Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. (Galatians 4:8-11)
There is a profound difference between knowing about someone and truly knowing them. I know about Barack Obama, but I do not know him. I know about many of the readers of this blog, but I do not really know them. To “know” someone implies a personal relationship based on experience and interaction.
In the same way, millions know about God without knowing Him as described in His book. The natural result of this vacuum in relation to the Creator? Slavery to idols, dependence upon unstable philosophies, and construction on faulty foundations. They do not know God and are not known by Him. As a perfectly holy Being, He “gives them up” to their wickedness and rebellion (Romans 1:24-25).
But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. We can “come to know God” just as surely as the men and women throughout ancient Galatia did. We must turn away from the “weak and worthless elementary principles of the world” and turn to “Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:1-6).
You can be free from the bondage of sin. You can become a “slave of righteousness” (Romans 6:16-18). To be a faithful bondservant of God is to be known by Him. To be known by Him is to be a son of God. “And if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:6-7). Miss that, and you will have missed it all.