“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
For a moment, I would like you to take an imaginary tour of a major U.S. city with me, and I would like for you to try to guess which city I am talking about. As you stroll along the sidewalks in the heart of this city, it seems like tents have been erected everywhere. Homelessness is completely and utterly out of control in this particular city, and even though city officials keep making more promises the crisis just continues to get worse. As you continue your tour, you notice multiple addicts doing drugs right in front of you. Drug needles, human waste and other trash are strewn all over the place, and you wonder why nobody from the city has cleaned up the mess. All of this filth has created a stench that is overpowering at times, and you try not to gag. As you travel deeper into the urban core of this city, you are shocked to see two men with guns carjack a woman a couple of blocks away. Not wanting to get involved, you abruptly change direction. You are startled when a couple of addicts that look like they were pulled straight out of a zombie movie start asking you for money, and you begin instinctively walking faster without even thinking about it. Unfortunately, you have stumbled into an alley that you should never have gone down, and you now find yourself completely surrounded by curious street people. You try to make a break for it, but it is too late.
I’ll stop our imaginary tour right there.
Can you guess which major U.S. city I am talking about?
Sadly, the reality of the matter is that there are many U.S. cities that closely fit the description that I just gave you. For example, Los Angeles was once one of the most beautiful cities on the entire planet, but today it is being described as a “squalid cesspool”…
The Democrat-controlled city of Los Angeles has devolved into a squalid cesspool of rampant crime, uncontrolled homelessness and filthy streets littered with trash, drug paraphernalia and human waste.
That’s the observation of numerous Californians, including award-winning actor James Woods, who lamented on Monday that the picturesque city he once loved “is gone.”
If you walk through the streets of Los Angeles today, you will find that homeless people have erected tents literally all over the city. Jeremiah Babe has demonstrated this over and over again in his excellent videos, and the footage that he captures during his visits to the core of Los Angeles just seems to keep getting worse over time.
As conditions in Los Angeles deteriorate, it is fueling a dramatic rise in violent crime. The murder rate in Los Angeles is up 95 percent so far this year, and it is now the number one political issue in the entire city.
Further north, San Francisco officials are dealing with their worst drug epidemic ever. San Francisco has always had a big problem with drugs, but Dr. Christopher Colwell says that the widespread use of fentanyl has taken things to an entirely different level…
“Our most immediate threat right now is the opioid epidemic and the trauma we are seeing. We are seeing increases I haven’t seen in my career around dependency and overdoses, mostly involving fentanyl. We always had problems with opioids, specifically heroin, but fentanyl has changed the whole landscape of drugs.”
When we think of addicts, we tend to envision street people in our minds, but in San Francisco a lot of people that are overdosing these days are respected professionals…
A physician, two nurses, a professional athlete, a drug dealer and a lawyer who had nodded off in court. Teenagers, specifically a 14- and a 15-year-old. And a 7-year-old who got into a stash in her mother’s purse.
These are some of the types of people Dr. Christopher Colwell, the chief of emergency medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, has recently seen in the emergency room for medical issues related to fentanyl use and overdoses.
Whenever you have large numbers of drug addicts in a particular city, you are going to have a problem with property crime. Addicts are always looking for more money to pay for their next hits, and shoplifting has gotten wildly out of control in the city.
What makes things even worse is that shoplifters in San Francisco face very light consequences if they are actually caught, and so at this point they have become extremely brazen…
Alarming video captured the moment a brazen robber filled a garbage bag with products at a San Francisco Walgreens and bicycled out of the store after no one tried to stop him.
The footage posted on Twitter by ABC7 Reporter Lyanne Melendez was filmed on Monday afternoon in a Walgreens at the corner of Gough and Fell streets in the Bay Area – where 17 of the pharmacy’s stores have been forced to close in recent years due to theft.
I watched the video, and the thief actually brushes right up against the security guard without any concern whatsoever.
On the other side of the country, police in the Atlanta area are operating under new rules that restrict them from chasing criminals. This is infuriating many residents, because now violent criminals can literally get away with just about anything if they just drive away fast enough…
This is the moment cops appear to do nothing amid a drive-by shooting in Atlanta as residents of the wealthy Buckhead area say it’s a ‘warzone’ and demand to secede.
The video, which was played on Tucker Carlson Tonight, shows people lining up near a dark-colored van that is parked on the side of the road when a white car passes by and shots ring out, with one going straight through the dark van, striking one of the passersby and sending people scrambling.
A few seconds later, blue lights could be seen reflecting off the windshield of the black van, symbolizing police cars passing by and not stopping at the scene in the wealthy Buckhead neighborhood.
By the way, the murder rate in Atlanta is up 60 percent so far this year, and officials in Atlanta say that they are desperate for solutions.
Here is a solution. Perhaps they should actually allow the police to chase down criminals that are shooting at people.
Just a thought.
Up north, New York City hasn’t seen this much degradation since the dirty days of the 1970s. Crime is wildly out of control, and filth is seemingly everywhere.
Earlier today, I came across a report from the local Fox affiliate that discussed the fact that the number of subway cars that are soiled by “feces, vomit, and blood” is increasing…
As people return to the subway system in New York City, they are finding more trash and filth, according to a new report.
There has been a rise in soiled train cars this year according to Daily News including cases of feces, vomit, and blood.
Do you ever wonder who gets to clean up those messes?
I hope that whoever has to do that job is well paid.
As our major cities degenerate into cesspools of crime, drugs and filth, vast numbers of ordinary citizens are fleeing for greener pastures. In fact, North American Van Lines has just released a report that confirms that there was a huge wave of migration from “blue states” to “red states” in 2020…
The pandemic saw people leave Democratic blue states in droves and head towards sunnier climes in the red states of the south to escape the strict lockdowns and spiraling crime.
A migration report from moving company North American Moving Services found those living in the states of New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey and Maryland headed for Arizona, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Idaho.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. As our cities continue to deteriorate, millions more Americans will be seeking to relocate.
Of course this ongoing mass exodus has already pushed home prices in many desirable rural and suburban areas to absolutely absurd levels.
If you are thinking about relocating, I would recommend doing it as soon as possible, because the collapse of our major cities is only going to get worse.
A thorough reading of the historical development of both philosophical disciplines reveals a genealogy that is closer than simple intellectual similarities.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been gaining traction in organizations throughout the Western world for over 50 years, but increasingly so for the past 5 years leading up to 2021. It is either highly criticized or highly-regarded, with little room for fence-sitting—a phenomenon facilitated by the widespread adoption of social media. This essay will attempt to provide additional information about the connections between Critical Race Theory and its philosophical parent Critical Theory (CT).
A thorough reading of the historical development of both philosophical disciplines reveals a genealogy that is closer than simple intellectual similarities.
A brief overview and explanation of Critical Race Theory will be followed by its history. Next, we will discuss Critical Theory, its origins, supporters, and key assumptions. Lastly, we’ll look at how CRT and CT are related by exploring their common genealogy and conceptual frameworks.
Critical Race Theory
What is it?
Everything in our world is power, the distribution of which is mediated by race (e.g. broad categorizations of Asian, Black, Caucasian, Hispanic, Native, Pacific Islander, etc.). Every human construction, from governments to homeschool co-ops, are embedded in racial structures that fundamentally build or dismantle racism and white supremacy. All people, regardless of socioeconomic status, location, or personality cannot help but perpetuate or undermine systems of racial oppression. This is Critical Race Theory in a nutshell.
For adherents of this theory, Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream is idealistic nonsense. The only path of progress is through the rubble of a completely dismantled America. Why? Critical Race Theory (CRT) asserts that the very structure of society is systemically oppressive to minority populations, and that racism is built into the very fabric of social life. So much so, that even when overtly racist policies, practices, or actions are ‘removed’ or ‘rectified,’ racism still exists—it is simply manifesting in new ways.
As a result, racism cannot ever truly be solved, according to CRT. This belief creates a truly dangerous situation. Children are being taught that they live in a society that is riddled with racism and hate. They are being told that, due to factors outside their control—their melanin levels—they are oppressed, or they are the oppressors. They are also being taught that there is no resolution to this problem. Consider what havoc this is likely to wreak on young minds. “We have a problem. You are the problem, and there is no way to fix it. You’ll never be able to do enough to repair the damage that you perpetuate simply by existing.” CRT is incredibly disempowering. Children who are placed in the ‘oppressed’ category are told that the system is rigged against them. In such a situation, why should a child make any attempt to succeed?
Where did it come from?
Like many ideas, CRT is the product of the combining of other, older ideas. In this case, it started as Critical Legal Studies—the combination of race relations (arguably the social issue of the late 1960’s in America) and the study of the law. A man particularly well-positioned to push this new theory forward, the founder of Critical Race Theory, was Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell. Bell (1930-2011) was the first black tenured law professor at Harvard. He was 40 years old at the time of his hiring.
The ideas and works of Derrick Bell are largely variations on a theme that was laid out over 65 years earlier by W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963). While Bell continues to be seen as the modern founder of CRT, his ties to Du Bois, if only conceptually, are readily acknowledged by CRT scholars.
Du Bois was a political economist who began his undergraduate studies at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, then moved on to Harvard University. At the time, some of the most prestigious universities in the world were in Germany. He spent two years in Germany studying on a scholarship from the Slater Fund, which ended before he could complete his PhD. While he was there, he wrote letters in which he mentioned several of his professors—some of them more than others. W.E.B. Du Bois completed his studies in Germany in 1894.
What is it?
Everything in our world is power. Systems and structures are created to maintain and build upon that power. Governments, organizations, businesses, and even hobby clubs exist solely to maintain and build power. Critical Theory’s goal is to intellectually emancipate society from oppression. Critical Theory is “…practical in a distinctively moral (rather than instrumental) sense.” In other words, “critical” arguments are formed and founded in rhetoric—only. You cannot test their claims with any instrument of measurement. This is Critical Theory in a nutshell.
Christians Preach with Their Actions Matthew 7:24–27; Luke 6:47–49; 11:28; James 1:22; 2:14–20; 1 John 2:3–5
The Christian’s life should put his minister’s sermon in print; he should preach that mystery every day to the eyes of his neighbors which the minister preaches to their ears.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Delight More in Thanksgiving than Requesting Psalm 95:1–2; 107; 136; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 1 Timothy 2:1
Concerning the blessings of God, whether they tend unto this life or the life to come, there is great cause why we should delight more in giving thanks than in making requests for them; inasmuch as the one has pensiveness and fear, the other always joy attached; the one belongs to those who seek, the other to those who have found happiness; those who pray do but yet sow, those who give thanks declare they have reaped.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
A North Korean who escaped from her country at the age of 13 in 2007, and eventually came to the U.S., transferred her school credits from a South Korean college in 2016, so she could attend the prestigious Columbia University in the Ivy League.
“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” Park said in an interview with Fox News. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”
She told the network that Columbia University’s similarities to North Korea included anti-western sentiment and suffocating political correctness.
Park said she saw warning signs immediately after her arrival at the university. During orientation, she was confronted by a staff member for admitting she enjoyed classic books such as Jane Austen.
“I said ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing,” Park told Fox News.
“Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’”
Park said her experience at Columbia only got worse as she saw the school was infected with anti-American propaganda, reminding her of the communist indoctrination she had been taught while growing up.
She also said she was shocked and confused by questions about gender and language since every teacher in each of her classes had students declare their preferred pronouns.
“English is my third language. I learned it as an adult. I sometimes still say ‘he’ or ‘she’ by mistake and now they are going to ask me to call them ‘they’? How the heck do I incorporate that into my sentences?” Park said.
“It was chaos,” she told Fox News. “It felt like the regression in civilization.”
She worries the future of the United States is as bleak as North Korea’s, summing up her Ivy League experiences by saying, “Even North Korea is not this nuts. North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy.”
The Treacherous Journey to Freedom
Park and her mother escaped North Korea by crossing into China, where they were captured by human traffickers. Later, Christian missionaries were able to help them slip away into Mongolia, and they walked across the Gobi Desert. They ultimately found a safe haven in South Korea.
Park told Fox News she thinks America’s universities are trying to strip their students of the ability to think critically.
“In North Korea, I literally believed that my Dear Leader (Kim Jong-un) was starving,” she recalled. “He’s the fattest guy – how can anyone believe that? And then somebody showed me a photo and said ‘Look at him, he’s the fattest guy. Other people are all thin.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, why did I not notice that he was fat?’ Because I never learned how to think critically.”
“That is what is happening in America,” she continued. “People see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”
She also gave a Ted Talk back in 2019, sharing her personal story and what she learned about freedom:
When we learn about Daniel’s lifelong integrity, we may aspire to become more like him. But is that the reason Scripture records his story? Join us on Truth For Life as Alistair Begg shifts the spotlight off Daniel and points it to God, where it belongs.
17:3 Eternal life consists in the continual, progressive, and experiential knowledge of God grounded in His revelation, culminating in Christ and His mission.
17:3 that they know you … and Jesus Christ. Life consists in fellowship with God “who created us for Himself, so that our soul is restless unless it finds its rest in Him,” as Augustine expressed it. Knowledge, here as so often in Scripture, means more than mere intellectual grasp; it involves affection and commitment as well. By placing Himself and the Father together as the source of eternal life, Christ affirms His own deity. See “True Knowledge of God” at Jer. 9:24.
17:3 — “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Eternal life comes by knowing and being connected to the Source of all life, God. Through faith in the risen Jesus, the life of Christ fills us and unites us forever with the Father (Rom. 8:11).
17:3that they may know You: Eternal life consists of a growing knowledge of the only true God, as opposed to false gods.
17:3 Here is a simple explanation of how eternal life is obtained. It is by knowing God and Jesus Christ. The only true God is in contrast to idols, which are not genuine gods at all. This verse does not mean that Jesus Christ is not the true God. The fact that His Name is mentioned together with God the Father’s as being the joint source of eternal life means that They are equal. Here the Lord called Himself Jesus Christ. Christ was the same as Messiah. This verse disproves the charge that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah.
17:3. Eternal life, as defined here by Jesus, involves the experience of knowing the only true God through His Son (cf. Matt. 11:27). It is a personal relationship of intimacy which is continuous and dynamic. The word know (ginōskōsin) here in the present tense, is often used in the Septuagint and sometimes in the Greek New Testament to describe the intimacy of a sexual relationship (e.g., Gen 4:1, “lay”; Matt. 1:25, “had … union”). Thus a person who knows God has an intimate personal relationship with Him. And that relationship is eternal, not temporal. Eternal life is not simply endless existence. Everyone will exist somewhere forever (cf. Matt. 25:46), but the question is, In what condition or in what relationship will they spend eternity?
17:3. We also see here the salvation of our Lord in what has become a major New Testament text on the theology of redemption. What is eternal life? Knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he sent. John recalled these words (which he probably overheard) in his first epistle: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11–12).
For hundreds of years people have tried to know God without coming through the only door or walking the narrow way. But the Bible offers no access to the Father except through the Son. Any theology of God that leaves out Jesus Christ borders on idolatry (1 John 5:20–21).
Christ’s definition of eternal life is important because it differs from the current concept of endless existence. The word know in verse 3 is ginosko, emphasizing an experiential relationship rather than just necessary information. The verb also appears here in the present tense, suggesting a continuing personal experience and contact with both the Father and the Son. Tenney writes, “However fully man lives in the world, he ultimately reaches the point where nothing is new because he has reached human limits. Only the knowledge of God can give enduring satisfaction, because God alone is eternal. Contact with God will provide the fullest experience, and the experience of God’s eternal being will be eternal life” (Tenney, pp. 245–46).
17:3 “This is eternal life” This is a definition of “eternal life” inserted by John. This verse shows the two major truths of Christianity: (1) monotheism (cf. Deut. 6:4–6) and (2) Jesus as Divine Davidic Messiah (cf. 2 Sam. 7).
In a sense some OT passages reflect a henotheism (many gods [elohim], but only one God for me). Moses recognized the presence of other spiritual beings. This is not meant to assert that the idols of the nations had reality, but that the demonic was behind the physical idols (cf. 1 Cor. 10:19–20).
The other adjective is “true” (alēthinos). This term and its related terms (alēthēs) is used so often in John’s writings, yet it is hard to lock down their meanings. They have a wide connotation (semantic field). The OT metaphorical background would be that which is trustworthy, faithful, loyal (from emeth). The Greek background would be that which is uncovered, clearly manifested. In some sense truth versus a lie (cf. Titus 1:2). The inos ending on a Greek term (alēthinos) denotes that out of which something is made. Possibly the following usages will give a general feel for the terms
SPECIAL TOPIC: “TRUE” IN JOHN (also see special topic at 6:55) 1. God the Father a. God is true/trustworthy (cf. John 3:33; 7:18, 28; 8:26; 17:3; Rom. 3:4; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 6:10) b. God’s ways are true (cf. Rev. 15:3) c. God’s judgments are true (cf. Rev. 16:7; 19:2) d. God’s sayings are true (cf. Rev. 19:11) 2. God the Son a. the Son is true/truth 1) true light (cf. John 1:9; 1 John 2:8) 2) true vine (cf. John 15:1) 3) full of grace and truth (cf. John 1:14, 17) 4) He is truth (cf. John 14:6; 8:32) 5) He is true (cf. Rev. 3:7, 14; 19:11) b. the Son’s testimony/witness is true (cf. John 18:37) 3. It can have a comparative sense a. the law of Moses versus Jesus’ grace and truth (cf. John 1:17) b. the tabernacle in the wilderness versus the heavenly tabernacle (cf. Heb. 8:2; 9:1) 4. As so often in John this word had several connotations (Hebraic and Greek). John uses them all to describe the Father and the Son, as persons, as speakers, and as their message which is to be passed on to their followers (cf. John 4:13; 19:35; Heb. 10:22; Rev. 22:6). 5. For John these two adjectives describe the Father as the one and only trustworthy deity (cf. 5:44; 1 John 5:20) and Jesus as His true and complete revelation for the purpose of redemptive, not just cognitive, facts!
3. And this is everlasting life, that they should know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou didst send. The everlasting life by means of which both the Father and the Son are glorified manifests itself in the true knowledge of the Sender and of the Sent. Verse 3 does not give a definition of everlasting life, but shows how it reveals itself and how wonderful it is. To know the Father and Jesus Christ (for he is the only way to the Father; see on 14:6) refers not to merely abstract knowledge, but to joyful acknowledgment (see on 1:10) of his sovereignty, glad acceptance of his love, and intimate fellowship with his person (through Scripture, that is, through his Word to us; and through prayer, that is, through our word to him). Note the words, “the only true God” (cf. 1 Thess. 1:9), not the figment of Jewish imagination, which tried to worship a Father who had not revealed himself in the Son; nor the object of pagan worship, which was directed to the creature rather than to the Creator; but the Father as revealed in the Son. For the concept “Jesus,” as the One sent from above” see on 3:17, 34; 5:36, 37; 8:18, 27, 29 (cf. 1:5). Note also the full title Jesus Christ (as in 1:17). When one experiences everlasting life, he has fellowship with God in his only-begotten Son, who as the Christ or Anointed (set apart and qualified for his task) is Jesus, the Savior.
Ver. 3. This is life eternal.—
The everlasting life:—
I. The inestimable blessing of which our Lord speaks. Life is a great boon. “My kingdom,” a dying monarch is reported to have said, “for an inch of time.” Yet after all what is this present life in itself (James 4:14)? And when it is most eagerly prized and most hilariously spent, its possessor may in the saddest sense be dead (Rom. 8:6). Eternal life is the highest possible life for man. Two causes may end our life on earth. It may be terminated by external force or by inward disease. Eternal life—1. Has nothing to terminate it from without. Force from God alone can end life; and the Divine power is entirely on the side of this life. 2. Is without anything to end it from within. Disease destroys physical life. But eternal life is the progress and consummation of a life begun on earth by a new birth from God, and has in it no element of evil.
II. How can this life be realized? It is not that this knowledge leads or points out the way to attain it. Life itself consists in this knowledge—1. God and Christ are its objects. The Father is called “the true God” in opposition to false deities. The juxtaposition of Christ with the Father, and the knowledge of both being defined to be eternal life, is the strongest inferential evidence of the Godhead of the Son. But why does Jesus, as Mediator, thus make the knowledge of Himself essential to life? (1) Because the Father can be known only through the Son; and (2) known as gracious towards mankind only in Him. 2. But we must not suppose that this is bare intellectual knowledge. It is the conscious possession of God. Certain truths about God may be seen in many ways and everywhere; but the spiritual perception of God Himself can only be reached in Christ. 3. This knowledge involves spiritual submission to God, or the personal reception of Him. Only to the soul that receives Him will He reveal His groly (Rev. 3:20; John 14:23). To all who receive Him, He manifests Himself as He does not unto the world. With respect to our fellow-men, we frequently use such language as this: “I scarcely know him,” or “I knew him well,” and the phraseology varies according to our acquaintance with the man’s character or his moral and social qualities. We may believe from report in a man’s generosity; but how different is our estimate or appreciation of his character when we can say from experience that we know it. Abraham believed God and obeyed; but when the Divine promise was fulfilled, and the Divine faithfulness proved, the patriarch knew God in a way that he did not know Him before.
III. How comes it that this true knowledge of God is life? We know what connection there is between knowledge and the energy and enjoyment of our every-day life. “Knowledge is power.” It has the power of salvation, transformation, progress. It is knowledge which lifts up the life of the savage. The highest knowledge for man must be the highest life. 1. The true knowledge of our heavenly Father involves the communication of influence, and influence flowing forth from God is quickening. Real knowledge cannot be received without a healthful influence on the soul. A penitent child cannot know that his father has forgiven him without feeling emotions of tenderness and joy. What, then, must be the influence of the knowledge of the true God, our God and Father! 2. This knowledge promotes fellowship and communion with God, which is life. To man, as a social being, fellowship with others is life. The contact of thought with thought, and the communion of affection with affection, are elements of men’s true life on earth. What, then, must be the fellowship of the soul with God, but life of the highest order? 3. This knowledge promotes likeness to God; and this assimilation to God is the very highest life (1 Col. 3:10). (J. Spence, D.D.)
The knowledge of God is eternal life:—
I. What is comprised in the knowledge of God? 1. In answering this question, we need hardly remark that it implies a knowledge of God’s existence. The remark is self-evident. The knowledge that He is the beginning of all knowledge of God. But whilst this is comprised in a knowledge of God, it does not constitute the knowledge. A man may know that there is a God; he may not only know it from the statements of others, but he may have actually examined it, and may be well conversant with the evidence of God’s existence with which nature abounds, and be able to give to every man that asketh him a reason for his belief, and yet he may be destitute of that knowledge which is “eternal life.” How exquisitely the Scripture speaks upon this point! “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe and tremble.” You need to know something more—something that devils do not, and cannot, know—in order to the enjoyment of eternal life. 2. Again, it comprises a knowledge of God’s attributes, such as His eternity. His omnipresence—that, as He existed throughout all time, so He fills all space and pervades all worlds. His omniscience—that, existing throughout all time, and pervading all space, He knows all things. Such are some of the attributes which are essential to Divinity; and I need not say that the knowledge of these is comprised in a knowledge of God. But, then, all that, along with the knowledge of God’s existence, does not constitute the knowledge of which our text speaks. There is reason to believe that devils know God’s nature as well as existence; and yet they tremble. Ah, my brother, this knowledge might well drive thee to despair: but it cannot give thee peace. It may convince thee of sin, and fill thee with alarm, but it cannot give thee peace. The knowledge of something more than this is necessary to eternal life. 3. In proceeding to show what it is which constitutes this knowledge, I beg you to notice that it is what is described in the text as the knowledge of Jesus Christ, whom God has sent. It is so described because it is through Christ that the knowledge is communicated. (1) And, first of all, you have in Christ a manifestation of God’s hatred of sin. In proof of this I might refer you to the distance at which He kept Himself from all that was sinful, though inhabiting a world in which sin was fashionable, and where temptations to sin were abounding. Not at a distance as regards locality, but distance as regards character. I might refer you, too, to the manner in which He denounced the wickedness of those over whose sin He mourned and wept. If God did not wink at sin in the person of His own Son, how, think you, will He wink at sin in you? If it could not be allowed to pass unpunished when it was beheld in Christ, though He prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me,” will it be allowed to pass unpunished if found in you? You think God is merciful, so He is; but He is just, and He is holy—a God of spotless purity. This truth, at first sight, may excite your fears; yet it is needful for you to know it, because it supplies a powerful motive which is necessary to keep you back from sin; to lead you to mortify sin, and thus to produce in you meetness for heaven—the truth that it is not enough to know that God hates sin. This will never give you a title to heaven, nor will it produce in you a meetness for the enjoyment of eternal life. 2. You need to have something more than this, in order to your enjoying eternal life; and this leads me to observe, secondly, that in Christ you have a manifestation of the love of God. But even this is not enough. It is not enough to know that God loves us; that though He is just, He must punish sin. You need have something more in order to your enjoying life eternal. Oh, then, ponder the statements of God’s Word in which that truth is found; and until it falls on your understanding, until it is impressed on your hearts, never to be erased—and, thank God, you need not wait long—for oh, it is plain and easy, and even now you may open your hearts to the perception of it, and even now you may enter into faith; even now you may look up to your God as your Father and your Friend; for both by word and by deed does God say, “I have accepted My Son’s work for thee, O sinner; I was well pleased with what He has done for thee; His death is a perfect atonement for all thy sins; I am satisfied with it; be thou satisfied with it, be at peace, be thou reconciled to God.” I do not mean to say that what I have set before you contains anything like full knowledge of God. No man can find out the Almighty to perfection. It does not amount to even an index of what might be known; it is only of the knowledge which is necessary to life.
II. And now let me proceed, in the second place, to show, as briefly as I can, how the knowledge of God is eternal life, or in what sense it is. 1. And, first of all, it is so, if you consider eternal life as consisting in the enjoyment of God’s favour. We read in this book, “And in His favour is life.” Now, the knowledge of God is essential to the enjoyment of His favour. It is true that His favour rests on men, whether they know Him or not; for how else could they account for the varied blessings which they are daily receiving? But, then, though it rests on them, they do not enjoy it whilst they do not know Him. Their own feelings are just as unpleasant; their relation to God is as painful; they are as much alienated from God as if He were really their enemy. 2. And, then, again, the knowledge of God is eternal life, if you regard eternal life as signifying the privileges and enjoyments of the heavenly cities. The knowledge of God imparts that character, or produces in man that character, which increases the enjoyment of heaven. The character on which heaven is conferred is “conformed into God’s image”—sympathy with his feelings and his desires; or, in other words, it is living in a oneness with God. Now, the knowledge of God necessarily and invariably produces this character in man. The Cross of Christ contains a motive power which the human heart, depraved as it is, cannot both contemplate and resist. No man can truly and intelligibly say that Christ died for me, and gave Himself for me; God’s wrath was suspended over me, the Saviour stepped between me and that wrath, that it might fall on Him, and that I might be saved—no man can say that without loving God in return. 3. And then, again, the knowledge of God is eternal life, if you understand the knowledge of God as heavenly happiness. Whence, let me ask, do the redeemed in heaven derive their happiness? Is it from the splendour of the place which they occupy? from the beauty and sublimity of scenes upon which they gaze? is it from the music with which their ears are charmed, or from the delicious fruits with which they regale themselves, or from their exalted companionship? No. They know that God is love, and that is their happiness. God is set forth to their contemplation as a God of love, and they find their employment, and their enjoyment too, in meditating on the proofs of His love with which the universe abounds—every new discovery giving a new impulse to their zeal and a new zest to their praise. And, hence, you find John speaking as if this were the consummation of the saint’s desire: “We know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (W. Landels.)
Eternal life in the knowledge of God and Christ:—1. When Jesus said these words, the transitoriness of life was pressing upon Him and His disciples. When life seemed frailest and most unreliable, they heard Him praying, “This is life eternal.” The assertion of something in life, which lasted and did not go to pieces, must have come in very solidly and nobly. So often when we are most conscious of mortality, when disease is triumphing over that which disease can touch, the least reminder of that which is immortal restores us, puts courage into our frightened hearts. 2. What is it, then, whose eternity Jesus proclaims so confidently? When everything else decays, what is it that is imperishable? Jesus says it is the knowledge of God and of Himself. Now, remember that the knowledge of God and Christ must mean, and in the Bible always does mean, a personal relationship with God and Christ. It is not mere absolute knowledge. It is what He is to us, not what He is to Himself, that we may know of God. So that to know Christ and God is to have to do with Christ and God in the way of love and service. And Jesus says that the permanent part of our life is the part which has to do with God. 3. Here is a very clear and simple test of all our life. Our houses must decay. What is there in them that will last? That which had to do with God. Not their bricks and mortar, but the tempers and the hearts that were cultivated in them. Our institutions will perish—even our churches. But that which really knew God in them no tooth of time can touch. Our friendships and relationships have a promise of permanence only as they are real spiritual intimacies knit in with one common union to God. 4. When we fasten our thoughts on this, how it changes the whole aspect of the lives and deaths of men! Here is a poor, holy man dying. How little difference death makes to him! He is to keep all that has to do with God, and to lose all the rest. What is there for him to lose? How much there is that he will keep! But another man, so much richer, lies dying. What an enormous change death is to him! All his life has been worldly. What is there that he can keep? How almost everything he must lose! 5. Thus the eternal part of us is not that which God shall choose at some future day to endow with everlasting life. Eternity is a true quality in the thing itself. This really brings me to what I wanted to preach about—the regulative and shaping power of a Christian faith in this life. What are the great deficiencies of daily moral life?
I. The difficult balance of responsibility. Men know what duty is, but the even, steady pressure of duty upon the whole surface of a man’s life is something which thoughtful men are always missing. On one day the sense of responsibility is overwhelming. The next day it is all gone. The consequence is doubly bad. Some tasks are wholly neglected, and others are done under a burden and a strain which exhaust us. Our life grows all spasmodic. Oh, for some power which, with broad, even weight, should press every duty into its place, coming down from such a height that it should be independent of their whims and moods, and weigh upon to-morrow and to-day alike, calm, serene, eternal. Now hear our text. There is the answer to our longing! To love God out of gratitude, and to want to serve Him out of love—there is the rescue! The doing of all duty, not only for itself, but for His sake who wants it done—this is what puts force and pliability at once into duty, making it strong enough for the largest, and supple enough for the smallest tasks, giving it that power which the great steam engine has, with equal fidelity to strike down a mountain and to pick up a pebble, adapting its movements to such different work. Is not that the redemption of responsibility?
II. The difficult sense of brotherhood. The decay of the power of feeling this is one of the sad things of all advancing life. It is not so hard for children. The young man has not settled yet into the fixed tastes and occupations which decide for him with whom he should have to do. And so he easily strikes hands with everybody, and has a certain superficial brotherhood with every one he meets. But as the man grows older his life draws in. He cannot reach out and take in a larger circle. Even patriotism is harder than it used to be. And to let his affection go sweeping out to the ends of the earth and down into the gutter where the outcasts lie—this seems preposterous. How can one keep and grow humane? “This is life eternal,” &c. If I have lost sight of my brethren, I must go back to my Father to find them. It is the Father’s house that we must meet. I am not merely a merchant among the merchants, a lawyer among the lawyers, a minister among the minister. I am a son of God, doing His will out of love; a son of God among the sons of God.
III. The bearing of trouble. Trouble comes to everybody, and what men ordinarily call bearing it, is apt to be one of the dreariest and forlornest things conceivable. How you hate and dread to go into that house of suffering. What you do find is apt to be either a man all crushed and broken into fragments, or else a man proud, cold, stern, hard, whom you pity all the more for the wretchedness of his proud, hard misery. But now neither of these men is really bearing his sorrow. Neither of them has really taken his trouble on his shoulders, to carry it whither he pleases. Each of them, in different ways, is borne by his sorrow. And now, what is the matter with both these men? Simply that they laid out a plan of life which was not broad enough or deep enough to have any place for trouble. When they designed their lives, they left sorrow out. So many lives are like ships sailing for Europe in the brilliant morning of a summer’s day, and, by and by, when they are out in mid-ocean, and the night comes, and the sky and water both grow black, finding that they have brought no lights of any kind. And then, if I turn aside and find a man who really does bear his sorrow, what is it that is different in him? It must be this: that he has some notion of life which is large enough to take in trouble. The Christian enters into the profoundness of consolation because he loves his Governor and his Educator. “This is life eternal,” &c.
IV. The lack of nobleness. There come occasional moments in every man’s long life when he feels that he is living nobly. Something makes him forget himself, with ardent enthusiasm fire up for a principle, with easy scorn push back temptation, with deep delight glory in some friend’s greatness, greater than his own. The man is pitiable who has known no such moments. But one or two such in a man’s life only show out by contrast the general low level at which our lives are lived. There is a littleness that wearies us. There is a drag to everything, that makes us ask: “Is it worth while?” Now all those qualities which make up nobleness must become permanent and constant in any man who really knows and loves God and Jesus Christ? Be a Christian constantly, and you must be noble constantly. Know Christ’s redemption, and, seeing all things redeemed in Him, their possibilities, their ideas must shine out to you. Unite your life to God’s, and it must glow with the enthusiasm of His certain hopes. Give yourself up to your Redeemer, and you must be rescued from selfishness. Love God, and you must hate His enemies, treading sin under foot with all His contempt and indignation. (Phillips Brooks, D.D.)
On knowing God:—
I. The knowledge of God. 1. The existence of God lies at the foundation of all religion: and, therefore, the knowledge of God is the touch-stone of its principles. Error and falsehood are not going to yield to any science but that of Deity. 2. It is the lack of this knowledge which sustains impiety. The stupidity of sinners would be gone if they saw clearly what God is. That one thing they shun. They do not like to retain God in their knowledge. 3. If Christians knew God better, their piety would be increased. Those ancient saints, whose happy attainments held them superior to the world, always nurtured their piety by much study and fellowship with God. 4. This subject of knowledge can never be exhausted. A finite mind, perhaps, may reach some point in eternity when it shall have compassed all other subjects, and be able to look down upon and over all other fields of knowledge without darkness and without a doubt. But God still lies above it—beyond it! 5. By a true knowledge of God, we shall have a clear and experimental discernment of the beauty and grandeur of His character. Hence, we shall feel the desirableness of being like Him. 6. Our relations to God are such that we ought greatly to desire to know Him well. He is our Maker; He wilt be our Judge.
II. Some arguments for this study. This knowledge of God tends—1. To humble us. When we know Him best we know ourselves best. It is this that dissipates our delusions. “Woe is me! I am undone.” Why? “Mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” 2. To crucify us to the world. To have a spiritual understanding of the exceeding excellencies of God makes the world seem but a very little thing. It shows us its emptiness. The heart uses that new arithmetic, to count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 3. To purify the heart. No sight is so transforming as that of God. When we can have our minds and hearts brought so as to see with open face the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory. 4. To confirm and establish the believer’s heart. Speculation cannot do this. Self-examination, submission to creeds and forms, and all study of doctrines, cannot do it. To have full views of God; to know Him by direct fellowship; to live in His presence, and lie down and feel that the everlasting arms are around him, shows to the believer the fulness and the faithfulness of God, and confirms his heart in something like the full assurance of hope. Now he can call God his Father. 5. Hence such a knowledge of God is most satisfying and safe. (I. S. Spencer, D.D.)
The knowledge of God:—The Holy Scriptures often use the phrase, “knowledge of God,” or “the knowledge of the Lord,” as a character of true religion. This phrase is particularly applied to that premised period in which the power of religion shall universally prevail. “They shall all know Me, from the least unto the greatest.” “The knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth,” &c. In the ancient Scriptures the knowledge of God was usually propounded simply; here it is propounded in a manner corresponding to the clearer light of the Christian dispensation in its inseparable connection with the knowledge of Jesus Christ. And note that our Saviour connects the knowledge of God with the universal prevalenc (ver. 2).
I. The nature and property of this knowledge of God. It comprehends—1. A just conception of His existence, attributes, and administration—i.e., of Him as “the only true God.” Consider—(1) His matchless Deity. (2) His inimitable truth. “The true God,” says our Lord—(a) In opposition to all the false deities. (b) In His enactments, promises, threatenings; so that He will in no sense deny Himself. (c) As the sole and inexhaustible source of truth. (3) His exclusive claim—“the only true God.” 2. Experimental acquaintance with Him as our God and Father and our portion. This is knowledge of the heart. By the other the eyes of the understanding are enlightened; by this the desires and affections of our hearts are filled and sanctified. It is this knowledge of God which is of the utmost importance. It is not speculation which may teach you to inquire, but faith, which constrains you to trust, which gives you the right knowledge of God. 3. A practical acknowledgment of His authority and government. This last particular shows that the true knowledge of God embraces all religion, as it elevates the mind, sanctifies the heart, and regulates the conduct. “The children of Eli knew not the Lord”; that is, they gave practical evidence that they were utterly estranged from an obedient acknowledgment of Him. “And thou Solomon, my son,” says David, “know thou the God of thy father.” He amplifies and explains that direction in what follows:—“And serve him with a perfect heart,” &c.
II. The appointed method in which this knowledge is attainable by us. By approaching Him through the believing knowledge of Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent as our Saviour. 1. Man, until visited by the “Day Spring from on high,” is destitute of the knowledge of God. Is not his mind covered with darkness? Is not his heart alienated by guilt and depravity? Is not his life one continued scene of rebellion against the Most High? 2. This knowledge of God cannot be obtained by man alone. Man has had opportunities to try to do so on the largest scale. Go, then, through all the resources of human wisdom, the splendid scenes with which His universal temple is hung around; listen to all the voices which are incessantly sounding in our ears and proclaiming our Creator and Preserver; traverse the spacious Temple, mark its stately proportions, and gaze on its sublime beauty; and when you have done all, inquire, “What must I do to be saved?” There is nothing in all this that teaches me, a guilty and fallen creature, the way to God. 3. This is the way—the way which is opened by Jesus Christ. You cannot come to God as your Father, especially to God as your reconciled and gracious Father, but by Jesus Christ.
III. The inestimable blessing with which this knowledge is identified. “This is life eternal.” Consider the knowledge of God in Christ—1. In its commencement. Go to that simple and happy Christian believer who has just found this knowledge. He will give you, perhaps, not a doctrinal statement, but a living pattern, which in many respects is better. While he speaks of the knowledge of God in Christ, he associates it with inward experience. He will testify that he who believeth in the Son of God hath everlasting life; that he has the life of pardon and peace. He was “dead in trespasses and sins,” but he is “quickened together with Christ.” 2. In its more mature progress. Go to the experienced Christian. He may be an unlettered man, perhaps, and be perplexed if you asked him a definition, or to expound a difficult passage of the Holy Scripture; but, under the assistance of the Spirit of God, he has embraced the system of truth itself. In all his course, the knowledge of God in Christ has been inseparable from advancement in the Divine life. 3. In its consummation. Then we shall “see as we are seen, and know also as we are known.” Conclusion: 1. Have we acquired this knowledge? If we have not, may I not say, “Some of you have not the knowledge of Christ; I speak this to your shame.” Have you spent twenty, thirty, forty, or more years, yet dark, dead, rebels against God? 2. Let me earnestly exhort you who are in quest of this knowledge of your God, that you seek it in the right way. “Yea, doubtless,” says the Apostle, “and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” To know Him is to know the way that leads to the Father. 3. Let me exhort you to do all you possibly can to promote this knowledge of God in Christ. We ought to do that on a large scale; we ought to unite in those truly sublime societies which are aiming to extend the knowledge of God in Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. But if it be valuable for the ends of the earth, it is valuable for your own homes. If pagan families and vicinities ought to have it, yours ought to have it. (J. Hannah, D.D.)
Knowledge—power in religion:—(Text, and Hos. 4–6):—The adage. “knowledge is power, is of universal application. That many act contrary to the truth in their possession is no proof that this is not so. That the wicked remain wicked, the drunkards remain drunkards, the selfish selfish, only proves there is another power within them which decides their course rather than the dictates of knowledge.
I. The importance of religious knowledge recognized in the Scriptures. 1. Moses commanded the Israelites to teach their children Deut. 6:9). 2. The prophets were teachers. 3. The Levitical tribe was not only a tribe of priests, but also of teachers. 4. Christ Himself is a Prophet. 5. The apostles were instruments of salvation by proclaiming its principles. 6. The work of the Church in all ages is to bear witness to the truth—to make it known.
II. How is knowledge powder, in religion? 1. Necessary to begin a new life. (1) We are to know God, His law, duty, and our failure to obey, in order to repent. (2) We are to know Christ, His power, His acceptableness to God, His willingness to save, in order to believe in Him. “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” 2. Knowledge necessary to the growth of the new life. Life must be fed—vegetable, animal, intellectual, and spiritual life. 3. Knowledge necessary to be useful. I do not underrate silent influence of the faithful. But still the Church needs—(1) Fathers and mothers. (2) Sabbath-school teachers. (3) Superintendents. (4) Helpers in prayer meetings. (5) Church officers, and—(6) Christians in the walks of private life, with copious religious knowledge.
III. How is knowledge to be secured? 1. In the early Church it was chiefly oral instruction by preaching and catechizing. 2. In palmy days of European Protestantism it was—(1) Family catechizing. (2) Extensive religious instruction in common schools, religious text-books. (3) Catechizing by the Church authorities before confirmation. 3. With us the Sabbath School largely takes the place of these. 4. What are we to do? (1) Seek to appreciate the fact stated in the text. “Destruction for lack of knowledge,” and “Life eternal by knowledge.” (2) Return to perform the parental duties of instructing the young. (3) Literature inculcating fact rather than fiction, e.g., sacred history, Church history, history of the Deformation, doctrine. (W. Veenschoten)
I. Salvation consists in the possession of life. It is clear from the previous verse that the two are synonymous, and it is easy to see from the frequent connection of the two by Christ and the apostles how accurate it is to call salvation eternal life. Men as sinners are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1). The power of evil has so worked upon their souls as to make them deaf to the voice, insensible to the goodness, and indifferent to the claims of God. So far, then, as the life of love, trust, and obedience, and joy are concerned, sinners are dead. What they need, then, is a salvation which shall put them in possession of life, which shall consist in the quickening of their dormant powers, in the righting of their perverted affections, in the bringing back of their souls into likeness to, and fellowship with, the living God. This was just the salvation Christ was sent to impart, and for which He had power over all flesh. Consequently, this is “life eternal,” not as being a life that belongs to eternity, but a life that is distinct from and opposed to temporal, earthly and carnal—eternal in its quality. From the moment that we accept Christ as our Saviour it is ours (chap. 10:27, 28; 1 John 5:13).
II. The life in which salvation consists has its root and ground in knowledge. The words must be taken as they stand. This knowledge is not the means of, but is eternal life—a representation to which attention needs to be called now-a-days. Many attach to knowledge a subsidiary importance in relation to the spiritual life. There is no statement more common in certain quarters than that religion is not a creed, but a life. This divorces religion from the intellect and makes it a purely emotional thing. Christ here declares that eternal life is founded on knowledge, thus teaching that before Christianity can be a life it must be a creed. Learn here—1. The sacredness of knowledge. 2. Its importance. 3. Its perpetuity.
III. This knowledge is that of God and Christ. 1. Of God. (1) There is a sense in which God cannot be known. He is so different from ourselves in the constitution of His Being, and so superior to us in His attributes, that there is a great gulf which no thought or imagination can overpass (Job 11:7, 8). Indeed, if we could know God as we know one another, He would not be God. He would not be infinite, for the finite cannot comprehend the infinite. (2) But there is a sense in which we can know Him; in so far as He has revealed Himself in the gospel, and sufficient for intelligent and trustful love. This knowledge then—(a) Is not simply the knowledge that we can glean from God’s works. Here we can know God’s power, skill, thought, care; but not Himself: just as from a book we may get occasional glimpses of the working of the author’s mind and the features of his character, but fail in any real measure to know the man. (b) Is not merely the knowledge we can gain from His Word. We may be familiar with the contents of Scripture and yet know no more of God Himself than we do of a man from what others have written about him. (c) Is the knowledge which comes also from fellowship between our souls and God. This is the true ground of our knowledge of others. Souls must reveal themselves to souls through friendship. 1. We must study God’s works and read His Word, but besides this we must get into cordial fellowship. In this we must ask for the help of His Spirit, and lay ourselves open to what His Spirit shall teach. 2. Of Christ also. The line of thought just pursued must be followed here. The persons are two, but the knowledge is the same. And for this reason the mission of Christ was the manifestation of the Father. Exactly in the degree in which we know Christ the Revealer shall we know God the Revealed. This knowledge must come—(1) Through the Scriptures that teach us concerning Him. (2) Through the fellowship which unites us to Him. (3) Through the Spirit who takes of the things of Him and shows them unto us. When in these ways the mind has come to accept Christ, and in the acceptance of Christ has accepted God in Him, eternal life is ours. (B. Wilkinson, F.G.S.)
Death of Fisher:—When Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, came out of the Tower of London and saw the scaffold on which he was to be beheaded, he took out of his pocket a Greek Testament, and, looking up to heaven, he exclaimed, “Now, oh Lord, direct to some passage which may support me through this awful scene.” He opened the book and his eye glanced at this text. He instantly closed it and said, “Praised be the Lord! this is sufficient for me and for eternity.” (W. Baxendale.)
3.Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. Eternal life is knowing God, but, as in the Old Testament, this knowledge is not just information about God; it is a relationship with him, the only true God. Under the terms of the new covenant, all God’s children are to know him personally (Jer. 31:34). This verse makes clear that knowing God and therefore experiencing eternal life is inseparable from knowing Jesus as Israel’s Messiah whom God sent (cf. 3:36; 5:39–40; 14:6; 20:31). How this is brought about is clearly stated in 1 John 5:20:
We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
3. And this is eternal life. He now describes the manner of bestowing life, namely, when he enlightens the elect in the true knowledge of God; for he does not now speak of the enjoyment of life which we hope for, but only of the manner in which men obtain life. And that this verse may be fully understood, we ought first to know that we are all in death, till we are enlightened by God, who alone is life. Where he has shone, we possess him by faith, and, therefore, we also enter into the possession of life; and this is the reason why the knowledge of him is truly and justly called saving, or bringing salvation. Almost every one of the words has its weight; for it is not every kind of knowledge that is here described, but that knowledge which forms us anew into the image of God from faith to faith, or rather, which is the same with faith, by which, having been ingrafted into the body of Christ, we are made partakers of the Divine adoption, and heirs of heaven.2
To know thee, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. The reason why he says this is, that there is no other way in which God is known but in the face of Jesus Christ, who is the bright and lively image of Him. As to his placing the Father first, this does not refer to the order of faith, as if our minds, after having known God, afterwards descend to Christ; but the meaning is, that it is by the intervention of a Mediator that God is known.
The only true God. Two epithets are added, true and only; because, in the first place, faith must distinguish God from the vain inventions of men, and embracing him with firm conviction, must never change or hesitate; and, secondly, believing that there is nothing defective or imperfect in God, faith must be satisfied with him alone. Some explain it, That they may know thee, who alone art God; but this is a poor interpretation. The meaning therefore is, That they may know thee alone to be the true God.
But it may be thought that Christ disclaims for himself the right and title of Divinity. Were it replied, that the name of God is quite as applicable to Christ as to the Father, the same question might be raised about the Holy Spirit; for if only the Father and the Son are God, the Holy Spirit is excluded from that rank, which is as absurd as the former. The answer is easy, if we attend to that manner of speaking which Christ uniformly employs throughout the Gospel of John, of which I have already reminded my readers so frequently, that they must have become quite accustomed to it. Christ, appearing in the form of a man, describes, under the person of the Father, the power, essence, and majesty of God. So then the Father of Christ is the only true God; that is, he is the one God, who formerly promised a Redeemer to the world; but in Christ the oneness and truth of Godhead will be found, because Christ was humbled, in order that he might raise us on high. When we have arrived at this point, then his Divine majesty displays itself; then we perceive that he is wholly in the Father, and that the Father is wholly in him. In short, he who separates Christ from the Divinity of the Father, does not yet acknowledge Him who is the only true God, but rather invents for himself a strange god. This is the reason why we are enjoined to know God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, by whom, as it were, with outstretched hand, he invites us to himself.
As to the opinion entertained by some, that it would be unjust, if men were to perish solely on account of their ignorance of God, it arises from their not considering that there is no fountain of life but in God alone, and that all who are alienated from him are deprived of life. Now, if there be no approach to God but by faith, we are forced to conclude, that unbelief keeps us in a state of death. If it be objected, that persons otherwise righteous and innocent are unjustly treated, if they are condemned, the answer is obvious, that nothing right or sincere is found in men, so long as they remain in their natural state. Now, Paul informs us that we are renewed in the image of God by the knowledge of him, (Col. 3:10.)
It will be of importance for us now to bring into one view those three articles of faith; first, that the kingdom of Christ brings life and salvation; secondly, that all do not receive life from him, and it is not the office of Christ to give life to all, but only to the elect whom the Father has committed to his protection; and, thirdly, that this life consists in faith, and Christ bestows it on those whom he enlightens in the faith of the Gospel. Hence we infer that the gift of illumination and heavenly wisdom is not common to all, but peculiar to the elect. It is unquestionably true that the Gospel is offered to all, but Christ speaks here of that secret and efficacious manner of teaching by which the children of God only are drawn to faith.
Ver. 3.—The life eternal, of which Jesus has just spoken, is this (cf. for construction, ch. 15:12; 1 John 3:11, 23; 5:3), thatthey might know—should come to know—thee, the only veritable God. All ideas of God which deviate from or fall short of “the Father” revealed to us by Christ, are not the veritable God, and the knowledge of them is not life eternal. The Father is here set forth as the fons Deitatis. This does not exclude “the Son,” but is inconceivable without him. The Fatherhood expresses an eternal relation. The one element involves the other as integral to itself: “I am in the Father, and the Father in me.” There is a knowledge of the Father possible even now. “Henceforth, he has said, ye have seen him, and known him;” yet not till the veil is lifted, and we see face to face, shall we know as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:2), shall we see him as he is. And him whom thou didst send, Jesus the Christ (not Jesus to be, or as Christ, but rather “Jesus the Christ,” as the expansion and explanation of the more indefinite term, “him whom thou didst send”), Why does our Lord add to this expression one that at first sight seems so incompatible with the idea of this prayer? It has led so careful and reverential a commentator as Westcott to remove the difficulty by supposing that the whole verse is a gloss of the evangelist, expressing the sense of what our Lord may have uttered at greater length. We are loth to admit this method of exegesis, especially as the sole reasons for it are the supposed strangeness of our Lord’s here using a phrase so unaccustomed, and thus giving himself not only his Personal Name, but his own official title. It is unusual. The phrase does undoubtedly belong to a later period for its current and constant use. Yet it must not be forgotten (1) that this is a unique moment in his career, and unique expressions may be anticipated; (2) that it was calculated to strengthen his disciples, to allow them to hear once from his own lips the solemn claim to Messiahship (see Godet); (3) that John himself at once adopted it as his own (Acts 3:6, 20; 1 John 1:3; 2:1, 22; 3:22; 4:2, 3; 5:1, 20; Rev. 1:1, 2, 5); moreover, (4) in 1 John 5:20 Jesus Christ is himself lifted up into the region of the ἀληθίνος and the apostle adds, “This is the true God, and eternal life” (Hengstenberg). It is from these very words that some critics imagine that the evangelist, rather than the Lord himself, framed the clause; (5) yet it is quite as rational to suppose that the words uttered by Jesus dwelt like a strain of sacred music in the memory of the apostle. Moreover, (6) the knowledge of the only true God is really conditionated by the knowledge of him who was indeed the great Revelation, Organ, and Effluence of the Father’s glory. The fulness of this knowledge is the end of all Christian striving. Paul said, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus … and that I may know him” (Phil. 3:10). How much is there yet to know! (7) Finally, as our Lord is rising more and more into the glory of an utter self-abandonment, and into the glory which he had with the Father from eternity, the human nature which he still inhabits becomes almost an appendage of his Divine Personality, and he might with awful significance, when referring to the object of human faith and knowledge, say, “Him whom thou hast sent—Jesus the Christ.” Moreover, on any hypothesis of the composition or framing of an intercessory prayer for the Logos Christos to utter, there is an equal difficulty in the insertion into such prayer by St. John of this reference to himself as the Christ. The knowledge of the Father as the only true God, in opposition to the heathen traditions and philosophical speculations of the world, coupled with a corresponding knowledge of the only adequate expression of the Father’s heart and nature, sent forth from him, as One promised, consecrated, and empowered to represent him, is life—eternal life. Eternal Life
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
One of the great benedictions in the New Testament concludes the apostle Paul’s doctrinal teaching in the book of Romans. Paul exclaims with wonder for the mind of God: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” He concludes with one of the most God-centered statements in all the Bible: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).
That same God-filled attitude is seen in the prayer of Jesus Christ on the night of his arrest. Jesus began what is called his High Priestly Prayer by asking God to glorify him, so that he might glorify God in the gift of eternal life to those who belong to him. According to Jesus, his people were predestined by God, and eternal life was given by God for Jesus to grant to his people. In every sense, Jesus agrees with Paul that salvation is from God. He also affirms that salvation is through and to God. We see this conviction in the remarkable statement of John 17:3, in which Jesus declares that the eternal life that comes from God consists of nothing less than the knowledge of God.
This claim agrees with the whole message of the Bible. The prophet Jeremiah, for instance, urged: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (Jer. 9:23–24).
To experience the reality of Jesus’ statement is therefore one of the most vital issues in life. J. I. Packer asks, “What were we made for?” He answers, “To know God.” He continues: “What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the ‘eternal life’ that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God.… What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God.” We have this on the authority of Jesus, praying to the Father, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
What Is Eternal Life?
The term eternal life is one of the keys to John’s Gospel, occurring seventeen times as a synonym for salvation. People tend to think of eternal life primarily in terms of its duration or quantity: it is life everlasting. The biblical idea, however, is focused more sharply on the quality of this life. There is a future in eternity for believers and unbelievers alike, although for the latter the Bible holds forth only eternal and everlasting death (Rev. 20:14; 21:8). Eternal life, therefore, is the life of heaven beginning in us now, granted by God at the moment of our coming to saving faith. William Barclay writes: “To possess eternal life, to enter into eternal life, is to experience here and now something of the splendour, and the majesty, and the joy, and the peace, and the holiness which are characteristic of the life of God.”
The prophet Ezekiel depicted eternal life as a river flowing out from the glorious presence of God, growing richer and deeper as we advance into it. At first, he said, the water was only “trickling out” (Ezek. 47:2), but as he went farther “it was ankle-deep” (47:3). A little farther and Ezekiel found that the water was “knee-deep,” then “waist-deep” (47:4), and farther yet, it was “deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through” (47:5). Ezekiel’s visionary river was a picture of the eternal life that God would grant through his Son, on the banks of which he saw “very many trees” that were green and growing (47:7). He said, “Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary” (47:12).
The apostle John would himself see the conclusion of this vision, recorded at the end of the book of Revelation: the blessed eternal Land of Promise, watered by “the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), all bathed in the light of the knowledge of God: “They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (22:5). This is the eternal life that begins in the heart of everyone who receives Jesus in faith. Jesus said that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
This means that eternal life is not something that we merely add on to the person we were before. Eternal life is not a compartment that fits into a corner of our lives or a way that we live on Sunday but not on the other six days of the week. Rather, eternal life is an entirely new spiritual condition. It is “the life of God in the soul of man.” Faith in Christ creates an entirely new life, with a new power, new motives, and a new purpose. When someone becomes a Christian, that person does not receive new faculties—he or she remains a person with a mind, will, and affections—but the old faculties are governed by an entirely new spirit. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes that “a new principle of life comes into us which produces in us a new nature, a new outlook, so much so that having received it, we are able to say with Paul … ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature’ (2 Cor. 5:17).”
Eternal Life as Knowing God
At the end of his first epistle, the apostle John makes the comment that God “is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). We may therefore say that eternal life consists of the knowledge of God. This is what the prophets foretold, that when God had brought his salvation, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9). Jeremiah foresaw the new covenant that would bring salvation, its ultimate blessing being the knowledge of God: “no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord” (Jer. 31:34).
The question is therefore raised, “What does it mean to know God?” The first answer is that knowing God means being informed about the character and nature of the true God. What is God really like? Unless we know the truth about who God is, we can hardly be said to enjoy eternal life.
There are two ways in which we can know what God is like. The first is by means of the natural world around us, since God is the One who created everything. Paul says in Romans 1:20 that God’s “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.” The natural order, combined with God’s rule working out in history, displays his goodness, power, and justice. Thus, no one is without excuse for withholding obedience to God, since God has designed the creation to be a theater for the display of his glory. Old Testament scholar E. J. Young put it this way:
By regarding the universe which He has created we behold His glory, His perfection and His attributes.… The entirety of creation, visible and invisible, speaks with voices clear and positive of the glory of the Holy God. Wherever we turn our eyes, we see the marks of His majesty, and should lift our hearts in praise to Him who is holy. This is His world, the wide theater in which His perfect glory is displayed.
It is the condemnation of the entire human race that we are so corrupted by sin that the display of God in creation brings eternal life to no one. Paul laments: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:21). Therefore, we require the saving revelation of God that he has graciously provided in the Holy Scriptures. The purpose of the Bible, then, is to reveal God so as to create faith. The Scriptures reveal God in his holiness, sovereignty, truth, power, justice, and mercy. Knowing about him is our urgent need: Hosea pointed out that the people of his day were “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). The book of Judges tells of the calamities that resulted when a generation arose “who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel” (Judg. 2:10). Christians therefore have the urgent task of passing on to the next generation the Bible’s revelation of God and his great works for our salvation. Likewise, every new believer needs to seek a thorough knowledge of the Bible, just as veteran Christians must continue their growth in the knowledge of God through his Word.
The importance of knowing the truth about God is underscored by Jesus’ designation of him as “the only true God” (John 17:3). This reminds us that the opposite of knowing God is not knowledge of no god, but rather a belief in false gods. Thus, when John stated in his epistle that the Lord “is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20), he concluded by writing: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (5:21).
This is what Paul was horrified to see when he arrived in the market of Athens. The city of the philosophers was literally “full of idols” (Acts 17:16). They had even erected an idol to “the unknown god” (17:23), thus admitting their ignorance. Today, few people worship idols of stone and wood, but they nonetheless worship vain philosophies such as evolution and secular humanism. Carl Sagan, the famous physicist whose television show Cosmos declared the secular humanist mantra that “the cosmos is all there is, all there ever was, and all there ever will be,” declared his belief that aliens populated the earth. One of today’s most prominent atheists, Richard Dawkins, admitted in an interview that he, too, replaces trust in God with belief in aliens.7 Most people’s idols are closer to earth: they worship money, pleasure, power, or love. If we say, “I could be happy and feel secure if I had ——,” then whatever you put in that space is the god that you worship. How important it is that we learn that only the true and living God, the God and Father of Jesus Christ, is able to give eternal life, so that we may, as Paul put it, turn “from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9).
After we come to know about God, we must then receive him and render to him our worship and devotion. One example of this is the Gentile centurion Cornelius, to whom the apostle Peter was sent to preach. Cornelius was a “God-fearer,” that is, a Gentile who admired Judaism and its moral order and had thus expressed affinity for the Jewish religion and people. Cornelius had undoubtedly learned many Bible truths, yet he remained outside the covenant people of God and separate from the worship of the Lord. But when Peter preached the gospel of salvation in Christ, “the Holy Spirit fell on them” (Acts 11:15) and Cornelius received eternal life, accepting the Lord in personal faith and rendering worship to the true God. Have you done this? You might know many things about God and even believe that they are true. But you do not have eternal life unless you receive him as your God, offer him your personal faith, and worship him with your heart. Charles Spurgeon wrote that truly knowing God means “that we bow before him as worshippers, that we submit ourselves to his law, that we seek to do his pleasure. No man really knows God who does not know him as God, and does not accept him as his God; and to accept God as your God, is eternal life.”
Third, we should add that our knowledge of God leads to a personal relationship in which we walk with God as his people. As we live in fellowship with God, devoting ourselves to his Word, walking before him daily in faith, lifting our hearts to him in thankful prayer, and honoring him in practical obedience to his commands, we experience more and more deeply the knowledge of God and the power of his grace. Lloyd-Jones describes how such a personal relationship results in increased knowledge of God and the experience of eternal life:
The Christian begins to realize that God is indeed his Father, that the hairs of his head are all numbered, and that his relationship to God is not something mechanical, it is experiential. That, of course, leads to a sense of dependence upon God, and the consciousness that, as time passes, we are in his hands. And that, further, means that we begin to look to him for strength, for power, and for everything.
Knowing God as the Cause of Eternal Life
Just as we emphasize that eternal life consists in the knowledge of God, we can also declare that knowing God causes eternal life and advances its power in our lives. As Paul said, “For from him and through him and to him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). Leon Morris thus comments that “to know God, really to know God, is to enter a transforming experience. If we come to know God, we can never be the same sinful people we were.” In this way, knowing God not only is the result of eternal life but also is its cause.
In his story “The Great Stone Face,” Nathaniel Hawthorne tells of a boy living in a village beneath a mountain, on which was seen the stone image of a face. The village had a legend that someday someone who looked like the great stone face would come, bringing great blessing to the people. The story so fascinated the boy that he spent hours contemplating the stone face, wondering about the person who would come in that image. The years passed and the promise was not fulfilled, yet the boy, now a young man, continued looking at the stone face and thinking about the one who would come. So he continued through middle age, unable to get the legend and the beauty of the image out of his mind. Finally, one day he returned from gazing on the face on the mountain, now an old man, and as he walked through the village the people gasped and cried out, “He has come—the one who is like the great stone face!” The old man had become like the image he had contemplated.
If we doubt the validity of that story in describing eternal life, then we should remember the case of Moses. When Moses spent time with God on the mountain, his face began to shine in glory, so that when he descended the people demanded that he veil the brightness of God’s radiance shining from his face (Ex. 34:30). According to the New Testament, the same glorification results from our communion with Christ. Referring to Moses’ reflected glory, Paul says of us: “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18).
Knowing God as we walk with him through this life, contemplating his glory in the Scriptures, we will find that like the man in Hawthorne’s story, we increasingly bear the image of God in our spirits. This is, of course, what mankind was originally created to do and what we lost through our fall into sin: “God created man in his own image” (Gen. 1:27). The purpose of redemption is the restoration of this purpose, so that knowing God causes God’s life to shine in us. Charles Wesley celebrated the privilege of bearing God’s glory, asking God to work in us more and more of this eternal life:
Finish, then, thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be:
Let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee;
Changed from glory into glory, till in heav’n we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Knowing God through Jesus Christ
I mentioned that in the last chapters of Revelation, the apostle John takes up and completes the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of eternal life in its undying glory. There, God’s people drink from the waters of the river of life and eat fruit from the tree of life. The description stirs the breast of all who are born again regarding the future that awaits us with God: “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.… The Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:3–5). Truly will it then be said that eternal life is knowing God.
All who come to enjoy that consummation of eternal life will be there for the same reason, that they came to know God here on earth: they learned the truth about God, they received and worshiped him as God, and they walked with God through life. Moreover, everyone who enters into that eternal bliss will have come to know God in the same way. Paul writes that “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). It is only in and through Jesus Christ that any sinner comes to the knowledge of God. Indeed, it is only those who come to God through the saving work of his Son, especially his sin-atoning death on the cross, who receive eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Thus, Jesus adds in his prayer his own saving mission: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (17:3).
Jesus is himself the truest revelation of the Father, so that we come to know God most truly in the person of Christ. The writer of Hebrews began his book by pointing out that in former times God spoke in a variety of ways, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.… He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:1–3). This means not only that Jesus is like the Father in every respect of his being, character, and will, but that the Father may equally be said to be like Jesus, his Son. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), Jesus declared. Jesus therefore taught, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (5:24). By sending his Son, God communicated the incarnate truth regarding himself. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory,” John said, “glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14).
The knowledge of God comes not only through the person of his Son, however, but most especially through the saving work of Jesus Christ. In John 17:4, Jesus says to the Father, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” That work was to grant eternal life through the knowledge of God to the people whom God had given to him.
It is not incidental, of course, that Jesus prays about granting eternal life through the knowledge of God as he prepares to undertake the great work of his cross. There, as never before, Jesus would reveal the glory of God so that we may know him for eternal life. On the cross, Jesus displayed the perfect holiness of God, pouring out the fullness of his wrath on our sins, even when they were borne by his perfect and well-beloved Son. What kind of God would pour out such wrath as Jesus suffered on the cross, such as to cause him to cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). On the cross, Jesus revealed a God of unyielding justice and holy wrath, before whom sinners must come with a fitting sacrifice or perish. But the cross reveals the mercy and love of this same holy God, in that he himself offered the sacrifice to free us from the penalty of our sin. Notice that Jesus says that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ “whom you have sent” (John 17:3). God sent Jesus to lay down his life for the sake of his chosen people, bearing the curse and shame of our sin, revealing in this way the mercy and grace of an infinitely holy and loving God.
I mentioned earlier that Cornelius the centurion came to eternal life not merely when he learned about God but when he received God in personal faith. An even better example is that of the disciple Thomas, who doubted after Jesus was crucified. It was when Jesus appeared to him in his resurrection glory and displayed to Thomas the wounds of his cross, where Jesus had purchased forgiveness for our sins, that the doubting disciple believed and received eternal life. John writes that Thomas exclaimed to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). It is only when you look upon the atoning love of Jesus Christ, seeing by faith the marks of his death for your sins, that you truly know God in his glory and grace. In this way, if you will receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, worshiping him in his redeeming grace, you will know God and you will have eternal life.
3 So crucial is this “eternal life” that the Gospel writer, blending his words with the words of Jesus, inserts a definition: “And this is the eternal life, that they might know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (v. 3). The definition functions much like the Gospel writer’s characteristic narrative asides, yet it is not a narrative aside, for the writer clearly wants to put it on the lips of Jesus. Its closest kinship is with certain passages where Jesus is abruptly represented as speaking of himself in the third person and from the Gospel writer’s postresurrection viewpoint (see, for example, 3:13, 16–21; 6:27, 33). Its uniqueness lies in its being part of a prayer and in its use of the actual name, “Jesus Christ”—one of only two occurrences of the full name in the entire Gospel (the other being 1:17). Obviously, the use of the name undercuts to some degree the writer’s intention of attributing the words to Jesus himself, yet it is little more than an extension of the practice of representing Jesus as speaking of himself in the third person as “the Son of man” (a title he almost certainly did use), and “the Son” (a title he may well have used).
Like the narrative asides, the definition of eternal life is for the reader’s benefit, despite being addressed to God, as is the designation of the Father as “the only true God.” God the Father knows who he is, and does not need to have “eternal life” defined for him! But for the reader of John’s Gospel it is crucial that “eternal life” be defined as knowledge revealed through Jesus the Word. The phrase “the only true God,” though firmly rooted in Jewish monotheism, nevertheless echoes some of Jesus’ rebukes to “the Jews” themselves in earlier settings. Despite their monotheism, they did not “seek the glory that comes from the Only God” (5:44), nor did they understand that “the One who sent me is True, whom you do not know” (7:28). In this Gospel, “you, the only true God,” and “him whom you sent, Jesus Christ,” are inextricably linked. Neither can be known apart from the other. The ending of 1 John draws the same conclusion: “We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, that we might know the True One, and we are in the True One, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and life eternal” (1 Jn 5:20). In much the same way, the definition of eternal life here upholds Jewish monotheism as the writer understands it, while at the same time reinforcing for the reader the Gospel’s opening line, that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1).
3 Here we have something of a definition of eternal life. Really to know12 God means more than knowing the way to life. It is life. In this world we are familiar with the truth that it is a blessing and an inspiration to know certain people. Much more is it the case when we know God. To know him transforms us and introduces us to a different quality of living. Eternal life is simply the knowledge of God. Throughout this chapter there is an emphasis on knowing rather than on John’s characteristic thought of believing. Jesus stresses that there is but one God (cf. 5:44), and he is the true God. It is not knowledge of “a god” that is meant, but knowledge of the supreme Ruler of the universe. This is linked with the knowledge of Christ.17 The only way to know God is through the revelation he has made, and he has revealed himself in his Son. It is not possible to know God in any way that we choose. We must know him in the one whom he has sent, namely Jesus Christ (for “Christ” see on 1:20, 41).
3 Verse 3 may well be an explanatory comment by the author of the gospel. The designation of the Father as “the only true God” occurs only here in John, and would it not seem strange for Jesus to refer to himself in the third person as “Jesus Christ”? In any case, the verse is parenthetical and defines the nature of “eternal life.” Eternal life consists in knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ. Knowledge in the biblical sense means far more than intellectual comprehension; it involves a profound personal relationship. The present subjunctive (ginōskōsin, GK 1182) suggests that here the verb should be taken in the sense of “learning to know.” It presents knowledge as a growing experience. It is instructive to note that in Scripture the verb “to know” may serve as a euphemism for sexual relations (cf. Ge 4:1 [LXX]; Lk 1:34). To know about God is one thing; it is something quite different to know God. The apostle Paul writes that he considers everything a loss compared to the “surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus” (Php 3:8).
“Only” (monos, GK 3668) and “true” (alēthinos, GK 240) are attributes ascribed to God elsewhere in Scripture (Isa 37:20 [LXX]; Ex 34:6 [LXX]). They set him apart from all false deities. He is sui generis, one of a kind. That God the Father is said to be the “only true God” has led some to think that in some way Jesus must be less than God. But here Jesus is speaking as the Son sent into the world by the Father to secure eternal salvation for those who believe. In a world replete with objects of worship and false deities, the Son affirms that the God who sent him on this mission is “the only true God.” He doesn’t find it necessary to insert a qualification regarding his own relationship to the Father. Notice the emphasis throughout the chapter on being sent (vv. 8, 18, 21, 23, 25).
Knowing the True God
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
One of the things that has always interested me in my study of the Word of God is the number of ways in which one may speak of salvation. In fact, it has been more than interesting. It is important because it is often the case that Christians get locked into one particular way of talking about salvation and thus cannot change, even when the person to whom they are talking fails to understand their terminology. That needs to be corrected.
In evangelical circles the most common way of talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ is by the words “sin,” “atonement,” “the new birth,” “believing on Jesus,” and related concepts. It is no surprise that this is so, for these are the dominant biblical terms, and they are correctly at the heart of our Christian proclamation. But what if these words were missing from the English language? Or what if, which is nearly the same thing, these words and what they mean are missing from the thoughts of someone to whom we are speaking about the gospel? Can other terms be used? My study of the Bible indicates that they can. Thus, to give just one example, it is possible to speak of the will of God, our rebellion against that will, and God’s activity in Christ and through the Holy Spirit to get our wills in line with his once again. The rebellion of our wills against God’s will is sin; this is what the Bible calls Satan’s sin (Isaiah 14). Salvation is that by which God again establishes his perfect and holy will in us so that we are drawn to Christ and begin to seek after holiness. Heaven may be described as that place where the wills of those who are there, after having been disrupted by Satan, are harmonious.
Our text in John gives another set of terms for salvation. It says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (17:3). Here the operative term is knowledge—“that they may know.” Knowledge of God is salvation. By contrast, not knowing God and not wanting to is sin.
When we speak along these lines we must be careful to define what we mean by that knowledge that is salvation, for there are several uses of the word that are not what the Lord meant in this expression and that, far from suggesting salvation, actually are used biblically to explain why men are guilty for failing to come to God for it.
There are four senses of this word that are inadequate. The first is that sense of knowing by which we actually mean awareness. It is what we have in mind when we say, for example, that we know the United States is governed by a president and a congress and that the headquarters for both are in Washington. This is not a very profound kind of knowledge, nor is it necessarily detailed. It is the kind of awareness a child might have as a result of something he or she has been taught in school. The Bible speaks of this kind of knowledge in Romans 1, saying that all who have ever been born into the human race have this knowledge and are guilty before God because, having it, they do not come to him. More precisely, Paul speaks of the wrath of God being revealed against men “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:19–21). These verses are not speaking of a knowledge of God in the sense intended by Jesus when he linked a knowledge of God to eternal life, otherwise all would be saved. Rather, they speak of the most rudimentary kind of knowledge. It is awareness only, but it makes us responsible.
The second inadequate meaning of the words “to know” or “knowledge” involves information. To return to the earlier illustration, we may say not merely that we know there is a president and a congress but also that we know much about them. A reporter covering the Washington beat would have much knowledge. But the type of knowledge would be the same. In spiritual terms this would be the kind of knowledge of God possessed by a theologian who, while he may know much about God, is not necessarily born again.
The third view is knowledge by experience. But this, although better than either of the other two, is still not enough. We might think of this as the experience of a person who goes out into the fields around his house on a summer night and looks up into the twinkling heavens and returns, saying, “I have experienced God. Do not give me any of your theology. I don’t want words. I have experienced the real thing.” We may believe that such a person is imagining his experience, particularly if it has nothing to do with the Lord Jesus Christ; but he is not necessarily imagining it, nor is his experience without meaning. He actually may have experienced something very profound and moving. Still, moving as this may be, it is not what Jesus meant when he spoke of eternal life consisting in such knowledge.
Fourth, even in its highest form this knowledge is not merely knowledge of God alone, for it always involves knowledge of ourselves in terms of our relationships to him. Knowledge of God and of ourselves go together.
What is this knowledge? It is a personal encounter with God in which, because of his holiness, we become aware of our sin and consequently of our deep personal need and then, by his grace, are turned to Christ who is our Savior. This knowledge occurs only where God’s Holy Spirit is at work beforehand to make it possible, and it always changes us, issuing in a heart response to God and true devotion. This is involved even in Christ’s brief statement, for he stresses that the knowledge of which he is speaking is knowledge of the true God and of himself as Savior.
The True God
This brings us to the matter of knowing the true God as opposed to a false or imaginary God. It causes us to ask: Who is this God? What is the effect on us when we come to know him?
There is a story in the Old Testament that is helpful at this point. It is the story of God’s revelation of himself to Moses. Moses was certainly aware of the true God prior to this time. He had been born into a godly home. He had undoubtedly heard of God’s calling of Abraham and of His subsequent dealings with him and the other patriarchs. He even believed in God’s promises to deliver the Hebrew people from their Egyptian bondage, for he put himself forward as the vehicle of that deliverance by killing an Egyptian. Still it is probably true that Moses had never had a personal encounter with God in any full sense of the term until God revealed himself to him in the burning bush on Mount Sinai.
Moses had been going along minding his own business when he noticed this bush. It was burning, which was unusual but not miraculous. The astonishing thing, which he became aware of gradually as he stood watching, was that the bush did not burn up. He went closer. After a while a voice came to him out of the bush saying, “Moses! Moses!… Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exod. 3:4–5).
What is the first thing that God revealed about himself to Moses? The first thing that God revealed about himself was his holiness. Here God was obviously calling Moses and desiring him to come close and listen to what he had to say. But the first words Moses heard were: “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals.” And the reason given was that even the ground was holy by virtue of God being in that place. Holiness! That is the first and most important thing that fallen men and women have to learn about the true God, and accompanying that they have to learn that sin bars their access to him. Moses was apparently aware of this instantly, for we read in the next verse: “Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God” (v. 6).
Let me ask in a personal way: Have you ever had the experience of being afraid to look on God because of his holiness and your sin? I do not mean: “Are you always afraid of God?” or “Do you not know that you should be afraid of God?” If you have also believed on Jesus Christ, you have learned that God has made provision to blot out your sin through Christ’s sacrifice and that you can therefore come to him boldly and joyfully on that basis. What I do mean is: Have you ever been really disturbed knowing that you must ultimately deal with One in whom is no sin at all, who cannot tolerate sin in any form and who must judge it? If you have not really known God in that way, then I suggest that in a sense you do not know even the first thing about him, at least not deeply. Consequently, you do not really know much about the depth of your sin or the true measure of God’s great grace.
The second thing that God revealed about himself to Moses was his own knowledge of things or, as we would say in more precise language, his omniscience. In this account God spoke to Moses, Moses hid his face, and then God began to tell what he had seen and heard concerning the condition of the people of Israel in Egypt. “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians.… Now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them” (vv. 7–9). “I have seen.… I have heard.… I am concerned,” and therefore, “I have come”—these are the words God uses. They speak of omniscience. And if Moses did not get the point in this declaration—because he was hiding his face and undoubtedly trembling in his shoeless feet—he soon got it later, for God showed that he knew all about Moses too, his strengths and weaknesses—and about what was coming, for God foretold difficulties, saying that Pharaoh would not willingly consent to Moses’ demands, in fact, that he would strongly resist them and would let go eventually only after God had done many wonders in Egypt.
Why is it important to know this about God? Why is it important to know that he knows everything? The answer is in two areas. First, we must know that God is omniscient so that we will not be tempted to try to fool him with some exalted portrayal of our own deep devotion or loyalty. If we could, we would try to convince God that we are serious about following him when actually we would be going our own way. We would try to appear good, when we are not; loving, when we are actually motivated by hatred or antipathy; humble, when we are filled with pride.
God is not fooled by such things. He is not fooled by anything. Consequently, we are to learn that, whatever our relationships to others may be, our relationships with God must be based on total honesty, as he is honest. We must know that “everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).
The second area in which knowledge of the omniscience of God is important to us concerns our trust in him. If God did not know everything, if something could at any moment rise up to surprise him, then God could not be trusted. For however good his intentions, the unexpected thing might cause him to change his mind or actually change him so that he would no longer be the God we knew originally. His promises could not be trusted, for he might decide to break or change them on the basis of this new knowledge. He might even change his attitude toward us, for we might surprise him by the sin we commit and thus cause him to look upon us with abhorrence or even apathy. If God does not truly know everything, any of this is possible. On the other hand, if God does know all things both in the past and future, then nothing unforeseen can change him. He has seen the end from the beginning. He has taken all into consideration. Nothing we can ever do will surprise him. Thus, his promises can be believed, and he can be trusted to remain the same in himself and toward us forever.
Our Sovereign God
The third thing that Moses learned about God was his sovereignty. This was personal too, for it was expressed to Moses in terms of God’s demand that he return to Egypt with God’s message to Pharaoh: “Let my people go.” Moses did not want to do it. He was like the rest of us who do not want to do anything difficult and who often are content only when God blesses us while allowing us to do nothing. Moses made excuses, but they were not valid. He asked for signs; God provided them. At last God intensified the tone of his orders, and Moses, who eventually ran out of excuses, succumbed.
Have you learned this about God, that the God of the Bible, the true God, is a sovereign God who will be obeyed and who will most certainly see his will rather than ours done in the universe? There is no other God. Any god less than this is not God. So why do we fight him? Why do we find this matter of doing the will of God so unwelcome?
Here we come to the true problem in the knowledge of God, for the problem is not that God has not revealed himself in at least a partial way or that we do not have the physical ability to seek after him for salvation, if we would. The problem is that we do not want to do this, and the reason we do not is that we find the true God, who is there to be known, threatening. His holiness is threatening. His knowledge is threatening. His sovereignty is threatening. All that can be known of God is threatening, profoundly so when we are yet in our sins, but also sometimes even after God has brought us to faith in himself through Jesus Christ.
God knows this. He knows that we do not know him and do not want to know him. Therefore, he has taken steps to reveal himself to us in spite of our sinful dispositions against him. He has done three things.
First, God has revealed himself in history. This special revelation is in addition to that general revelation of himself in nature of which all have an awareness but to which none will respond. This revelation consists of direct supernatural interventions in earthly affairs. In the Old Testament this was centered in God’s actions on behalf of the nation of Israel, in their deliverance, guidance, and preservation. In the New Testament it centers primarily in Jesus, the fullness of God’s personal revelation. This One died for us. He paid the price of our sin. He shows the nature of God to be love, while at the same time he satisfies God’s justice.
Second, God has revealed himself in writing. This has two purposes: one, that we might know what God has done and, two, that we might understand it. We would not even know what Jesus had said, as in the case of this particular text, for example, if God had not caused these things to be put down on paper and be preserved throughout the years of church history to our own generation. Nor would we understand these things, even if they were recorded, had God not given an interpretation along with the facts.
Finally, God also reveals himself to us personally, applying these truths to us by the work of his own Holy Spirit. So great is our sin, so warped our knowledge, that even with the interpretation of his acts in Scripture we would not know God or understand his ways, apart from this activity. What light does this throw on our knowledge? It shows it to be God’s gift, for notice that in John 17:2–3, Jesus speaks, first of all, of his gift of eternal life to as many as God has given him and then, secondly, that this eternal life is to be found in spiritual knowledge. This makes knowledge itself God’s gift. And so it is, for no one would ever know God in the fullest sense unless God first revealed himself and then made the reception of this knowledge possible.
The Relationship He Offers
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (17:3)
In contrast to the pluralistic claims of contemporary religious culture, eternal life comes only to those who know (the Greek word implies not mere intellectual knowledge, but a deep, intimate love relationship; cf. v. 25; 10:14–15, 27) … the only true God (Jer. 10:10; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:20; cf. 1 Cor. 8:6) and that is possible only through Jesus Christ whom He has sent (cf. 5:23, 36, 37; 10:36; 1 John 4:10, 14). As Peter boldly declared to the Jewish leaders, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12; cf. 1 Tim. 2:5).
The essence of eternal life is participation in the blessed, everlasting life of Christ (cf. 1:4) through union with Him (Rom. 5:21; 6:4, 11, 23; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:3–4; 2 Tim. 1:1, 10; Jude 21). It is the life of God in the soul of man (Gal. 2:20). Because believers have Christ’s life in them, they also possess His peace (John 14:27; 16:33; cf. Phil. 4:7), love (John 15:10; cf. Rom. 5:5), and joy (John 15:11). The life that God predetermined to give the redeemed is a life of shared communion with Him.
Eternal life refers to a quality of life, and not just a quantity of life. It is much more than living forever; it is enjoying intimate fellowship with God both now and forever. It cannot be reduced merely to endless existence, since the unredeemed in hell will also live forever (cf. Matt. 25:46 where the same word, aiōnios, describes both the eternal life of the righteous and the eternal punishment of the wicked).
Because eternal life is a quality of life, it is not only a future possession, but also a present reality. In John 5:24 Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God,” John wrote, “so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Thus, believers enjoy eternal life even now as they experience the rich blessings that come through their personal and intimate fellowship with Christ (John 15:1–11; 1 Cor. 1:9; Eph. 1:3; Phil. 3:8–11; 1 John 1:3; 5:20). Of course, they will most fully experience that life in the age to come (Eph. 2:6–7), when they see Christ face-to-face (1 Cor. 13:12) and worship Him in the perfect, unending glory and joy of heaven (Rom. 8:19–23, 29; 1 Cor. 15:49; Phil. 3:20–21; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 22:3–4).
 Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Jn 17:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Do you notice how your spirit is affected by the things you feed into it? We feed our spirit by the things we dwell on in our minds. When doubt, discouragement, depression or fear drags our spirits to the depths… we need to look at what paths our thoughts have been running down.
God knows us so well. He knows the tendency we will have to sometimes settle into the depths of despair. He gives us 5 verses in Psalm 103:1-5 to address this very thing. Turn your thoughts to God’s Word and choose to lift your eyes off yourself and raise them to Heaven.
“Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.”
Sometimes it takes everything in us to turn our eyes to Heaven and to offer the sacrifice of praise from a heavy heart. Yet the benefits will amaze you.
“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”
When our eyes move from our own state of affairs we can look at all God offers us. Listen to the refreshing, life-giving things God asks us not to forget:
Who FORGIVES all your sins
Thank you, Lord, that I am forgiven. Fill me with the wonder of a clean heart. Help me to declare my forgiveness when I am tempted to wallow in the pit of despair over my past, my failures and my weaknesses. I am forgiven!
And HEALS all your diseases
Lord, I bring my aching body to You and ask You to touch me with Your hand of healing. Give me wisdom and understanding of what to do physically. I also bring the diseases of my heart to you. Lord, remove all bitterness and pride and show me the things that erode my spirit.
Who REDEEMS your life from the pit
Lord, I am amazed at the fact that You reach into the pit that I even sometimes dig myself… and You lift me up. You bring beauty out of ashes as I trust in You. You buy back all the broken pieces and give me new life! Thank you!
And CROWNS you with love and compassion
Lord, Your care and tenderness to me is a constant surprise even though I know You love me. Thank you for the attention You give to the details of my life as I offer it to You.
Who SATISFIES your desires with good things
Thank you that Your plans for me are to find my fulfillment in You as I offer myself to You. You made me and You know how to grow me into all I ever wanted to be.
So that your youth is RENEWED like the eagle’s.
Lord, when I see how You forgive me, heal me, redeem my life, crown me with Your love and satisfy me, I am truly renewed in my Spirit.
Lord thank you for this wonderful view of Your desires for me. I WILL praise you with everything that is within me.
“Praise the Lord O my soul, all my inmost being, praise His holy name.” Amen!
“So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.” John 1:39
The past week did not go smoothly for me. I was overwhelmed by some unexpected expenses, a cancelled doctor’s appointment I made months ago, and a disputed bank transaction I never came across before. I went to the Lord for support and insight on how to deal with these problems.
I confess my prayers are more focused and passionate when life gets tough. I seek out God time and again, petitioning him for a way out. However, when everything seems to be going well, I can easily lose sight of God as I immerse myself in the joys and comforts of life.
In John 1, Jesus asked the disciple, “What are you looking for?” His questions are always penetrating. Our Lord is probing their hearts again. Jesus wants to know how they see him in their lives. He hopes to discover faith-filled and devoted followers, not believers who prefer him to be nothing more than a problem solver in their lives.
Do we approach prayer as a relationship with Jesus — a relationship with someone we love and who loves us? Our Savior wants us to know him better. He is a problem solver for sure, but Jesus is much more.
He loves and cares for each of us, listens to our deepest thoughts, fills us with words of hope. Stay with Jesus as you would with your closest friend. Let us imitate the disciples and spend a day with him, thanking and praising Jesus for being much more than just a far-off problem fixer in our lives.
Lord, let me see your love and care for me that it draws me to want to come and stay with you. I want to hear your comforting voice in my heart. I know you are faithful, more faithful than even my closest friend. Amen.
Today as either joy or trial enters your life, take time to share it with Jesus in prayer. If you are able, look at your calendar to block out some time this week to spend a more extended time with God in worship, prayer, and Scripture reading.
Commanded to be imitators of God, we are now being commanded to watch how we walk, not as unwise men, but as wise. As the elect of God, redeemed in Christ, born again of the Spirit, every step must be consistent with who we are as dear children of our heavenly Father. We do not walk in the ways and wisdom of the world. We do not subscribe to the false ideologies of ungodly men.
Rather, as Christians, every step in life is made in submission to the Word and will of God. Every step is made with the intention to fulfill our created purpose, namely to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Yes indeed, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). Psalm 1 calls such a man who walks in the wisdom of the LORD “blessed.”
But notice the urgency, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Redeem the time means to buy back the opportunity to love and serve Christ and His Church. We are to do it now because the number of our days here on earth are short and the days are evil. Given the times in which we now live, let us pursue wisdom, God’s wisdom, that we may reflect the wisdom of God in our daily walk as His dear children, as living witnesses for Christ until He comes again.
Suggestions for prayer
May God by His Spirit lead us and guide us in our daily walk with Him.
Rev. Henry Van Olst felt called to the ministry at the age of 32 after 12 years of working in the accounting field. He served the Parkland Reformed Church (URC) of Ponoka, Alberta from 1993 to 2005; served in several other churches, and upon retirement in 2020 moved back to Ponoka, Alberta along with his wife Mary, to be closer to their four married children and fifteen grandchildren. Rev. Van Olst remains active in preaching and teaching as the church is currently vacant. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.
GPT-3 May Become The AI Disinformation Machine We’ve Always Feared, Study Finds A Georgetown University study has shown how an AI software known as GPT-3 was successfully used to generate strings of “human-like” text, producing disinformation persuasive enough to sway the opinion of its readers on a whole range of political issues. Created in 2015 by its two co-founders Sam Altman and Elon Musk, OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence research center headquartered in San Francisco.
Pair of Massive Portals Allow Instantaneous Communication between European Cities When scanning the day’s headlines, it often seems like race, politics, religious beliefs increasingly separate the world and pretty much everything else. For many, this feeling of isolation only increased under the pressure of a worldwide pandemic, adding to the feeling that humanity was becoming irreversibly fractured. Called ‘pOrtals,’ the installation involves two giant, circular screens [which are eerily reminiscent of the Stargate featured in the TV series and movie of the same name) that employ high-resolution cameras to create a virtual ‘window’ between a pair of European cities nearly 400 miles apart.
NATO warns of threats to security as China ‘rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal’ NATO has addressed China’s military practices for the first time, warning it was creating “systemic challenges” for the transatlantic security alliance. On Monday, the military alliance issued a statement following its summit in Brussels speaking out on Beijing’s assertiveness. The body called on its member nations to challenge China’s political, military and economic stance. The 79-point document warned China was “rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal” and being “opaque in implementing its military modernisation”.
Biden-funded Houthis launch fundraiser to fire missiles at Tel Aviv The terrorist organization has control of northern Yemen but like their Iranian patrons, their scopes are focused on the Jewish state. Despite these threats, the Biden administration is funneling funds to the Houthis while admitting that humanitarian funding can end up being usurped for terrorism.
Schumer slaps ‘retarded’ label on handicapped children Word ‘is considered hate speech because it offends people with intellectual and developmental disabilities’ None of those opinions, however, prevented Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, from using that label, according to the Washington Examiner. He labeled disabled children with the “retard” designation during an interview on a podcast called OneNYCHA.
Three areas of disturbances being monitored BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – JUST two weeks into the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season and already three disturbances are being monitored in various sections of the Western Hemisphere. The first one is expected to fully develop off the coast of the United States and Canada in the coming days.
US Catholic bishops meet amid divisions on Communion policy When U.S. Catholic bishops convene virtually for a national meeting Wednesday, they will be divided ideologically as well as physically. They’re split over whether to press ahead with an initiative that could — at least implicitly — rebuke President Joe Biden for receiving Communion while supporting abortion rights. “There is danger to one’s soul if he or she receives the body and blood of our Lord in an unworthy manner,” Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, one of those advocating for action, asserted recently. He targeted his warning at “those in prominent positions who reject fundamental teachings of the Church and insist that they be allowed to receive Communion.”
New Prime Minister Bennett calls on Israel: Don’t make same mistakes that destroyed Temple Referring to both the first and second Temples, Bennett added: “twice in our history, we lost our national home precisely because the leaders of that generation did not agree.” According to popular Jewish legend, the Second Temple was destroyed by God due to ‘baseless hatred’ whereby the Jewish people conspired against one another out of spite. Bennett’s speech seemed to use that idea as a cautionary tale against further divisions. At one point he even said that it’s the type of thing that can bring down the country. “Twice in our history – the nation of Israel lost the first Temple and the Second Temple precisely because the leaders of that generation couldn’t agree to sit together and compromise”
Some US allies near Russia are wary of Biden-Putin summit Some in the countries that once were part of the Soviet Union or the Moscow-led Warsaw Pact during the Cold War worry that Washington could scale down support for its allies in the region in a bid to secure a more stable and predictable relationship with Russia. “I think there have been doubts as to the resoluteness of the present administration to face Russian aggressive actions in a decisive manner,” said Witold Rodkiewicz, chief specialist on Russian politics at Warsaw’s Center of Eastern Studies, a state-funded think tank that advises the Polish government.
Democrats Enhance Nazi Propaganda Techniques Most readers are likely familiar with the Third Reich’s use of propaganda. And, Joseph Goebbels is as well-known as Adolf Hitler. Below are several sentences that may offer insights into German propaganda between 1933-1945. While Nazi methods and outcome were vastly more deadly and an eviler version of what’s underway in America today, there are parallels between both sets of behaviors.
MASS HYPNOSIS: The disturbing psychology behind the global vaccine SUICIDE CULT The global vaccine suicide cult is very real, and it’s a product of mass hypnosis combined with a widespread desire for self-annihilation. Driven to the point of insanity by crazed culture and the psychological terrorism of the mainstream media, many people are now either consciously or unconsciously seeking to end their own lives — global suicides have skyrocketed since the covid lockdowns began — and now they’ve stumbled upon their final solution: The covid vaccine.
The American president is utterly ill-equipped for the world stage.
It’s not hard to imagine Vladimir Putin and his lieutenants sharing some hearty laughs at our expense. After all, he’s just seen Joe Biden’s embarrassing performance at the G7 summit in Cornwall, England.
Putin is prepping for tomorrow’s one-on-one meeting with Biden, the least formidable U.S. president since Jimmy Carter. (Yeah, we know: Barack Obama was a red-line-erasing pushover. But at least he could string a coherent sentence together when the cameras were rolling.)
Biden is also the most cognitively challenged president since the stroke-addled Woodrow Wilson of a century ago. “The man’s mental capacity is obviously inadequate to fulfill his job responsibilities,” noted Power Line’s John Hinderaker without a hint of humor. “The press can avoid talking about Biden’s rapid decline, but they can’t prevent either our allies or our adversaries from noticing it.”
Ah, yes, our allies. There was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the G7 host, introducing the world leaders at a roundtable discussion, then correcting the American president for having reintroduced the president of South Africa.
And the press. There was Biden, briefly going off-menu to take a question from a reporter who wasn’t on his handler-approved cue card. “When you’re having these conversations,” the reporter began, “with European allies who are very concerned about these [Trump-era] sanctions, how do you justify that? And what are your plans for…”
“A hundred and twenty days,” Biden snapped. “Give me a break. Need time.”
Biden has been president for 145 spirit-sapping days, but who’s counting?
And our adversaries. Fresh off that gaffe-riddled, ultra-embarrassing performance at the G7 summit, Joseph Robinette “Scranton Joe” Biden now heads to Geneva to get rolled by the Russian killer and ex-KGBer.
As the Washington Examiner reports, “The president did say he will ‘make clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can cooperate if he chooses, and if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past, relating to cybersecurity and some other activities, then we will respond in kind.’”
Biden also slammed his domestic political opposition while at the G7, showing that politics don’t necessarily end at the water’s edge. He took a swipe at Donald Trump’s “phony populism,” then said, “The Republican Party is vastly diminished in numbers, the leadership of the Republican Party is fractured, and the Trump wing of the party is the bulk of the party, but it makes up a significant minority of the American people.”
The Republican Party is fractured?
Seventy-four million. That’s how many votes Donald Trump tallied in the 2020 election. And that’s despite all the efforts of the deep-state bureaucrats, the media lickspittles, the academics, the Hollywood ignoramuses, the NBAers, and so many others who did their darnedest to make anyone and everyone hate Trump as much as they do.
To the American people who voted for Biden and the Trump-deranged media that refused to cover him honestly during the campaign: All can say is, We hope you’re happy.
A majority of teachers who know CRT favor it, whereas a majority of parents reject it.
A recent report from the Heritage Foundation has found that a majority of teachers familiar with Critical Race Theory support it, while at the same time a majority of parents are unfamiliar with this ideology. However, of those parents who are familiar with CRT, the majority are either undecided or reject it.
The study observed that 43% of teachers are familiar with CRT and, of those, 55% believe it should be taught in schools. Meanwhile, some 65% of parents are unaware of or unfamiliar with CRT. Adam Kissel, senior fellow at the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia, observed, “A lot of parents and teachers remain unaware of the Critical Race Theory in American classrooms, but that has started to change with the great work of parent organizations such as Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education.” Lack of awareness is where much of the problem lies.
In fact, we’d question whether most of the teachers who “support” CRT actually understand it. Either way, it’s dangerous.
While ignorance may be bliss, at least for a time, the ramifications of this ignorance have started hitting Americans and parents specifically in ways they may never have imagined. In short, we’re witnessing a new generation that has been groomed to essentially hate America and what it stands for. In schools across the nation, children are being indoctrinated by a “social justice” worldview that condemns America as a “systemically racist” nation developed primarily to promote a system of perpetual white supremacy.
“Fundamentally,” argues National Review’s Michael Brendan Dougherty, “the conflict is about whether students should be educated to have an allegiance to the historic American nation and its institutions, or whether they should be educated to have an allegiance to a notion of ‘justice’ and to an egalitarian ethic that fundamentally seeks to critique those institutions, radically reform them, or replace them altogether.”
We have noted that parents are beginning to awaken to the “woke” ideology of CRT being propagated in their local schools and are starting to speak out against it. Loudoun County, Virginia, is one recent example. The difficulty is the increasingly prevalent dynamic in which teachers, specifically represented by their unions, have become increasingly antagonistic toward parents and their concerns. When parents voice their objections to CRT, the common response from the teachers unions is to assert that parents really don’t understand it and are being misled by right-wing conspiracists.
Yet as the Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke notes, “One of the big take-aways from this survey is the need for transparency around what is taught in taxpayer-funded K-12 schools across the country.” She adds, “Too often, it is difficult for parents to get clear information about the curriculum and materials employed in their children’s schools.”
The Heritage study puts it this way: “Young Americans are taught not to be proud of their country, but to see it as an oppressor. In order to reverse this destructive and dangerous trend, it is essential that schools teach America’s founding principles, while at the same time build strong relationships between parents and teachers.” This requires parents to educate themselves on CRT with its Marxist ethic and intentionally destructive agenda. It also may necessitate that parents remove their children from schools that have so embraced CRT as to become little other than centers for “woke” indoctrination.
The fact of the matter is that CRT is the front line of the culture war that is raging across this nation, and the leftist proponents of CRT are targeting America’s youth to indoctrinate and to add to their ranks.
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The evidence points to a Wuhan lab, not a wet market, as the source of the pandemic.
When news of a novel coronavirus out of Wuhan, China, first began making the headlines early last year, the theory of its origin was quickly tied to a local wet market in which exotic meats were sold. The fact that some Chinese cuisine — like bat soup — seems rather strange to Western sensibilities served to make more plausible the entirely natural origin of the virus.
That bats were quickly associated with the wet market origin theory was an easy assumption due to the fact that bats are notorious carriers of coronaviruses. Furthermore, it served Beijing to have the focus of a suddenly spreading potential pandemic — along with any culpability — directed at nature instead of the ChiCom regime. It’s almost as if it were planned that way.
Of course, once the wet market theory became orthodoxy, any questions or suggestions to the contrary were deemed as the insane conspiracy theory ramblings of the tinfoil hat club. Leftmedia outlets refused to cover the lab theory without adding supposedly discrediting qualifiers, and social media outlets suppressed and blocked all such content. It got so bad that, now, even a few members of the mainstream media are admitting that their rabid opposition to Donald Trump so clouded their judgment that they essentially stopped doing their jobs, instead reflexively rejecting any information he presented out of spite. That was deadly behavior.
The press ran from the lab leak theory in part because some people had speculated about COVID being a manufactured super-virus or bioweapon, rather than the result of the Wuhan lab studying (or conducting gain-of-function research on) a naturally occurring virus found in bats that had led to the deaths of three Chinese miners in 2013. The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in 2016 released a report regarding its study of the virus that had killed and sickened the miners, noting that there were several variants of bat-caused coronaviruses:
We found a high frequency of infection by a diverse group of coronaviruses in different bat species in the mineshaft. … The surveillance identified two unclassified betacoronaviruses, one new strain of SARS-like coronavirus, and one potentially new betacoronavirus species. Furthermore, coronavirus co-infection was detected in all six bat species, a phenomenon that fosters recombination and promotes the emergence of novel virus strains.
The fact that a Biosafety Level Four lab, the highest level of safety and security, just happened to be studying bat-based coronaviruses in the very city from which the novel virus emerged — Wuhan — should have piqued everyone’s attention. Not only that, but it was discovered, albeit not widely reported at the time, that the Wuhan wet market did not sell bat meat.
In other words, the notion that the wet market where no bats were sold or eaten was the point of origin for a bat-based coronavirus seemed dubious.
There was also a 2018 memo from Jamison Fouss and Rick Switzer, members of the U.S. consul general in Wuhan, expressing concerns over the WIV: “During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.”
But for the Leftmedia’s Trump Derangement Syndrome, these factors may have garnered deserved focus and turned the public’s attention onto the Wuhan lab, where it should have been from the beginning. Of course, the lab leak theory still remains a theory — and one into which Beijing will do everything in its power to obstruct any serious examination. See the joke that was WHO’s “investigation.”
Yet some of us won’t be fooled. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is one of them. “It’s not close in terms of which is more credible,” he says. “The lab leak is significantly more credible than the zoonotic transmission theory at this point.”
Now that compelling circumstantial evidence has continued to point more strongly to a lab leak, G7 leaders are calling for another WHO-led investigation. Yet, as the Wall Street Journal editorial board observes, “Why does anyone think a ‘Phase 2’ probe would have any more access and do any better under the auspices of a WHO that remains heavily compromised on China?” Why indeed.
When our government offers up free money, we shouldn’t be surprised if the crooks beat us to it.
The least we could’ve done was set up this money-grab so good ol’ American crooks could steal the taxpayers’ money. Instead, it appears we shipped these lucrative jobs overseas.
“Unemployment fraud surged during the coronavirus pandemic,” reports Fox Business, “with billions of dollars likely ending up in the hands of foreign crime syndicates based in China, Russia and other countries, experts say.”
Total damage? Around $400 billion lost to fraud, according to estimates.
We get it. When one’s country is more than $28 t-t-t-trillion in debt (that’s $85 thousand per citizen, $226 thousand per taxpayer), one tends to become indifferent to stories about fraud, waste, and abuse. But the amount we’re talking about here is hardly chump change. Indeed, $400 billion is nearly four times the annual budget of Texas, more than 10 times the annual budget of Tennessee, and about 80 times the annual budget of South Dakota.
The U.S. treasury must look like prime rib to these fraudsters, given that one of the most noticeable characteristics of our bloated bureaucracy is its incompetence. After all, when a schlub can’t possibly be fired for poor performance, he tends to pursue the path of least resistance.
Hmm … this here claim seems kinda fishy. But not fishy enough.
Still, even the most competent and conscientious of agencies would’ve been overwhelmed by the perfect storm of pandemic shutdowns, pandemic stimulus, and pandemic unemployment claims that hit the states last April. The graph below, built by Axios using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, gives us a good sense of the weekly claims onslaught.
Thus, with state agencies overwhelmed by requests for free money, is it any wonder that fraudsters foreign and domestic had a field day? Unemployment fraud was never as lucrative as, say, healthcare fraud, but all that changed last year. Now scammers steal or trick us into allowing them access to our personal info, then they use it to make fraudulent claims. Simple. And with President Joe Biden still paying people not to work, and still spending money faster than his presses can print it, is there any end in sight?
“In the most predictable story of the Covid era,” writes the Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman, “it turns out that federal relief programs have been plagued with fraud and abuse. As for waste, well, that was always sort of the point. Shutting down much of the economy and attempting to replace it with federal spending, borrowing and money creation is not a strategy for productivity.”
The Biden administration was, predictably, quick to point the finger. “Widespread fraud at the state level in pandemic unemployment insurance during the previous administration is one of the most serious challenges we inherited,” said White House economist Gene Sperling, who also coordinates the so-called “White House American Rescue Plan.”
Right, Gene. “This is a howler,” as Freeman notes, “as if candidate Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress spent 2020 seeking to block Covid spending bills because they lacked robust accounting systems. In 2021, Mr. Biden enacted nearly $2 trillion in additional Covid-related spending even after it was clear the plan was no longer needed.”
James Madison would’ve seen this coming. “I cannot undertake,” he said, “to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
Sometimes, the most basic constitutional principles are the toughest to abide by.
The way the illegally obtained info was handled by Big Tech was once again hypocritical.
Grassroots Patriots have many reasons to doubt that the 2020 election was fair. One of the biggest reasons are the actions of Silicon Valley titans, whose campaign of censorship was a massive in-kind contribution to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. The most notable was the way social media throttled the New York Post’s bombshells surrounding Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Well, the recent leak of tax data from some of America’s richest has revealed the double standard again.
While this leak, which is politically helpful to the Left, is one more reason to question just how politicized the Internal Revenue Service has become, it should be noted that such leaks are illegal. Twitter, though, has let ProPublica keep posting the data, even though its story was based on an illegal leak of confidential and protected tax records — the very kind of thing Twitter ostensibly bans.
We’ve discussed how double standards erode confidence in the best of circumstances, and how they are metastasizing into a two-tiered system of rules. This ProPublica stunt also reveals a blatant double standard — and it is one that can and should be used to hold Silicon Valley accountable.
Let’s face it: Facebook, Twitter, and Google are, if not outright monopolies, at least ever-present. Google, Apple, and Amazon have reached a point where they were able to force Parler to choose between destruction or bending the knee. Tech companies like Facebook already have much to answer for when it comes to their part in not just the COVID cover-up but in trying to squelch debate over the lockdowns while “science” played favorites.
Anthony Fauci might have a huge paycheck, but he is still part of the federal government, and if Facebook and other social media companies blocked certain comments on the coronavirus at his behest, then there are very grave First Amendment implications involved. If Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were coaxed, cajoled, bribed, or threatened by government officials into silencing opposing viewpoints, then there is an ample body of First Amendment case law that can be cited, and Section 230 isn’t relevant for that.
Grassroots Patriots also know that this is not a one-time occurrence. Whether it’s been civility, norms and standards, or even how members of Congress conduct themselves (Maxine Waters can threaten a riot while Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib can be Hamas cheerleaders, but somehow we’re supposed to believe Marjorie Taylor Greene is the big threat to democracy), double standards are becoming the norm.
The thing is, as we have noted before, these double standards and censorship are not winning over any converts. They are not convincing a single Trump voter that Trump was wrong. Because truth will eventually come out one way or another, and sooner or later, double standards eventually crumble. The only question will be whether it will be the easy way or the hard way.
Editor’s Note: Each week we receive hundreds of comments and correspondences — and we read every one of them. Click here for a few thought-provoking comments about specific articles. The views expressed therein don’t necessarily reflect those of The Patriot Post.
Insight: “The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted.” —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799)
Re: The Left: “Why does critical race theory peddle bigoted and obviously false assumptions about individuals based on their skin color? Not pure racial hatred. Racialism is a tactic, a tool used by critical race theorists to tear down American institutions. Their aims: abolish the nuclear family, abolish gender, defund the police, abolish the border, abolish prisons, abolish the Senate, abolish the Electoral College, abolish ICE, abolish voter ID, abolish capitalism, abolish private/charter schools, abolish religious freedom, abolish free speech, abolish rights, abolish objective truth, abolish reality. Sound familiar? Democratic political agenda items are textbook critical race theory. We should reject its reduction of people to the color of their skin. It’s a tool with a dangerously clear purpose: to impose simple, unadulterated Marxism in the United States of America. We must overwhelmingly reject it in its entirety on the basis of what it really is.” —Liz Wheeler
Food for thought: “I’m finding increasingly in my travels that with regard to the matter of professing believers in Christ understanding (or not) Critical Race Theory, the greater concern is not that they don’t understand Critical Race Theory, but that they don’t understand the gospel.” —Darrell B. Harrison
For the record: “A remarkable sequence from Joe Biden this week on investigating COVID-19 origins. He cancels an independent probe last week… and now this week announces he wants a G7 investigation led by the WHO, who blatantly covered for China’s lies and cost millions of lives. Outrageous.” —Mark Meadows
Non compos mentis: “We all need to look at one another and ask ourselves, ‘What do we need to do better next time?’ And in many respects, being able to sacrifice a little bit for one another to get through this and to save more lives [is] going to be essential. And it’s something that I think we all could have done a little bit better on.” —ex-COVID adviser Andy Slavitt (Because literally shutting down a huge portion of the economy and being confined to our homes for months on end wasn’t sacrificial enough…)
Globalist birds of a feather: “It’s great to have a U.S. president who’s part of the club and willing to cooperate.” —French President Emmanuel Macron
Greasing the skids: “I don’t give up on Joe Manchin [who put a fork in the Dems’ HR 1 power grab]. When he was governor and secretary of state in West Virginia, he initiated many of the initial ideas that are in … the For the People Act.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Lack of self-awareness: “Republicans across the country are undermining our democracy, suppressing the vote, ignoring the sanctity of the vote which is the basis for our democracy. We cannot let that stand.” —Nancy Pelosi
The BIG Lie: “We need to talk about Jan. 6. I’m talking about Jan. 6, 2025. That’s when the U.S. Congress will meet to certify the winner of the 2024 presidential election. ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ was a recent TV crime show. As the 2024 race approaches, the Trump-GOP’s current weekly drama is titled ‘How to Get Away with Murdering Democracy.’” —Juan Williams
And last… “AOC says HR 1 must be passed because it’s not enough for Democrats to ‘rely solely on a wish of winning elections.’ To be clear, is AOC suggesting that HR 1 would guarantee Democrats winning elections?” —Charlie Kirk
On Newswatch AM June 15th: Southern Baptists hold annual convention, to deal with explosive issues; President Biden wraps up meetings with NATO leaders, focusing on China & Russia, before his summit the Vladimir Putin; and more…
Christine Caine makes today’s installment as number 24 on the list in our False Teacher of the Day series as she is one of the most popular public speakers among both men and women in the seeker-sensitive Evangelical activism movement.
Caine is a “pastor” of a Church that gives so many false hope. (I put that in scare quotes because there is no such thing as a female pastor.) Hillsong Church is a subversive distraction from the true Bride of Christ. It is designed by Satan to turn people away from God by appealing to man’s carnal desires and is basically a dog-and-pony show with music that ranks not only on the top of Christian charts but secular. That alone should say something. The world loves Hillsong, but God does not.
Caine is a traveling social justice activist and Word of Faith preacher who is very close to other false teachers including Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, and Priscilla Shirer, and she is the founder of Propel Women, an organization designed to platform rebellious lady-preachers at preaching conferences.
The “Pro-Speech Act” may not be perfect, but it has been long in coming from a Congress that has bad-mouthed Big Tech while doing nothing to reign it in. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) aims to change that. Technocrats have relied on Big Tech to suppress any criticism of their globalist plans and ambitions. ? TN Editor
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, introduced a bill aimed at curbing tech censorship called the PRO-SPEECH Act last week.
The bill would establish baseline protections to prohibit Big Tech from engaging in unfair, deceptive, or anti-competitive practices that limit or control consumers’ speech.
The bill draws a strict distinction between publishers and platforms, requiring that platforms abide by a series of rules regarding access to the service.
According to a press release from Sen. Wicker’s office, the bill aims to:
Preserve consumers’ ability to access lawful content, applications, services, or devices, so long as they do not interfere with an internet platform’s functionality or pose a data privacy or data security risk to a user.
Prohibit internet platforms from taking any actions against users based on racial, sexual, religious, partisan, or ethnic grounds.
Prohibit large internet platforms from blocking or discriminating against competing internet platforms by declaring such actions presumptively anti-competitive.
Require an internet platform to disclose to the public accurate information regarding the platform management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of service of any app store, cloud computing service, operating system, search engine, or social media network it owns; and
Authorize the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the Act under Section 5 of the FTC Act notwithstanding any other provision of law.
“The big social media companies continue to abuse their market power by censoring content, suppressing certain viewpoints, and prioritizing favored political speech,” said Sen. Wicker in a statement.