We read: “for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20). This is an incredibly encouraging verse for those of you feeling bogged down with guilt and shame. Your heart might condemn you but God is greater than your heart. The last three words are particularly encouraging: “God knows everything.” What a staggering thought.
The word omniscience comes from the word omni which means “all” and from the word scientia which means “knowledge.” God’s omniscience, therefore, means that God has all knowledge or, stated differently, that God is all-knowing. This means, of course, that God knows everything about your life — all the big things that you are proud of and all of those little things that weigh you down. If you are a Christian, the doctrine of God’s omniscience should bring you an immense amount of comfort.
Yes, God’s omniscience can be a scary thing, too. This is especially true if you are not a Christian. Unrepentant sinners who do wrong ultimately won’t get away with anything, even if vindicated in this life. On the last day, God will exercise his justice in part because, well, he is just, but also because he has perfect knowledge of all actions. For the Christian, too, God’s omniscience should humble you, knowing that he knows your heart even when you disguise your motives to others. There are many ways to think about the omniscience of God, but here I want to focus on how it brings comfort in the Christian life.
If you are the kind person (like me, at times) who struggles a bit with perfectionism, an overly sensitive conscience, and feeling guilty for wrongs you did not commit, then you know how overwhelming you can sometimes feel. These life-sapping characteristics seem to suck the joy right out of life. No doubt, feeling conviction over sin is a good thing and is a sign that you are in Christ and have been regenerated by God’s spirit. But what about feeling condemned for a less than perfect performance?