“We know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20)
On a few occasions I have seen cars with the following sign in their rear window;
“No Jesus, no life
Know Jesus, know life”
This statement matches the several that John makes regarding an intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In chapter two of the same letter, verses three and four, John declares that a person who is in such a relationship with Jesus Christ will be keeping His commandments. This should not be interpreted as slavishly obeying a set of rules externally as we do with our nation’s laws. This kind of obedience comes from a desire within to bring pleasure to the one we love.
John also makes several other references to “knowing” Him in his Gospel. There is one important negative statement in Matthew’s Gospel in this matter. Speaking of people who outwardly appeared to know Him because they preached and did miracles in His name, Jesus says that they had not entered into this intimate relationship of “knowing” Him and in spite of their activities they are rejected. They had not received and entered into a relationship with Jesus who is eternal life (Matthew 7:21-23).
The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ defines the gap between heaven and hell in terms of an intimate relationship with Himself ought to be sufficient evidence for anyone since all judgment has been given to Him (John 5:22).
If we want to know about someone, we read their biography but if we want to know them intimately we will have to live with them. This is true of all relationships. It is through sharing lives that intimacy grows. This equally applies in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Many people know about Jesus, perhaps quite a bit, because they have read and studied the Bible. They may even have developed a strong attachment to the image of Jesus that is formed in their mind from this knowledge and believe they are Christians. But Jesus has made it clear that this is insufficient for salvation and entrance into His everlasting presence. Intellectual knowledge only may lead to a moral but legalistic life.
Philip and the other disciples of Jesus had been with Him for some time when Philip asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus’ response is helpful with our present subject, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:8, 9). It is the time that the disciples had been with Jesus and the activities that they had shared with Him that brought about revelation and intimacy. It will be the same for us. We will grow in intimacy when we spend time with Jesus and we share lives with Him.