“We have come to believe and know…” A more strict reading would be, “We have believed and have known…” The thought that the Beloved Disciple is communicating is that there has been a development in his personal experience with Jesus. He began with just a simple faith, but has come to possess a confident knowledge. That’s the way that it is in the Christian life. The order of our Christian experience is that we first believe and then we come to know.
In spite of what many are teaching today, I do not believe that faith is the opposite of knowledge. Rather, I believe that it is the anticipation and expectation of a more complete knowledge. Faith is to knowledge what the first green buds of Spring are to Summer. They are signs that it is coming. Faith rises up to heaven in the morning, seeing beforehand the plan of the coming day. It may not yet be able to tell you every one of the day’s details, and it cannot yet tell you how the day will unfold, but it sees what it cannot analyze and trusts what it can not yet verify.
Think of the disciples when the Master first said to them, “Follow Me.” Why would they have followed Him? They didn’t know Him. That’s why He commanded that they first follow Him. The only way that they could come to know Him was by spending time with Him. So, He appealed not to their knowledge but to the power of their faith. He said to them, “Give me the anticipatory trust of your heart. I have come to lead you by green pastures and beside the still waters. I have come to let you know by your personal walk that the pastures of this life are green and the waters of this life are quiet. But the only way you can come to know that what I say is true is by walking with Me. You have to come to me without proof, without knowledge, without experience. You will have to first give me your faith. You will have to pay me with the price of you love beforehand. I don’t ask you to give it without hope of return for I will repay you ten-fold in work and in sacrifice. However, I cannot work for you unless you first will allow me to work through you. Give me first your trust and faith so that I may fill your life with my own presence. Give me the unswerving gaze of your eye and I will conform you into my image. Give me the complete surrender of your will and I will make my will your will. When I then have made your will into my will there will be no more need for faith for your faith will be replaced by sight and you will know as you are known. Give me one hour of the treasured trust of your heart and I will repay it with interest. Lend to me your heart by faith and I will restore your heart with knowledge – the knowledge of me that is eternal life. Then, in that hour, you will be able to say, ‘There was once a time when I believed, but now I know and am sure.'”