Everything related to the great destiny for which man was created is bound up inseparably with the knowledge of Christ. You have tremendous things there: the greatness of the destiny for which man was created – and the Bible has a very great deal to say about that. That destiny, that great Divine purpose in creation, demands for its realization the knowledge of Jesus Christ; it is bound up with the knowledge of God’s Son. Within that compass of Divine purpose we have man’s creation, man’s redemption and salvation, man’s transformation, man’s glorification, and then man’s eternal vocation. None of it is possible without knowing Him.
We look at a little child from the day that it comes into this world, and the one thing the parents are watching for continually, and waiting for, is the sign of intelligence. For the normal development of a human life is marked by growing intelligence, that is, in the first place, the ability to identify objects. It is very simple, but very real, when, first of all, the parent is able to recognize that the child knows him or her – the child identifies. And so its development of its very life is marked by this growing intelligence, this ability to identify objects, and then to interpret and grasp their meaning. It comes so slowly, and yet it is there. To apply those recognized, identified objects to practical value, to turn them to account, to know that they mean this, and that they are meant for this or that; the application of their intelligence to practical needs or situations – I say these are the indications of normal development and it is along the line of growing intelligence.
If that is true in the natural, it is equally true in the spiritual. The mark of spiritual growth, the growth of the spiritual life, is this power to recognize the meaning of Christ; to identify Him in things; to interpret Him – the power to interpret Him and to explain Him; and then to apply Him to practical situations, our own and others. That is, ‘knowing’ the Lord. And I say again, that is the way of spiritual growth to full manhood, to the fulfilment of the ultimate vocation. And let it be recognized at once that what is true in the natural is true in the spiritual in this sense – God created man with an object. A life has missed its way and purpose if it fulfils no vocation and if it becomes an end in itself. Vocation is the object, the end, of all life and all development. That is true in the spiritual life. The Bible reveals progress toward eternal vocation, and essentially along the line of spiritual intelligence, or the knowing of Christ.
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