True Knowledge of God
When God calls and converts a person to Himself it also follows that He gives that person true knowledge of Him. Unless God grants us knowledge of Him and of His saving mercy and grace in Christ, truly we cannot know Him.
Although there is a sense that every person knows God by virtue of his being created in the image of God, yet sin has distorted that knowledge of God in everyone’s heart and mind.
Thus the apostle Paul could say of the ungodly Gentiles that “although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:21).
The result of this spiritual blindness and ignorance among wicked men is idolatry. Paul continues, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Rom. 1:22-23). This further leads to immoral acts and shameful living and ultimately to eternal death.
Unless God the Holy Spirit grants new life or new birth to a person there’s no hope for him or her to be delivered from such misery and horrific end.
When God sets a sinner free from his captivity and deprave condition, He does it by the power of the Spirit. He then causes the new man to hear His Word, believe it, turn away from his sin, and live by the Word.
It is impossible for anyone who has been renewed and regenerated by the Spirit not to love reading and studying the word of God, that is, the Holy Scripture or the Bible. Knowing God and living for Him come as we devote ourselves in the study of the Word and in believing and doing what it says.
True godliness is measured not simply by our knowledge of the Bible. It is also determined by our devoted life consistently doing what God says in His Word. True devotion to God is always motivated by His grace in Christ and with the goal of glorifying Him only.
On the great need of the holy Scriptures for true knowledge of God and godliness, Calvin writes, "We should hold that, for true religion to shine on us, we must begin by being taught from heaven: and that no man can have the least knowledge of true and sound doctrine without having been a pupil of the Scripture."
"Hence," Calvin continues, "it is that when we reverently embrace what God has been pleased to testify there [in Scripture] concerning himself, the beginning of true understanding emerges. And not only perfect faith, complete in every way, but all right knowledge of God is borne of [this] obedience" (“Institutes,” I.vi.2).
Dr. J. I. Packer further adds, "Thus the Scriptures should be seen first and foremost as a gift of grace to benighted sinners, who without them could never have known God at all; and we need to have it firmly fixed in our minds that disregard of the Scriptures is as perverse and ungrateful as it is disastrous" ('Calvin's View of Scripture,' in "God's Inerrant Word," edited by John Warwick Montgomery, 101).