The Apostle Paul was a faith preacher.(1Ti2:7) He was given the message of grace to preach to the Gentile nations so that we may “receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ”. (Acts 26:18) This was the charge or commandment given to him by the LORD Jesus.
When we read Paul we read the wonderful message of an exchanged life and a new nature. The Gospel given to Paul if believed, makes a person righteous, holy, accepted, justified and perfected in Christ. It is the power of God to salvation for those who believe it…but for those who do not believe, it remains a foolish message.
One of the words the Holy Spirit taught Paul to use was epignosis.(Strong’s G1922)
It is used 21 times in the New testament and means:
Recognition, that is, (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement//from 1921:-recognise; by implication to become fully acquainted with, to acknowledge:
It is made up of two words epi and gnosis.
We use the word epi in the word epicentre to denote the place that something begins or is flowing out from. Gnosis simply means Knowledge, to know. But in Jewish thought the word is used for sexual intercourse as in the Hebrew word Yada. Thus this knowledge of Christ is something that happens in our epicentre-in our spirit where we are joined as ONE with Jesus by faith and the working of God.
Let’s have a look at some of the occasions brother Paul used the word epignosis
Phm 1:4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers,
Phm 1:5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints,
Phm 1:6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by (in) the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
Paul was praying for Philemon and those in his house church that they would have the inner knowledge of Christ in them so that the sharing of their faith would become effective. The partnership and fellowship we have with Jesus Christ in our heart is hindered if we only see darkness in our life. Instead we come to the place by the Spirit teaching us inwardly that we are FULL OF GOOD THINGS in Christ Jesus. When we acknowledge and recognise that Christ is our only life we have a sweeter and sweeter fellowship or partnership with Him.
If we have a friendship with someone and are always saying bad things about ourself to them, we sully the friendship. They still love us from their side, but from our side we have clothed ourself in darkness – This comes through not seeing by faith that we are a new creation, washed and cleansed permanently by the sacrifice of Jesus blood.
This is not something to condemn ourself about- but is the growing process – we start out blinded to the invisible things in us and grow in sight by His working in us. We come to agree with the Spirit in us and to speak those things about our selves-Good things are in us by the Spirit.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
The epignosis of sin. Through trying to be good person or a better Christian we only succeed in awakening or strengthening the inner knowledge of how we fail God. It is when we trust in Christ in us, believe that we died on the cross with Him and are now one person with Him that we grow in the true knowledge of ourselves.
Rom 10:2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
Rom 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
The Jews and many believers have a zeal for God, but it according to head knowledge of God taught us by men. When the Spirit of God enlightens us to the work of Jesus at the cross for our sake we cease from our works and accept His righteousness. It isn’t just the Jews who were not submitting to the righteousness of God, but many many Christians too. Whenever we say bad things about ourselves we are trying to establish our own righteousness. We have no righteousness of our own and never will. We have Christ. He is the Righteousness of God and is now our righteousness.
Eph 4:10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.
Eph 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
Eph 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Jesus fills all things with Himself- that is a big clue! That is what He has done at the cross, but knowing it is the work of the Spirit in our spirit. He is working to bring forth that understanding to our minds so that we know in spirit and soul that we are as HE is, in this life, in this world.
Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
Col 3:10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
The New man is the spirit man- the inner man- the hidden man of the heart. The new man is your spirit, one with Jesus Spirit so that there is no division in you. This new man is already renewed in knowledge according to God’s image. Your spirit already knows you are perfect. Your spirit already rests in the knowledge of God in you. It is the soul(mind,will,emotions) that does not see it. Our minds are being renewed to the already known truth in our spirit so that we are becoming what we already are!
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
1Ti 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
1Ti 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
1Ti 2:7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Because Jesus Christ is one spirit with you – 1Cor6:17;John 14:20; Gal 2:19-20) you are a mediator between God and men. When people meet you they meet Jesus. We think we are sinners or dirty or unholy….but the truth is the opposite. God has done this through no effort on our part.
2Ti 3:6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,
2Ti 3:7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
There are two ways of learning. Whatever the soul is taught must be meditated upon for it to go deeper. God will teach us via His Spirit in us the knowledge of the truth. Bible colleges are fine, but unless we are taught by the Spirit we only have head knowledge.
2Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
2Pe 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
Peter tells us that grace and peace are multiplied in the knowledge of Jesus—-then says that all things have been given to us through that epicenter of revelation. When we see Christ in us, living AS US…then grace and peace and all things are a constant in our experience.
2Pe 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
We escape the pollutions of the world—-the defilement of the outer things—through the knowledge of Jesus living in us and as us. When we think He is somehow separated from us, up in heaven or in some room in our heart, we are easily defiled by the outer man. The things others do and say affect us negatively when we live with this separated mindset. But when we see by the Spirit that whatever happens to me is happening to Him we rest knowing that He touched Lepers was not made unclean. We are washed and cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and pollutions of the world. We are sanctified by faith in Him. Nothing in the world can pollute the one trusting in the new creation that they are.
Tit 1:1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness,
The epignosis of the truth which agrees with godliness. Godliness is to be like God. Paul was not saying that right doctrine makes us godly or that it qualifies one to be an Apostle. He was describing the out-flowing from his spirit. The Life that is in Paul(and in us)is the Life that lays itself down for others in service. The calling of special messenger(apostle) is the ministry and outflow of the spirit in Paul. It is a gift. It is the fullness of Jesus in Paul flowing out to others with the inner truth of Jesus the image of God in our flesh.
Paul was so taken by the mystery of union with Jesus that Jesus lived unhindered through Paul.