What does it mean to know God? If our answer to this question is wrong, it will leave us thinking that we know God when in fact we do not. Most people think they know God because they know facts about God and believe the right things. God does want us to know and believe truths, but this does not constitute knowing God.
A man could study about a great man, read his biography, and admire his life, but until he meets the man personally, he can never say that he knows him. Knowing requires personal contact. The ex tent of knowing is dependent on the extent of the personal contact. Unless we have personal contact with God, we do not know God.
Knowing God is much more involved than knowing another person. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. To know God, we must enter into His presence by the Spirit. This is not a light thing, however, because God is holy and perfectly righteous, and He cannot allow any unclean thing in His presence.
If men in the old covenant dared to enter the presence of God on their own terms, they were struck dead. God has not changed. We still cannot come to God on our terms or in a way that seems good to us. We must come as God has designed, or we cannot know God. Although it may seem that God is not as severe today as He was in olden times, the price of disobeying God and bringing our own efforts is still the same--death. Spiritual death often comes long before physical death, and many men are walking tombs.
The only way that we can know God and the things of God is by the Spirit (I Corinthians 2:12). The Holy Spirit has been given that we may be brought into the presence of God in reality (Ephesians 2:18). The Holy Spirit takes of the things of God and makes them ours (John 16:15). He in dwells us and reveals the things of God to our hearts. Everything now is by the Spirit. He gives us God's life (eternal life) that we may know Him (John 17:3).
This knowing is a place of communion and fellowship past anything we know in the natural. It is knowing and experiencing God in reality. It is wonderful in its experience, but it is also a place of responsibility. The joys are not without conditions. If we want to know God in reality, we must meet the conditions. What are these conditions?