Let us never forget that the essence of the Way is the knowledge of God. Any hint to the contrary ought to be promptly rejected. By knowledge is meant both knowing about God and knowing God intimately. One can have the former without the latter, but never the latter without the former. Mystics might affirm communion without the facts, and postmodernists may think relationship possible without objective truth, because they place religion on separate plane from normal life, but the incarnation of Jesus Christ sweeps away their fuzziness.
The wisdom of God has been brought down to earth. Of course, it was always practical, always present for man to grasp, but in the Lord Jesus it was internalized and manifested in a new way. God’s word has always been sharp, clear, and pragmatic. His counsel to Cain, early on in human history, serves as a prime example.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast? Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.” Genesis 4.6.
Note how God deals his wisdom out in fine fashion:
- God notes future unpleasant consequences as a result of bad emotions that will lead to wrong decisions.
- God notes what is true and right. He deals with objective truth and sweeps away justifications. He establishes between what is right and what is not.
- God urges right choices and points out moral obligations to “subdue” sin.
- God notes the existence of sin as a personal, dangerous force to be dealt with.
- God questions motivations and probes the source of negative emotions.
- God seeks the good of man, wanting him to be “fine.” His word promotes man’s well-being. His very first words to man was blessing. The last Word also blesses, John 1.1-4, 14-17.
“Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God” 1 Corinthians 1.24. He provides ability and clarity. He brings us effective forgiveness of sin and the full brightness of divine light to guide our way. In spite of God’s counsel, Cain chose disaster and killed his brother, but Christ brought salvation and gives life to his brothers.
Christ makes known the Father to us, John 1.18. His purpose may be expressed as bringing God to our lives, Acts 2.38, or bringing us to God.
Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit, 1 Peter 3.18.
Notice these important points from this verse:
- Christ’s suffering is the basis and justification for our own suffering in this life, v. 17.
- Christ’s work was once for all. He suffered once. His work is sufficient and powerful to care for our needs.
- Our problem is our sins. We are unjust. We are dead in sins and deserve eternal death. We are separated from God.
- Christ is the Just one. He died the death we deserved. So he died in our place. His death was substitutionary.
- The experience of the flesh and the spirit are on two different planes. Let us not equate our earthly experience with our spiritual reality.
- Christ brings us to God. This is the object and result of his death. God desires to be present in our lives.
Many concepts describe what Christ accomplished on the cross. An important one is reconciliation. Christ made peace between God and us. This was God’s own initiative. He settled all accounts.
The Way is to know God. Christ is the Way. Through him we reach God. To go to him is to know God. This, above all smart things in this life we can do, is the ultimate wisdom.