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Pastor's Corner: Grace through acquaintance

 

Last updated 1/6/2023 at 11:30am

In my morning devotion this past week, I came across a quote by A.W. Tozer, which read, "Personal experience must always be first in real life. Knowledge by acquaintance is always better than knowledge by description."

Those who are blessed with vision are acquainted with the beauty of a sunset or the grandeur of a mountain landscape; however, these things can only be described to those who were born with the inability to see. The same truth applies to all things we experience through our physical senses, but it is also true of those things we experience in the spirit.

There are those in the Christian faith who have been comforted by God's word and His promises while enduring extreme hardship or sorrow. They are acquainted with "the peace of God that surpasses all understanding" (Phillipians 4:7). This is something they have experienced for themselves, but they can only describe this peace to others. Conversely, there are many who can quote scripture and give detailed explanations of a biblical passage, but have never been moved in their hearts by what the passage means to them.

I believe this is why so many are walking away from biblical Christianity. Many who are raised in the church learn the stories of the Bible, but the truths that those stories convey are never personalized. This is knowledge by description. However, when biblical truth becomes real within a person's inner being, it transforms their knowledge into acquaintance. This is why preachers often say that a Christian must foster a personal relationship with Christ, because only in a personal relationship does His love become experience.

My life changed over 30 years ago when I was introduced to the truth of Christ's atoning death. This was a message that I had heard most of my life, but it wasn't until I personally realized my need for this atonement that it became real to me. Thus, I learned the difference between the knowledge of grace described, and the knowledge of grace through acquaintance.

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Christopher Richards

Pastor, Immanuel Church

 

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