Galatians 4.9 states “But now that you know God-or rather are known by God….”. This seems to state that God does not know the unbeliever. I pass out gospel tracts and tell many that Jesus loves them. The Bible says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This is not a problem for me since I know Jesus died for me and is Lord, but I would value your opinion on how God views the lost.
Galatians 4:3-9 says, “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
The point of this passage is that God does not know us AS SONS, until we get saved. Notice again, “To redeem them that were under the law, THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THE ADOPTION OF SONS. And BECAUSE YE ARE SONS, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore THOU ART NO MORE A SERVANT, BUT A SON, then an heir of God through Christ.”
So when the passage goes on to further say, “Howbeit then, WHEN YE KNEW NOT GOD…” (when you were not saved), “ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. BUT NOW, AFTER THAT YE HAVE KNOWN GOD… (now that you know the Lord Jesus Christ personally as your Savior), “or rather are known of God…” (now that God knows you as His child, instead of as one of the children of the world).
You are right in passing out gospel tracts, and in telling people that God does love them and wants them to be saved. John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” II Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
The sense in which God does not know the unbeliever, is as one of His children. God does not know them as His children, because they are not. Jesus told the Pharisees in John 8:38-44, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. YE DO THE DEEDS OF YOUR FATHER. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. YE ARE OF YOUR FATHER THE DEVIL, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” They were not God’s children, but children of the devil — unsaved.
It is good and right to witness to other people, because they will never be known of God as His child (saved), until they hear the gospel, repent, and receive the Lord Jesus Christ. There are a lot of religious people who are still not truly saved, too. The Charismatic Movement is filled with them. Notice the following verses, and how they emphasize the exact three things that the Charismatic Movement emphasizes — and yet, those people practicing those things are not known of God — they are lost. Matthew 7:21-23 says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not PROPHESIED in thy name? and in thy name have CAST OUT DEVILS? and in thy name done many WONDERFUL WORKS? And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: DEPART FROM ME, ye that work iniquity.”
Jesus is going to tell them “I NEVER KNEW YOU.” Why? Notice how when they stand before Him they are going to tell Him all that they have done for Him. But we do not enter heaven based upon what we have done for God, but what God has done for us upon the cross. Ephesians 2:8,9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Many people who claim to know Jesus, are not really known of Him at all. Their “security” and “assurance” is their own religious works. Sadly, they will find out one day that they have been deceived. Matthew 12:39,40 says, “But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”