And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

1 John 5: 20 

The famous New York City coffee company Chock full o’Nuts uses a marketing tune that refers to their product as “Heavenly Coffee”, and it, no doubt, is quite good; yet, even when brewed with care and perfectly served, there can be no comparison to the rich and full truth about God that John provides for us in these two short sentences. These words are chock full o’life! 

Understanding is the thing that I believe we need most. Ultimately, it matters more than wisdom, for understanding is what directs, focuses, and applies the wisdom that God gives us. Through understanding we are able to pour out love, grant grace, and apply truth in our daily lives. God increases our comprehension of Him and of His ways as we pour our selves out onto His altar of transformation and open our hearts to the filling of His Spirit. Without the unveiling of God’s true self that was accomplished through Jesus, people do not have the ability to fully and completely grasp the totality of God and of His gracious love; thus, the Lord remains a veiled mystery. 

Through Christ our lives are filled with the gifts that God desires for us to have. Among them are peace, joy, comfort, wisdom, grace, purpose, protection, and courage, and by the interaction of Christ’s Spirit in our lives we are granted the great gift of understanding so that these other gifts can be used to truly bless us and the lives of others. Somehow, I think that this is a picture of the true heavenly coffee, and the aroma of this brew can fill the world with the one eternal fragrance.

A post from 2009; used here without edits.

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

1 John 5: 20


God cares about truth. It matters to Him because He is both its definition and the author of the word truth, itself. So, there is nothing in this world that is true that did not originate with God, and nothing in this world is true if it does not have the touch of God’s hand upon it. Perhaps this is why there is so much in our world that issues forth out of various forms of lie and deceit. Everyone is born into deception, and we all spend significant amounts of time and effort along the way of life attempting to get away from God and the glaring light of the truth that He sheds upon us. Truth is, simply, too revealing and so, too painful for us to handle during our days of wandering outside of God’s righteousness.


That is why we all need Christ. He brings truth to us, but He also brings a redeemed possibility of understanding it and of living out its purpose and call in our lives. Christ also grants the ability to enter into a form of that truth that works to transform soul, heart, and mind in ways that are miraculous, wonderful, and eternal in their scope. If we are in Christ, we reside in truth, and truth settles upon us as our way and means of engaging with our world. When we are untruthful, we are proceeding from the perspective of our old selves, and this should be very uncomfortable for us. When people find that lies and deception are easy to speak and do, they are not living in relationship with Christ, and He is clearly not being expressed by them or their lives.


We live in a world where the lie is far too often seen as a simple convenience or as a necessary tool for handling the situation at hand. People enter into lies and deceitful words and actions without concern for how they might be causing harm or damage. Then they simply change the story when the facts are laid before them. This is thought to be normal and acceptable in our day by many people, but it is never acceptable and is utterly abnormal behavior in the eyes of God. He tells us to speak truth and to have faith in Him for the consequences. The Lord guides us into living as bearers of His truth so that His presence in our world can demonstrate the redemptive glory of Christ in the face of all that is broken and untrustworthy around us. Jesus Christ is God, in fact and in living truth, and He brings to light all that is valid and true in our world. Lord, let my words come out of a heart that dwells in You and that is filled with Your true Word of Life.

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ, He is the true God and eternal life.

1 John 5: 20


As we know Christ, we know truth; so, as we live in the fullness of that relationship with Christ, we are exercising that eternal truth for the sake of our own growth and for the glory of God in the world. Both aspects of being followers of Christ are important. God desires for His people to abide in His word. This expression of God’s nature, character, and will is central to our lives and to our journeys of faith. As Jesus promised, this written word and the life that He calls His followers to live are illuminated and guided by the present voice of the Holy Spirit. So, in Christ, we are fully informed regarding God’s will and His purpose for our lives.


However, this information is only a partial image of the truth that is imparted from God, for the understanding that John speaks about is much deeper than truth itself. Understanding suggests that Christ has granted to His followers something that goes beyond that which our minds grasp. He has given to us the gift of seeing God so that we can know God in a way that very few people have from after our ancestral rebellion in the garden until the time that Jesus was with us in the flesh on earth. This close intimacy with God was thrown away in order to consume some perishable fruit, but God would not allow the distance between us to remain.


In Christ, God has reached out to people and granted us the way of return to intimate relationship with Him. So, in Christ we are brought into direct contact with the one true expression of God in our world so that we can also understand Him in order to live out God’s calling for our lives. As we engage with our world in the name of Christ, our faith is tested and strengthened by that testing; also, God’s purpose for us is revealed to us and developed. The truth that Christ reveals to us is grown into understanding of God as we dwell in His Word, listen to God’s voice, and lay down our lives in order to follow Christ into this world of need.

We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

1 John 5: 20


Do you ever struggle to make sense of this world? I certainly do. We are confronted on a regular basis by the stories of events that totally defy reason and logic. People do things to each other that are too terrible to comprehend, and groups of people often bring greater chaos to the scene rather than aggregate reason. It is in these sorts of times that I am reminded that God has truly blessed me with this gift of His that can be called understanding. That doesn’t mean that I have perfect answers for all of the whys or that I have perfect peace and comfort in all circumstances.


Rather, God’s Word describes in thorough detail the world where I live. It is a place where the landscape has been tortured and fractured by the forces of satanic evil that are waging war across its surface. This same ancient conflict brings all of the people of the earth into its battle lines. There is no such thing as a non-combatant in this war for eternity. God’s Word provides clarity and understanding to this picture, for God is not the one who brings about the pain and the heartache of life. God’s design for this world was and remains one where peace and relational love prevail. Satan violently lashes out at this reality and seeks to destroy it. He uses advanced weapons such as disease, anger, jealousy, and hatred as tools of destruction.


For me, this knowledge helps to sort out cause and effect in my personal life and in the broader spectrum of the world around me. There is one source of goodness and love in this world and that source is God. There exists one and only one source of truth and that too is God. He has given us His Word as a directly tangible resource, and God has also provided His Spirit to His people in order to guide and counsel us as we search for the eternal truths that it contains. This Godly understanding does not eliminate pain, suffering, and grief, but it does eliminate confusion and doubt. Through all that happens in this life, God’s love is absolute and unshakable, His grace and mercy are present, and He continually holds His people close in the Father’s eternal loving embrace.