[“…knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” – 1 Corinthians 8:1]
The essence of all gifts of the Spirit to the Church is to edify (build up) the Church. It is never for the glorification of any man or men neither is it for causing controversies and divisions. All forms of ministrations that do not establish the Lordship of Jesus the Messiah as the sole builder of His Church should be ‘taken with a pinch of salt’. “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good”- 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
At the Start
For all in Christ, there is a knowledge of Christ at the cross, at the tomb and at the resurrection. This knowledge is not academic or mere mental acquisition, it is experiential and that experience comes in being “born again”. But that is just the beginning of a ‘Love journey’ as well as a Master-disciple fellowship with Lord Jesus.
There is much more to experience, to explore the riches of the limitless depth of the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul prayed for the the brethren to have the eyes of their understanding enlightened in order to ‘know’ the Son of God in dimensions formerly unknown (Colossians 1:9-10).
Peter urged the brethren to grow in grace and the ‘knowledge’ of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). There is a journey ahead to knowing Lord Jesus and it is full of grace, Love, humility and all other elements of the fruit of the Spirit.
Two Kinds of Knowledge
The true knowledge of Lord Jesus unites the saints, it is communicated by love and bears the fruit of righteousness. It makes men stand in awe of God, driving the attention of man to Jesus Christ alone. We can see a clear example of this in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 2:1-5 and 3:1-23.
In these scriptural references, Paul is seen pointing the Corinthian brethren away from false knowledge that is based on confidence in men (confidence in the flesh) to the true knowledge of God that is based on Jesus alone.
The brethren were becoming segregated, each one claiming to follow Christ but accepting a label, resulting in cliques being formed and the exclusion of some other brethren from intimate fellowship with them.
Rather than holding unto the Jesus Christ their Lord, they were holding unto a gospel of Jesus Christ by Paul or Cephas or Apollos. One may get to ask, did these three people preach the same Jesus? According to Paul, they did, but the recipients lost the subject and wandered away into a false knowledge resulting in denominating themselves.
Obviously, something was wrong with the knowledge these Corinthian brethren were working with. The knowledge made one believer see himself better than another, simply because of association with special men or doctrines. It is worthy of acceptance that God’s Love was not at work in these ‘knowledgeable acts’. “Knowledge makes one proud but Love edifies” (1 Corinthians 8:1). We remember that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). This knowledge that works with pride is not the true knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The true knowledge works by love, bears the fruit of righteousness and builds up the Church (Philippians 1:9-11). It has Lord Jesus as its center, and is full of love for His bride, the Church. It shows that all who have received the Divine Life of God are one in God and provokes humility before God and submission to one another among the saints. When walking with the true knowledge, the ‘stronger’ believers bear with the ‘weaker’ ones and help them to grow. The strong do not force their knowledge on the weak but teach them to seek Jesus and in due course, all doubts will be cleared.
As In Eden
Adam and Eve received knowledge from God concerning how to conduct themselves in daily life. There was a tree at the center of the garden that they were not supposed to eat from. The garden and all that went on in it was all about God. The Creator was the Center of their attraction and both Adam and Eve enjoyed deep unity and love in each other’s company. They received more of the true knowledge of God when He came to fellowship with them in the cool time of the day.
The serpent struck, bringing with it another knowledge cunningly crafted to look genuine and convincing. The form of the knowledge was obvious, man and not God was the center (it claimed that man could become independent of God, able to decide for himself what is right and wrong). When the false knowledge was attained, separation set in as Adam blamed his wife Eve. He felt he was less guilty than his wife for the sin they both committed. There was a separation at heart and for long, things were never the same again.
Man became his own center, but the center could not hold because man was meant to have his source in the Creator alone. He was puffed up by the knowledge that finally killed him. If he had walked in the true knowledge that inspired love and unity, it could have been different.
For Our Learning
All of these are written for our admonition so that we would not fall prey to past mistakes of others (1 Corinthians 10:11). As we walk among the saints, let us keep our eyes on the whole counsel of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. When our hearts are set on Him we would never miss the mark. Jesus is true Knowledge personified.