“Known Unto God”
By Rev Tan Eng Boo
In March 2019, when I was the speaker with the Galilee Adult Fellowship, we visited the Kranji War Memorial. As we walked through the cemetery ground, my attention was drawn to the graves of unidentified soldiers. Wikipedia indicates that there are 850 unidentified soldiers buried there. What struck me were the epitaphs on the headstones which said, “A Soldier of the 1939 to 1945 War: KNOWN UNTO GOD.”
Yes indeed, everyone is known unto God. We are told in Scripture: “The Lord knows those who are his . . .” (2 Tim. 2:19). You are not anonymous to God. Let us understand who this God, who knows us is.
He is the Omniscient God (All-Knowing)
Here is one clear description of God’s attribute of omniscience:
“Omniscience is one of God’s immutable attributes, which is to say, all knowledge of all things is an inherent part of His character and being. Nothing is outside of God’s sphere of knowledge. The word “omniscient” is defined as having infinite awareness, understanding and insight; it is universal and complete knowledge.” (Sheila Alewine, https://www.biblestudytools.com/)
Let us look at some examples of the omniscient God from God’s Word:
In Psalm 50:11, the Psalmist says that God knows all the birds of the hill. Ornithologists cannot account for the number of birds in the world. They continue to update the list. But God says, “I know all the birds,” “That is, I am fully acquainted with their numbers; their nature; their habits; their residence.” (Barnes' Notes on the Bible).
Then we are told in Psalm 147:4, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Can you beat that? God even gives each star a name. How many stars are there in the heavenly realm? Have you ever looked up into the night sky and wondered just how many stars there are in space? In Singapore, we can’t see the night sky clearly because of the bright lights. I recall seeing countless stars in the sky in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya many years ago. If you look through a modest amateur telescope, millions more will come into view. I am reminded of David Guzik’s statement from The Enduring Word Bible Commentary, which says, “The psalmist allowed us to make the logical conclusion – that if God knows and names all the stars, He certainly knows me and names me.”
I am known unto God.
Yes, I am! My name is written in heaven.
“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Lk. 10:20).
“O LORD, you have searched me and known me!” (Ps. 139:1). Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep … ” (Jn. 10:14 KJV). How staggering to know that Christ knows me. Jesus knows those who are His (see Jn. 10:3, 27) and I am one of them. How about you? In a devotional by John Piper on 22 May 2012, he explained,
“when Jesus says, “I know them,” this means at least that he knows them by name; that is, he knows them individually and intimately. They are not anonymous, lost in the flock. It is hard to overemphasize what a tremendous privilege it is to be known personally, intimately, lovingly by the Son of God. It is a precious gift to all his sheep, and it contains within it profound, personal fellowship and affection and the promise of eternal life.”
Are you personally known to God?
Like the unidentified soldiers, everyone is “known unto God”. But to be known personally by God and have a personal relationship with Him are two different matters altogether. Who am I to be known by God and have a personal relationship with Him? Am I worthy to be personally known by God? Are you? Yet this is the most important thing in life – to make sure I am personally known to God! The only way in which one can have such relationship with God is to acknowledge Jesus as personal Lord and Saviour. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (Jn. 1:12 KJV). “… Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved….” (Acts 16:31). This invitation is open to you too.
Being “known unto God” doesn’t automatically mean that one has such a relationship with God. It only refers to God knowing you. And if God knows you, He knows if you have a relationship with Him. In other words, anyone can tell you that he or she knows God. A person who claims to be a Christian can also do the same. But does God know that person? In fact, there are many people who profess to know God. Paul writes of people who “profess to know God” (Tit.1:16). Yet Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matt. 7:21-23)
However, today, you can have this personal relationship with God by putting your faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord. You may find it helpful to express your new faith in God, this way: