Suggested further reading: Romans 2:17-24
We read, `If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.'
It sounds as if our Lord would warn his disciples that they
would never be really happy in his service if they were content with
a barren head-knowledge of duty and did not live according to
Nothing is more common than to hear people saying of
doctrine or duty, `We know it, we know it,' while they sit still in unbelief
or disobedience. They actually seem to flatter themselves that there
is something creditable and redeeming in knowledge, even when
it bears no fruit in heart, character, or life. Yet the truth is
precisely the other way. To know what we ought to be, believe and do,
and yet to be unaffected by our knowledge, only adds to our guilt in
the sight of God. To know that Christians should be humble and
loving, while we continue proud and selfish, will only sink us deeper
in the pit unless we awake and repent. Practice, in short, is the
very life of religion. `To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it
not, to him it is sin' (James 4:17).
Of course, we must never despise knowledge. It is in one
sense the beginning of Christianity in the soul. So long as we know
nothing of sin, or God, or Christ, or grace, or repentance, or faith, or
conscience, we are, of course, nothing better than heathens. But
we must not overrate knowledge. It is perfectly valueless unless it
produces results in our conduct and influences our lives and
moves our wills. In fact knowledge without practice does not raise us
above the level of the devil.
Satan knows truth, but has no will to obey it and is
miserable. He that would be happy in Christ's service must not only know,
For meditation: `Knowledge puffs up, but love
edifies' (1 Cor. 8:1).