"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
An Increase in the Knowledge of God
It is not simply an increase in 'knowledge' which is here spoken of but 'increasing in the knowledge of God', which is a vastly different thing. This is a kind of knowledge for which the wise of this world have no relish; it is one to which those with empty profession are total strangers. There are many who are keen 'Bible students' and eager readers of a certain class of expository and theological works - works which explain types, prophecies, and doctrines, but contain little or nothing that searches the heart and removes carnality - and they become quite learned in the letter of Scripture and in the intellectual apprehension of its contents, yet have no personal, saving, or transforming knowledge of God. A merely theoretical knowledge of God has no effectual influence upon the soul, nor does it exert any beneficial power on one's daily walk. Nothing but a vital knowledge of God will produce the former, and only a practical knowledge of Him secures the latter. A vital and saving knowledge of God is His personal revelation of Himself to a soul in quickening power, whereby He becomes an awe-inspiring but blessed reality. All uncertainty as to whether He is or as to what He is, is now at an end. That revelation of God creates in the soul a panting after Him, a longing to know more of Him, a yearning to be more fully conformed to Him.
It is not so much increasing in the vital or even the devotional knowledge of God of which our text speaks but rather what that issues in, which, for want of a better term, we designate the practical knowledge of God. The passage before us in Colossians 1:10 is very similar to that word of Christ's 'If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine' (John 7:17). As the Christian is in earnest about walking becomingly of the Lord, and as he is diligent in performing good works, he discovers by practical experience the wisdom and kindness of God in framing such a rule for him to walk by. He obtains personal proof of 'that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God' (Rom. 12:2) and is brought into a closer and more steady communion with Him, and procures a deeper appreciation of His excellence. 'Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord' (Hos. 6:3). This is both the appointed way and means for such attainment. If we perform the prescribed duty, we shall receive the promised blessing; if we tread the path of obedience, we shall be rewarded by an increasing and soul-satisfying knowledge of the excellence of our Master.