Sometimes we take an attribute of God, and inflate it beyond its holy goodness. Subsequently, we see God only through those refashioned glasses. Today I want to talk about a wonderful attribute of God, his omniscience. First I will share how this attribute can be twisted to not be the proper picture of God at all.
I was actually thinking about this while persevering through Jillian Michael’s 6 Week 6 Pack, Level Two workout. As I’m breathing heavily and sweating profusely about two-thirds of the way to the end of the workout, Jillian says, “Know that I am always watching you, kind of like a horror film.” She has a wonderful way of encouraging you not to quit. Of course, that got me thinking. Many people live their lives before God, believing this is how his omniscience functions.
Omniscience is a fun theological word that means God is all-knowing. He knows everything—the past, the present, the future…our thoughts and motives. When we begin to think about it, it might seem a little like a horror film. If God knows my thoughts, he’s perfectly aware of the lofty judgmental notions I have while shopping at WalMart. He knows that every Sunday as a kid (and teenager) I would mentally brush my pastor’s comb-over to the other side during his sermons. How embarrassing is that? And when I couple his omniscience with his holiness, I know that my sin-o-meter just tripled!
In Heb. 4:13 we read, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him whom we must give account.” Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that “God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (2:16). This really could be worse than a horror film.
Jillian intimidates me with her faux omniscience to make me work out harder. She’s always saying, “Don’t phone it in,” and has no problem bullying clients right in front of her, or through the TV screen, into finishing their workout with no regrets. That can be effective in fitness training, but not in holy living. In fact, it can drive us to utter despair. No matter how hard we may strive for righteousness, we fall very short. Sin causes us to hide from our holy God. We see this right in the beginning with Adam and Eve. After their sinful act, they became ashamed, covered their bodies, and hid from God. They realized they were exposed, and couldn’t bear it.
But our holy God is also a merciful God. He isn’t like the bad guy in a horror film who is just waiting for you to make the wrong move. God is perfectly just, and he will deal with sin. But in his merciful grace, he has sacrificed his very own son as both the perfect sin offering and the perfect righteous covering. God the Father points to this in the very beginning when he graciously pursues Adam and Eve, removes their own covering of leaves, and replaces it with a covering of animal skin. When God covered them blood had to be shed, but it wasn’t theirs.
Jillian motivates by threatening me not to phone in my workout. No one else can do it for me. If I want results, I am responsible for all the work. But in my holy living before God, I want to phone it in. I do not want God to deal with my sin through me. I cannot produce my godly righteousness with my own efforts. I rely on the work of Jesus Christ, my saving Lord. Jillian may not be able to provide a healthy body for me. She wants me to work hard to keep this body in good shape. But we all know that it is still going to age, and eventually perish. But meanwhile, that doughnut I ate for breakfast can be compensated for by extra sweat and tears on the mat. Jillian doesn’t really know that I ate it (does she?).
God does know. He knows all. And it will be dealt with (I’m not talking about doughnuts now, am I?). Thankfully, I am not only forgiven through the work of Christ, but I will be given a new, imperishable body with his second coming. I can actually look forward to the coming of my Lord and Savior, as a groom coming for his bride. He is doing the transforming work in me now, preparing me for that great day. Praise God for his abounding mercy and grace!