When I was converted to Christianity in my senior year of Highschool I had the belief that Christianity was merely knowing the truth of the gospel. I thought that claiming the name of Jesus was nothing more than knowing what is true, fixing up your life to be more moral, and attending church. While my belief has certainly changed over time as Christ is being formed in me, I fear that too many in and outside of the church have this same belief system.
Many people think that Christianity is just knowing truth. While this is part of Christianity, for none can be set free without knowing the truth (John 8:32), it is not the whole. Paul hints at this in his prayer in Ephesians 3.
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
(Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV)
What is Paul praying? While I could write a whole book on Paul's prayer recorded here (D.A. Carson did), I want to zone in on one aspect of it. Look at verse 16 with me: "that according to the riches of his glory that he may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being." Paul is praying for power as he often does. For what purpose, you ask? "and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (v. 19). D.A. Carson said this about v. 19:
"In a culture where so many people are desperate for good health but not demonstrably hungry for the transformation of the inner being, Christians are in urgent need of following Paul's example and praying for displays of God's power in the inner being. In short, Paul's primary concern is to pray for the power of God to work mightily in the domain of our being in such a way that it controls our character and prepares us for heaven."
What does all of this mean? Christianity is made up of men and women who know the truth of Christ and who embody the truth of Christ. It is impossible to be a Christian by just mere knowledge. The devil himself can recite the Apostles' Creed, and doubtless confesses its truth, yet he has personally experienced nothing of its transforming power. God's purpose for the men and women he redeems is not that they merely know truth, but that they embody it as the increase in their knowledge of it.
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church, reader of many books, and tweeter at @brad_merchant.