“What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact that underlies it—the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands; I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends of His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him because He first knew me and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend. . . . There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery can now disillusion Him about me.”
– J.I. Packer
I came across this quote by J.I. Packer a while ago in his classic Knowing God and it has resonated with me ever since. What great comfort it is to know that God knows me. He knows me as I am. He knows my constant wayward heart. He knows my ever-failing obedience. He knows me as no individual would ever be able to know me (including my mom). He sees my every sin. And you know what the amazing part is? Despite His perfect knowledge of me, God, in His sheer mercy and grace laid down His life on the cross for men such as I to crucify Him with the nails of our sins.
Whenever I read 1 John in my quiet times, I cannot help but stop and linger on, “We love, because he first loved us” (4:19). Our love for God and others is based on His initial love for us. I am always dumbfounded by this statement. What a glorious truth to ponder!