One day, I was reading to my little boys, as I often do. In our book, the main character was tempted to do something wrong. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to moralize (a major shortcoming of mine). I paused and asked my 4- and 5-year-olds a few questions.
Me: Should the character do something he knows is wrong?
Boys: Because it’s wrong!
Me: You’re right. (I pause and raise an eyebrow sky high) But…what if he never gets caught? And nobody ever finds out that he did the bad thing? Is it still wrong?
(I’m feeling like a super-proud mom right about now.)
Me: You’re right! Even if you don’t get caught, there is somebody who will know. Somebody who sees everything you do. Who is it?
Me: It’s God. He knows even the most secret things that you do. Stuff nobody else knows. And, when you meet him someday, He’s going to ask you about those secret things. He’s gonna say, “Why did you do that?” And you won’t have a good answer to give Him.
Me: ……. (I think I took this discussion a little too far.)
Henry (age 5): I know a good answer to give Him.
Me: (Uh-oh.) Really? What’s that?
Henry: I’ll tell Him, “I’m sorry.”
Me: (lump in throat) Henry, that’s pretty much the only right thing you could say to God in a situation like that.
At this point in the conversation, I’m not feeling super-proud of myself anymore. I’m feeling super-thankful to the Lord for planting the seeds of the gospel in my kids’ hearts.
“Please forgive me, even though I don’t deserve it.” That’s the essence of the sinner’s plea.
When I was a kid, the idea of an omniscient God who knows everything—all the good and bad things I’ve ever done (or felt or thought)—it used to scare me.
I’m a deeply private person, and I’ve always had a rich inner life, where I played out my personal turmoils and tantrums on the stage of my mind. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to let God in. He’d see the mess, and I’d be ashamed. I’d rather just keep it to myself.
Once I truly understood the gospel, I wasn’t afraid anymore.
In fact, knowing that God saw all and knew all—it actually comforted me. Don’t we all want to be known and understood? This is a fundamental desire that we seek in all of life’s most important relationships—with our parents, our spouse, our closest friends. We all need people who know the “true us” and love us anyway.
When I fully accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ, I realized that my relationship with God was the perfecting of that lifelong, fundamental desire.
My parents raised me, but even they don’t know everything there is to know about me. My husband knows me best, but even he doesn’t know every last detail. My oldest and dearest friends know a lot, but not all.
God knows all, sees all, and—what’s more—has a perfect understanding of it all. (He knows why I did certain things, how I felt at the time, what outside pressures were at play. He sees the whole picture.)
This intimacy with God is the perfecting of every relationship I’ve striven for with other humans. It is perfect knowledge, but it’s also perfect understanding, perfectly contextualized.
For now, that total intimacy is one-sided. God knows me perfectly, but I don’t know Him perfectly. One day, when I stand in His presence, I’ll see Him in all of his glory and goodness. As a result of my newly acquired perfect knowledge, I will (fully) perceive the vast separation between God’s holiness and my own sinfulness.
It’s very possible that the only thing that I will be able to say is, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me, even though I don’t deserve it.”
Scripture says that Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice closes the gap between God’s holiness and my sinfulness. This is the moment when I, who am fully known, will know in full. This is the moment when Creator and Created reunite in complete and perfect intimacy, never again to be parted.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.