The Omniscience of God
Tim Temple

Introduction

God has revealed a lot of things about Himself, things that we can know. We ought to know all that we can know about our great God. Daniel writes that the people who know their God shall be strong and do great exploits for Him, and we want to be that kind of people.

Most of us feel pretty intimidated when we are in the presence of people who know more than we do, don't we? We are a little nervous around people like that. By the same token we don't like people who try to make us think that they know more than they do, or what's worse, make us think they know more than we do. We don't like those kinds of people.

Another aspect of knowledge is demonstrated by the story of the wealthy grandfather who was extremely deaf. Finally, after years of pleading by his family, he visited a hearing specialist. He was fitted with a powerful hearing aid. After a few weeks he went back to the specialist for a checkup, and the specialist checked his hearing. He was very pleased with what he saw. He asked the grandfather, “Well, how are you enjoying this?” “Oh, it's a wonderful thing.” “How does your family like it. I bet they are glad that you can hear again, aren't they?” The grandfather said, “You know, I haven't told my family yet. I have just had so much fun sitting around listening to their conversation without them knowing that I can hear. In fact, I have changed my will five times since I got this hearing aid.” You know, that is a very important aspect of knowledge, isn't it? We react differently when we know how much another person knows about us. In fact, someone said, “It's not what you know; it's not even who you know; it's what you know about who you know.”

God's Complete Knowledge

Knowledge is a very, very important part of our human existence and human relationships. That is what we want to talk about—not just our knowledge, but God's knowledge. God's knowledge is an omniscient knowledge. Omniscience is two words put together. Omni , meaning “all,” and science meaning “knowledge,” or “to study.” We want to talk today about God's knowledge, about God's complete knowledge—God's omniscience.

In the study of theology there are three omnis about God: omniscience, omnipotence, which means “all-powerful,” and omnipresence, which means “being everywhere present.” In the next few weeks we will be looking at those aspects of God also, but today we want to think about the matter of God's knowledge and how that relates to us and how we ought to react to that. It is something that on first hearing makes us nervous, to think that God knows everything.

There are some interesting passages of Scripture that tell us that we can actually take comfort in God's knowledge of us. The first thing that we want to think about is the perfection of God's knowledge, as it is recorded here in Isaiah, chapter 40, and in other places. For the moment we want to look at Isaiah, chapter 40, verses 13-14:

Isaiah 40

13Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
14With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

The first implication of these verses is that God knows everything. Those verses speak very clearly about the fact that nobody has had to teach God anything; He knows everything. We will study more about the extent of His knowledge later, but the second implication is that God has always had knowledge. The perfection of God's knowledge indicates that He does know and that He always has known everything there is to know. It is important to know that God is not just learning. You know, there are teachers who stay a lesson or two ahead of the students; they study as they go. You don't have to worry about the fact that God simply knows more than you do in the sense that He is a lesson or two ahead of us. No, God knows everything. He always has known everything.

Tony Evans, who is a pastor of a large church in Dallas and has written a book on this subject, says that the literal translation of verse 14 is: “Where did God go to school? Who has taught God anything?” A.W. Tozier is another commentator I have consulted in this study of the characteristics of God. He is an Englishman, and he says in a more restrained way, “Can you imagine God sitting at anyone's feet to learn?” You see, God is not a student. God doesn't have to sit down and learn something so that He will be able to know how to teach us. God knows everything.

In fact, if you think about it, if there was someone from whom God could learn, then that one would be God, because God can't be God without knowing everything. If there is anyone who knows more than God does, then that is the person who we need to honor and worship as God. If God doesn't know everything, then He isn't God. But the record of the Scripture over and over again is that God does know everything, and He always has known everything. That is a part of the essence of His nature as God; He knows everything. He originated all knowledge.

The Perfection of God's Knowledge

God's knowledge is completely different from our knowledge as humans. The Scripture says that men are ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of truth. It specifically says that about false teachers, but it is true of all of us. One of the major things about an education is that the more we learn, the more we learn there is to learn. If you have finished the first grade you know that the more you know, the more there is to know. We learn a great deal and then we realize that it is only the beginning, but God's knowledge is a complete knowledge. God's knowledge does not indicate further study that needs to be done.

God has always known everything, but at the same time that doesn't mean that we should be intimidated by that. Our limited knowledge is something that frustrates us and limits us, but when we hear that God has knowledge that is so much greater than ours, our tendency is to think, “How could God have anything to do with me? If He knows everything and everybody, how could He keep track of me?” The wonderful truth is—the Scripture tells us over and over—that God knows us personally.

Something we have to keep in mind, as we think about this omniscience of God, is that God lives in what I call the eternal present. God lives in the present tense at all times. That means that when God's attention is directed upon you or upon me, He doesn't have to stop and think, “Let me see. How long has this person lived since Abraham?” He doesn't have to sort things out back through the past. He doesn't have to flip through His mental checklist to see where we fit into the plans. He lives in the eternal present, and what you are going through right now, and what I am going through right now is currently present in God's mind just as what Abraham went through five or six thousand years ago was currently present in God's mind. He doesn't have to sort out into the future and think how these people living in this church are different from the people that will be living in the Millennium. It is all present tense with God.

Even though God knows all of this, we are going to see some wonderful Scriptures that talk about God's personal knowledge of you and me. He doesn't have to keep track of you as compared to some of the Christians who lived in the first century or people who will live in the future. He is personally, presently, consciously aware of everything that is going on in your life and mine right now. These are the perfections of God's knowledge. It is perfect knowledge in the sense that it includes everything. It is perfect knowledge in the sense that it includes everything as a present tense kind of knowledge. It is a perfect knowledge.

No Boundaries On God's Knowledge

Another thing that we want to think about is the parameters of God's knowledge. Most of you are familiar with the word parameters . It means “the outer boundary of God's knowledge.” The perimeter describes the circumference of a thing, but parameters is a word that refers to the outer boundaries. How far does God's knowledge go? The Scripture speaks to that. Look at Acts, chapter 15, verse 18:

Acts 15

18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

All of His works, God has always known. His knowledge extends to everything that He has created, everything that He has done, and extends, timewise, to the beginning of everything.

I John, chapter 3, verse 20 says:

I John 3

20For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

Did you know that God knows what is going on in your heart right now? Some of you may have doubts about God. You may have doubts about the love of God or the goodness of God or the wisdom of God because of things that are going on in your life. The parameters of God's knowledge extend even to the fact that He knows all things. He knows our hearts, and He is greater than our hearts. Another verse that speaks to the parameters of God's knowledge is Isaiah, chapter 46, verse 10. This verse says:

Isaiah 46

10Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

God knows the end from the beginning. His knowledge extends time-wise. His knowledge extends from the personal standpoint to the limits of everything that can be known about you, about our universe, about our nation, about our church, or any subject that you can think about. God knows from beginning to end all that can be known about any of those things.

Knowledge That Includes Purpose

The extent of the parameters of God's knowledge is shown in the purposes that He has. Look at Jeremiah, chapter 1, verse 5. Here God is speaking to Jeremiah, and Jeremiah is repeating it to the people:

Jeremiah 1

5Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

God's knowledge is not just empty knowledge. God's knowledge is not just a static situation; it is a knowledge that includes the purpose in the lives of individuals and in the creation of the world. In everything that God does, He has a purpose, and a demonstration of that purpose is here in Jeremiah where Jeremiah said that God had purposed for Jeremiah to be a prophet even before he was born. Another passage along that same line is Galatians, chapter 1, verses 15-16. Paul was writing about this same subject, and he said:

Galatians 1

15But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
16To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

One of the reasons that I love Paul is that he was a lot like me. He meanders way off the subject of what he originally started out to say, and he includes a lot of other things. What he is saying in Galatians, chapter 1, is, “God called me to be an apostle to the Gentiles.” He is telling the Galatians what he did when he realized God had called him, but in the course of saying that he says, “It pleased God to call me as an apostle before he separated me from my mother's womb.”

You see, God's knowledge of you, and what he has for you to do in this life, and what He wants to accomplish in your life did not begin just when you drew your first breath. His knowledge of what He wanted you to do with your life didn't begin just when you discovered what God's purpose for you might be. We have a tendency to think, when we begin to realize and put together what God might want us to do, that God has just come up with that idea. No, no, God knew before you were born, while you were in the womb, what He wanted to accomplish in your life. God has a purpose for you and for me. It may not be something glaring and outstanding like being an apostle as Paul was, or a prophet as Jeremiah was, but God has a purpose for having brought you into this world, and He knew what that purpose was even before you were in the womb.

Abortion Interferes With God's Purpose

I'm going to digress like Paul does, but it is extremely important to keep in mind, though it is not in our study today, that this has tremendous implications about the question of abortion. This is why, if for no other reason, abortion is wrong; because when a child is taken from the womb without God taking it from the womb, it interferes with what God had in mind for that child. Sometimes God causes spontaneous abortions; God causes miscarriages. God causes a child to die while it is in the womb, or God allows a child to die early in life, but even in those cases God had a purpose in opening that womb and allowing that child to be formed in the womb. His purpose in those cases probably had to do with what those parents learned from the loss of that child.

I don't know what God's purposes are, but when we interfere with the natural process of childbirth, even in the womb, regardless of the technicality of when life begins—He knew what that purpose was before He put the child in the womb, so it doesn't matter whether life begins when the child draws its first breath or in the first trimester or the third trimester—God put that child in the womb because He had a purpose for that child. Woe be to the human beings who interfere with that process. If God allows the child to die before it comes to full birth, that's His business. If God allows the child to die in infancy, that is His business, but we must not interfere with that purpose which God has for the child.

Coming back to our immediate subject, not only does God have a purpose for us in the beginning of life, but it extends to the other end as well. Not only does God have a purpose for our lives, but He knows everything else about us also. Matthew, chapter 10, verse 29, a very well known verse, though you might not recognize the reference, says:

Matthew 10

29Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

Robert G. Lee was a famous Baptist pastor of a previous generation. He was, as most Baptist preachers were and are, a very eloquent speaker; and he said, “God is the only one who attends a sparrow's funeral.” God says that Himself. He knows every time a sparrow falls and, by implication, every time a beetle or any other creature gets stepped on . He knows about everything that He has created. Verse 30 of Matthew, chapter 10, goes on to say:

Matthew 10

30But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Of course, you would expect me to point out at this point that that is an easier job with some people than it is with others. You have heard that many, many times, especially you who are bald. God's statement is that no matter how much hair you have or how little hair, He even knows that kind of detail about these human beings that He has created.

Thwarting God's Purposes

God not only has purposes in what He created; He even knows the possibilities of what might have been if we don't fulfill those purposes. Turn with me to Matthew, chapter 11. This is a passage that is big enough and important enough that we need to look at it specifically. The extent of God's knowledge is demonstrated in the fact that He not only knows His purposes for us, but what happens if we don't fulfill those purposes.

Let me remind you that one of the things that we have talked about in our study of God, is that God created human beings with the ability to make choices. God created human beings to have fellowship with Him so that He could enjoy His love for us and our love for Him. In order for that to be legitimate, He had to create us with the ability to choose not to worship Him. Of course, that complicates the whole scheme, but God was a gracious enough God and a wise enough God to create us with the ability to choose to disobey Him.

One of the problems that that causes is, though God has a purpose for us as human beings, we can choose to thwart that purpose. In Matthew, chapter 11, Jesus was speaking to people who were rebellious against God. He speaks to whole cities of people. He says, in Matthew, chapter 11, verse 21:

Matthew 11

21Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Let's think about that verse for a minute. God says, “The people in Chorazin and Bethsaida have rebelled against Me. They have refused to hear the message that God has given to them.” Think about people who saw the miracles of Jesus and who heard the insightful teaching of Jesus. You would think that everybody would believe in Him, wouldn't you? But there were many people who saw all of that and still didn't believe it. Jesus said to these people in Chorazin and Bethsaida, “If the people in Tyre and Sidon would have seen what you have seen, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

What Might Have Been

Tyre and Sidon were cities that existed long before Chorazin and Bethsaida, and they didn't have an opportunity to see what Chorazin and Bethsaida saw. Jesus said, speaking as God, “If they had had the opportunity, they would have repented.” You see, God knows not only what we do, but He knows what we might have done. He not only knows what is, but He knows what might have been. He is aware of everything.

He goes on to say, in Matthew, chapter 11, verse 22:

Matthew 11

22But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
23And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Sodom, of course, was the place that God did bring judgment on, and it was a terrible, wicked place. Capernaum was famous for its righteousness, but apparently in God's sight they were worse than the people in Sodom. God said, “I know what happened in Sodom. I know that I cursed Sodom and destroyed the city of Sodom, but I also know that if they had seen what you have seen, they would have repented, and I wouldn't have destroyed them.” You see, God knows not only what is, but what might have been.

I don't know if you like to think about “what if” kinds of questions, but I get intrigued with those kinds of things for a little while, and then I realize that I don't want to do that anymore. What if the South had won the Civil War? Where would we be today in this nation if the South had won the Civil War? Some of you may think that would have been great, and some of you may think it would have been terrible, but what if? We don't know what if, do we? We can only speculate, but God knows what would have happened if they had won.

What if Hitler had developed the atomic bomb before the United States had been able to? There is an interesting little sub-text of history; there were some Jewish scientists who tried to get an audience with Hitler, believe it or not, to get the message to Hitler about the possibility of the atomic bomb; and Hitler, because they were Jewish, wouldn't listen to them—in the sovereignty and graciousness of God. What would have happened if Hitler had had the atomic bomb before the United States did? You see, God knows those kinds of things. All that we can do is speculate.

What if your life were different than it is now? What if you had been born somewhere else or in some other time? What if you had married that person that you thought you were so much in love with and it didn't work out? What if your life were different? God knows exactly “what if.”

Here is something that ought to stir you. God did not allow those “what ifs” to take place. That means that your life today, the situation that you are facing right now, the way that we are living right now, is what God has allowed to happen. We may not be in the exact center of God's perfect will. Some of you may be rebelling against God's perfect will, but God knows what if and God has allowed you to be in the situation you are in in life today. That is how much God knows about you.

In the context of God's love, that ought to be a great comfort, because God does everything He does for us in love. You may not be satisfied with the way your life is right now. There is one thing you can do about that. If you know that you are not doing what God wants you to do, then you can change that. But some of us who feel that we are doing all that we know to do of God's will are still frustrated about things that are going on in our lives. We can take comfort in the fact that God knows “what if,” and God loves us enough to have sent His Son to die for us and He has allowed us to be where we are today. It is not by accident; it is by God's express purpose and His divine omniscience.

God's Exhaustive Knowledge

Another aspect of the parameter of God's knowledge is the exhaustiveness of it. God's knowledge is so thorough that it extends even to the moral aspects of what He sees and knows. Proverbs, chapter 15, verse 3, says this:

Proverbs 15

3The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

You see, God is not only aware of what is going on, but He knows what is evil and what is good. He not only knows what you are doing, but He knows the evil things that you are doing. Think about what Psalm 90, verse 8, says:

Psalms 90

8Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

These are the kinds of things that we hope, when we start talking about the omniscience of God, we don't have to talk about. It is the kind of thing that preachers, when they talk about the omniscience of God, would just as soon leave out, but we can't ignore it; it is in the Bible. God even knows that sin that you committed yesterday or this morning. God even knows that sin that is bubbling around in your heart right now. God knows about our sins. You may be by yourself, but you're not alone. God knows where you are and what you are doing, and if you know Him as your Savior, He is present within you. God knows everything about you. God knows how sinful you are, but He loves you anyway.

Personal Nature of God's Omniscience

We have talked about the perfection of God's knowledge, and we have talked about the parameters of it, but there is another thing that the Scripture reveals about God's omniscience, and that is the personal nature of His omniscience. We have set the stage for that already, but let's look at Psalm 139. Notice the way that he speaks in the first person in verse 1:

Psalm 139

1O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

It is so easy to read the Psalms—it is easy to read the whole Bible—thinking about it subjectively as something that applies to everybody, but the Psalmist says, “You have searched me , and known me .” If you are willing to admit it, you can say that too. God searches our hearts. It's hard for us to be honest with ourselves, isn't it, especially in those areas in which we know we are not doing what God wants us to do? But God searches us. God knows us. This personalness extends even to the mundane part of our activities. Look at verse 2:

Psalm 139

2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising…

I'll bet if I were to ask you how many times we stood up in a service, you wouldn't be able to tell me. How often do we think about how many times we have stood up? You have been sitting down long enough now that if I were to say, “Let's stand up,” you would pay attention to that, but in the course of the day how many times do you stand up and sit down? God knows. God keeps track of even that tiny kind of information about us, mundane things that we don't even think about.

It also extends to our thinking. Look at the last part of verse 2:

Psalm 139

2…thou understandest my thought afar off.

One of the funny things about being a preacher is that I can look at you, and I know what I am talking about, and I know what I am thinking, but I have no idea what you are thinking about. I can hope that you are thinking about what I am talking about, but I have been at this long enough to know that chances are, that's not the case with a lot of you. I can tell from looking at you that some of you are thinking about what I'm thinking about, but some of you I can't tell if you are thinking about what I'm talking about. I don't have any way to know that, but God knows what you are thinking about. Those of you who are thinking about this afternoon's schedule or tomorrow's schedule, God knows what you are thinking about. God always knows just what you are thinking, not just when you are in church. That is kind of scary, isn't it? That is rather sobering. God says specifically in His Word that this is so.

God Knows Our Thoughts

Notice what it says: “He understands my thoughts.” If you are not thinking about what I am talking about, God knows that, but He also understands why. I can't understand why anybody wouldn't be hanging on my every word and thinking about everything that I am saying. I just can't understand why you wouldn't do that, but you may have some legitimate reason to not be thinking about what I'm talking about, and God knows that. If, however, it is an illegitimate reason for not listening, God knows that too. It may be my fault that you are not listening to what I am saying. Not only does God know our thoughts, but He understands our thoughts, which is far more important.

Verse 4 says that He knows what we are going to say even before we say it:

Psalm 139

4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Sometimes we don't even know what we are going to say next. In fact, my wife accuses me of that a lot. She says, “You don't even know what you are going to say. You just start talking.” Your wife probably says that too. It is obvious sometimes that people don't know what they are saying. They don't know what they are talking about; they just talk. God knows what we are going to say even before we say it.

God Knows Our Weaknesses

There are other Scriptures that expand on this kind of knowledge. Psalm 103, verse 14, says that He knows how weak we are:

Psalm 103

14For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

How many times have you been convicted of a sin that you have committed? You know that you ought to confess that thing to God, but you think, “Oh, but God knows how many times I have done that before, and God knows how many times I have confessed that before. God isn't going to listen to me confess this sin another time. I just can't take it anymore.” God remembers we are dust. This is one of the most wonderful verses in all the Scripture. We sin so much and we fail God so much, but God understands why we do that. He doesn't condone it, but He is willing to forgive it because He remembers our frame. He remembers that we are dust. What a wonderful verse of Scripture!

Psalm 56, verse 8, says that He cares enough to bottle our tears. Did you know that? Look at this verse:

Psalm 56

8Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

At the end of the book of Malachi, it says that God looks on those who think upon His name, and a book of remembrance was written so that God could remember that. God didn't have to have a book to remember it. In spite of His complete and perfect knowledge, the wonderful truth of Scripture is that when we worship the Lord, when we remember His name, to use Malachi's terminology, God loves that so much that He writes it down. He keeps a book. He keeps a record of the times that we think upon His name. He not only remembers how weak we are, but He rejoices when in our weakness we worship Him and think about Him.

The more specific thing that I wanted to call to your attention in Psalm 56, verse 8, is that He catches our tears, so to speak. It may be in the omnipotence of God, which we will talk about at another time, that that may even be a literal thing. It may be that God literally, physcially, bottles our tears. When we get to Heaven we will find out. There may be kegs of tears from people when we get to Heaven, but whether that is figurative or literal, at least figuratively, it is as though God knows you so intimately and so fully that it is as if He catches every tear that you cry and puts it in a bottle. That is how much God knows you. That is how much God loves you. That is how well that He knows us. That is the extent of His knowledge.

Incidentally, if there is any question about God's attitude in all of this, verse 9, in Psalm 56, goes on to say:

Psalm 56

9When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.

This verse is a verse worth memorizing for the purpose of that last phrase alone: “God is for me.” What a wonderful promise! This omniscient God is on our side. He is for us. That is a very important thing to remember in the midst of the problems of life, isn't it? Often we ask ourselves, “Why would God let something like this happen to me?” Never forget, no matter what it is that God has allowed to come into your life, He has done it in the realm of the fact that He is for you. “God is for me.” He wrote this in the midst of ferocious enemies, and he said, “Even in the midst of these enemies I will remember that God is for me.” That doesn't mean that God will keep the enemies away from you. It doesn't mean that He will keep the tears from coming, but always remember God is for you and He is for me in the midst of the tears, in the midst of the enemies. He has a purpose for those enemies and for those things that cause our tears, and He remembers when we turn to Him, and we think upon His name.

There is something else to think about this thoroughness of God's knowledge though, and that is in Matthew 23, verse 27. Jesus said:

Matthew 23

27Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

Jesus was talking about the beauty of the perpetual care cemetery. In those days they didn't mow the grass and trim around the tombstones. They painted the mound of earth or the caves in the hillside, because they knew that it was full of rottenness inside. Anybody that stops and thinks about it knows that in the beautiful cemeteries that are perpetual care cemeteries, or in cemeteries where families go out and take care of the graves, we all know that just below the surface of the ground is a lot of putrid, rotten stuff. All we can do is beautify the outside of the grave. The thing that is interesting is that Jesus said this to some people. He said it to hypocrites. He could see right through them like you can see through a grave that is whitewashed or manicured, mowed and trimmed. He knew what was inside.

We are so anxious to not let God know what we are thinking about, aren't we? We are as anxious for God not to know about it as for people not to know about it. Well, don't relax about that, because God's omniscience extends right through us. Not only to us and our needs and our hurts—its a wonderful thing to know, but a sobering thing to think about—but He also sees right through us.

The Purpose of God's Knowledge

There is a fourth and last thing that we want to think about omniscience. We have talked about the fact that His omniscience is perfect. We have talked about the parameters of it. We have talked about the personal nature of it, but the final aspect of it to think about is that it is purposeful. We talked about this a few moments ago in the fact that God has a purpose for each of our lives, but I want to talk about it on a little broader basis now. Ephesians, chapter 1, verses 4-6, demonstrates that God's knowledge is purposeful. God's knowledge is not just so that He can win trevia contests, or be the greatest participant in the quiz show. You know, a lot of the time our human knowledge is just there in a memory bank and we don't put much of it to use. Sometimes we wonder why we studied all that stuff in high school and college, but God is not that way. God has all this knowledge, but all of His knowledge is focused on a particular purpose. There are several Scriptures that speak of this, but Ephesians, chapter 1, verses 4-6, probably is the clearest. Here Paul says:

Ephesians 1

4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

God's purpose in putting all of this together is to have a group of people who are accepted by Him, who react to the praise of the glory of His grace. God's purpose in creating the world, His purpose in creating human beings, animals, and all the other support systems for human beings, was to create a group of sons and daughters who live in the praise of the glory of His grace. That was God's purpose. Everything in the universe plugs in to that purpose in some way.

We look at that purpose, and it is like the illustration of looking at the back of a hooked rug. We see the knots and the loose threads, but when we get to Heaven we will be able to look at the beautiful rug and see the design and the beauty of it. But take it by faith from Ephesians, chapter 1, verses 4-6, and other passages like it that God has a purpose in all these things that are going on in your life. All of it plugs in one way or another to His being able to have people who will love Him and praise Him and honor Him and whom He will love and honor and bless. That is the purpose of God's knowledge.

That even extended to the crucifixion of Christ. There is a fascinating verse in Acts, chapter 2, where Peter was preaching to the very people who had crucified Christ. He was probably speaking that day to people who had said, “Crucify Him, and release unto us Barabbas,” people who had personally taken part in the crucifixion of Christ. Peter said in Acts, chapter 2, verse 23:

Acts 2

23Jesus, being delivered by the [notice] determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Even the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross was a part of God's eternal purpose. God doesn't have to see us sin and think, “Now, what am I going to do about that? How am I going to react to that?” When Adam and Eve sinned, He didn't say, “Oh, what am I going to do now?” God has known all this from the beginning. He has a purpose in all of it. It all fits together in His eternal purpose, even to something like the crucifixion of Christ.

Reasons for the Resurrection

Perhaps more practically, Hebrews, chapter 7, verse 25, shows that He applies this knowledge to us in a more personal way:

Hebrews 7

25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

We have talked several times in this lesson about God's intimate, personal, detailed, even private knowledge of us, but here is a beautiful Scripture. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father, primarily because the debt was paid, and there was no need for Him to stay in the grave. Secondarily, to give us a record in time and space history that God had forgiven our sins, and He verified that by raising Christ from the dead.

Another reason for the resurrection of Christ is because of that He sits at the right hand of the Father and He makes intercession for us. There is no better proof of the fact that God is for us. Do you know what Jesus is doing right now? Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and when you sin, even if it is a sin of thought, Jesus reminds the Father, “Now, Father, I paid for that sin.” It is not that the Father needs to be reminded; it is just a matter that we need to know that that is going on. Jesus Christ sits there and makes intercession for us. He represents us. He is our attorney in Heaven, because He paid for the sin. That is the thoroughness of God's knowledge of us.

God Chooses to Forget Confessed Sin

With all of His omniscience, though, there is one thing that God says that He chooses to forget. Did you know that? Jeremiah 31, verse 34, says that God has deliberately chosen to forget about our sins. What an amazing thing! It says:

Jeremiah 31

34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: [notice] for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

You commit a sin, I commit a sin, Jesus reminds the Father that the sin has been paid for. The Holy Spirit goes to work in our hearts to cause us to confess that sin so that we can acknowledge it and have our fellowship with the Father restored, and God forgets about that sin.

I have said this before, but I want to say it again. One of Satan's greatest tricks is to get us not to forget that sin. We need to be careful not to forget the lessons that we learn from forgiven sin, but don't let Satan drag you through the muck and mire of your past sins. God has already forgotten about those sins, and if you have confessed those to God, you can forget about them too. Someone said, “When we come back to God with some sin that we have already been convicted of and dealt with in our lives, and confessed to God, God says, “What are you talking about? I don't know what you are talking about.” You see, God in all of His omniscience has chosen to forget the sin that Christ has paid for and that we have confessed. That is as mind-boggling as anything else we have heard about the omniscience of God, isn't it?

I feel led to conclude in this way out of all this knowledge about God. There are so many aspects of it. It is an awe-inspiring subject, and we can comprehend just enough of it to not know exactly how to respond. Taken as a whole, humans tend to react to this omniscience of God in one of two ways—to run from it, which I think is the way most people react when they think of the omniscience of God, or to run toward it.

As we conclude, I want to exhort you to run toward the knowledge of God. Don't run from it. Don't be threatened. Don't be afraid of the fact that God knows your down-sitting and your uprising and your thoughts afar off. Clearly, from all we have talked about, God's desire is for us to run to Him. That is why He has revealed His omniscience to us—that we will run to Him.

I think one of God's favorite pictures of Himself is in the story of the prodigal son in the New Testament. You will remember that that son, like so many of us, chose to go his own way, which was not to live in the benefits and blessings of his father's love. He thought he could do better, just like so many of us. But, as someone said, “He didn't fur line the pigpen.” He did stand at the gate every day to see if that son might be coming back. That is exactly what God is doing today. I am convinced that some of you, some of us, need to come back to God. We need to run back to the outstretched arms of a loving, heavenly Father. You need to deal with that sin in your life. You need to confess it as sin. Ask Him for the grace to change that way of living. Whatever the details might be, won't you run to God today?

The hymn-writer said it this way: “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me. See on the portals, He is waiting and watching, watching for you and for me. Come home; come home; ye who are weary, come home. Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling O Sinner, come home.”


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