Tag Archives: Knowledge

The Incarnate Wisdom

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“The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” (Proverbs 8:22-23)

The book of Proverbs repeatedly extols the virtues of true wisdom, founded on the fear of the Lord. In the eighth chapter, however, beginning at verse 22, the theme changes, retreating far back in time to creation itself, and even before.

The statements in the next ten verses, especially, must be of an actual divine Person. From the New Testament perspective, especially with John 1:1-14 as the definitive exposition, it becomes clear that the divine wisdom of Proverbs 8:22-31 is none other than the incarnate Word of John’s prologue.

The Lord Jesus Christ, indeed, fits perfectly all the statements in this particular section of Proverbs, which then gives marvelous new insight into the events of creation and the divine fellowship in the Godhead before the creation.

Note that in these first two verses, the Lord’s “ways” were prior to His “works” and that He “possessed” His Son “from everlasting.” This is the profound doctrine of “eternal generations,” whereby the Son is “brought forth” continually from the Father, forever manifesting Him in His creation.

The New Testament makes it plain that Jesus Christ is, indeed, the incarnate wisdom of God. He is the “Word” by whom all things were made (John 1:1-3). He is “the truth” (John 14:6) and “the light” (John 8:12) by whom alone men can come to God and follow Him. He is called “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” in 1 Corinthians 1:24, and He called Himself “the wisdom of God” in Luke 11:49.

All of the vaunted knowledge of the world’s thinkers and scientists is empty and futile apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, for in Him alone are found “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). HMM

If You Possess These Things

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“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8)

In this first chapter of Peter’s last epistle, he refers to “these things” (one word in the Greek) no less than six times. That they are extremely important things is evident from our text, but if these things are lacking, one is spiritually blind and has forgotten what Christ did for him in salvation (v. 9). However, if he does “these things,” he will never fall (v. 10).

What then are the things which Peter stresses so urgently? Verse 8 makes it obvious that they constitute simply the hierarchical catalog of Christian attributes listed in verses 6 and 7—that is, faith, virtue (strength of character), knowledge, temperance (self control), patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (unselfish love).

The same word is used in verse 4, where it explains how we are enabled to acquire these traits of Christian character. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these [‘by these things’] ye might be partakers of the divine nature.”

When these things characterize our lives, we become nothing less than Christlike. He, in His humanity, was all these things as He shared our nature, and we have become partakers of His divine nature when we manifest them.

The wonderful thing is that they are all mediated to us through the gracious promises of the Word of God. God promises, we believe, and then receive! There is an effectual promise for the achievement of each stage in the growth of a Christlike character. Indeed, as Peter had already said by way of introduction, “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). HMM

Pride Goes Before Destruction

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“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

This is the middle verse of the entire book of Proverbs, and, in view of the obviously structured original verse divisions throughout the book, it may well have been divinely designed as such. In any case, the sin of pride is so deadly, it is appropriate that a solemn warning concerning it should be placed here right at the heart of God’s book of true wisdom.

The sin of pride was the primeval sin of Satan: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28:17). It was the sin by which Satan led Adam and Eve to fall. “Ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5), he had said.

It is always the “easily besetting” sin of Christian leaders, especially those who have assumed such leadership prematurely. “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). Even Jesus was 30 years old before He began to teach.

Though pride is not named as such in the Ten Commandments, in reality it is implied in the very first one. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). The essence of all false religion is evolutionary humanism—worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator (Romans 1:25).

Pride and unbelief are two sides of the same coin. When men and women refuse the word of their Creator, it is fundamentally because they want to be their own “gods,” as did Adam and Eve.

Human pride is the hidden root of humanism, and of evolutionism, and of “every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is the very essence of the sin nature which we have inherited from our first parents.

How carefully we need to guard against this secret sin of pride. If we do not, it will inevitably lead to humiliation and defeat. HMM

In Him There is no Darkness

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“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

Light is the most fundamental and important form of energy, and energy includes every phenomenon in the physical universe. It is appropriate for John to affirm that God is light, because everything created must reflect the character of its Creator. The term “light,” therefore, has come to be applied not only to light in the physical sense, but also to that which is true in the intellectual realm, and holy in the moral realm as well.

In terms of truth and genuine knowledge, “the entrance of thy words giveth light” (Psalm 119:130). “In thy light shall we see light” (Psalm 36:9).

Without God’s truth, there is only darkness. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

The Bible also speaks of light as moral holiness. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. . . . And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:8, 11).

There are still other analogies:

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Not only is light symbolic of life itself, but it also depicts God’s daily guidance for our lives. “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Since there is no darkness in God, “if we walk in the light as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7), there remains no excuse for any darkness in our lives.

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). HMM

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