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19) (I wrote more about knowing God’s love for us here.)

We can know God.

Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

David told his son, “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

Israel prayed, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3a).

How to live for God

Peter tells us, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:3-4).

These are just a few of the things we can know with certainty. These are all verses which mention “know” or “knowledge” in some way. Yet the whole Bible is given that we may know God and know certain things about Him: His sovereignty, the truth and reliability of His Word, His anger against sin, His protection of His own, and so much more.

I’ve mentioned before that one former pastor said that the Bible is “divinely brief.” A God whose thoughts are more than we can number picked out these specific things He wanted us to know about Him and His world and will. It behooves us to apply our lives to His Word and then apply His Word to our lives.

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

26 thoughts on “What Can We Know For Sure?

  1. Such a truth filled post. In a time when everyone speculates what truth is, we can be confident in the truth of God’s Word.

  2. Yes, in times like these it’s so wonderful to know that there are some concrete things we can know for sure. Thank you for this reminder!
    Oh, and in answer to how I can play for several kids scheduled at the same time — I’ll just explain the situation to the kids beforehand, and they can tell their room proctor that they may have to play a little late due to their accompanist being busy. I hate doing that since kids are normally a bit nervous anyway, but it’s really the only solution …

  3. That God’s Word is “divinely brief” is an excellent point that I have never thought of before! I love this so much that I’m sharing this whole post on FB. Such an important message.

  4. I think you’re so right that for many people struggling with their faith, questions are treated as rebellion instead of invitations. What a lovely invitation you have laid out there to behold what we do know for sure!

    • I think even when the questions are or seem rebellious, we should treat as honest inquiries and as invitations. I’m thankful for the security and peace in knowing what God has revealed to us.

  5. Pingback: February Reflections | Stray Thoughts

  6. This is definitely something we as the Church need to recognize and change, “The church has sometimes treated questions themselves as rebellion instead of invitations to help the person search out answers about the faith.”

  7. I love that God’s truth is absolute and there is no grey area and parking my heart and mind there keeps me at peace … ❤️

  8. Great post, Barbara! People want to know the truth of God and look everywhere but where it is actually stated – the Bible. Either you believe the Bible or you don’t. There’s no middle of the road. I’m so thankful that we have God’s word to show us Him and His truth.

  9. Barbara, in some circles, it seems like doubt is valued almost above faith, and when people don’t like the truth that the Bible presents, they make “certainty” into the bad guy, so to speak. None of that changes the fact that truth does exist, of course. Thanks for spelling that out so well!

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