Our faith, unfortunately, is often based on head-knowledge or mental assent and only becomes real to us when it is experienced, firsthand, in the midst of a tough time or by a trial by fire. And the Higher Christian Life is not a life of intellectual assurance only, but of faith based on our experience with the Holy Spirit who now lives in us. After all, unless our faith is tested by trials and tribulations and we experience its truth, it doesn’t become real to us and remains academic in nature. This is what James was trying to tell us early in his letter.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (why) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing – James 1:2-4.
But note what James is really saying:
My brethren, count (reckon, consider, live like it was true) it all joy when you fall (to fall into the midst of something as to be totally surrounded by it) into various trials (temptations, putting to the test), (why) knowing (ginṓskō) that the testing of your faith produces (to finish, accomplish, to bring to the desired end) patience (to persevere, to remain under, to endure). But let (or don’t quit or give up early in the process) patience have its perfect (complete, full, wanting in nothing) work, that you may be perfect (complete, full, wanting in nothing) and complete (whole, having all its parts), lacking nothing – James 1:2-4.
As we strive to grow in our faith in God’s Word and His promises, two Greek words will present themselves before us that are both translated, know or knowing. The first is ginṓskō (which is used above) and the other is eidō. One of them means to know something by experience and the other means to know like we pretty much know most things today, by intellectual assent. And the difference between these two types of knowledge is the key that unlocks the door to the Higher Christian Life, especially regarding your faith in God’s promises.
Today we will simply introduce these two words and show how important the small words in Scripture are to embracing the Higher Christian Life. And we’ll do this by exploring John 21 together.