Tag Archives: J.I. Packer
J.I. Packer writes, “By the Spirit’s enabling, Christians resolve to do particular things that are right, and actually do them, and thus form habits of doing right things, and out of these habits comes a character that is right.”
He later adds, “Holiness teaching that skips over disciplined persistence in the well-doing that forms holy habits is thus weak; habit forming is the Spirit’s ordinary way of leading us on in holiness.” J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit (Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell, 1984), p. 108-9.
This is our last post on the topic “What does it really mean to be saved?” We are looking at the first few verses of Galatians 1 where Paul writes: “3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
We’ve seen four of the five truths which jump out at me that speak to this issue of being saved. The first truth is we are at peace with God! (v. 3). The second truth in this text about being saved is we have been paid for (v. 4)! Jesus paid that debt for us. The third truth in this text about being saved is — we have been rescued! Jesus gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age. The fourth truth about being saved which I see in this text is that we are wanted by God! Verse 4 says that Jesus’ giving of Himself was “according to the will of our God and Father.” It was the Father’s will to save us, to redeem us, to rescue us! This is what HE wants! We have been wanted!
The fifth and final truth I see in this text about being saved is: We have an eternal purpose! (v. 5). There we read, “to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Let’s not gloss over those words. We have been invited into a relationship with the God of the universe and our highest goal is to praise Him!
“But, wait a minute!”, some might say! “Isn’t it awfully conceited and self-serving for God to want us to worship Him — eternally? That sounds like the pagan gods who demanded the kind of worship that sometimes included the sacrificing of their own children on the worship altar!”
Here I believe J.I. Packer helps us when he writes: “If it is right for man to have the glory of God as his goal, can it be wrong for God to aim at the same goal? If man can have no higher end and motive than God’s glory, how can God? And if it is wrong for man to seek a lesser end than this, then it would be wrong for God too. The reason why it cannot be right for man to live for himself, as if he were God, is simply the fact that he is not God; and the reason why it cannot be wrong for God to seek His own glory is simply the fact that He is God. Those who would not have God seek His glory in all things are really asking that He should cease to be God. And there is no greater blasphemy than to will God out of existence.” (The Plan of God)
To give us that eternal purpose required the Father to sacrifice HIS Son! May I boldly suggest that you read over that profound quote from Packer again? Slowly. And then thank the true God of the universe that you have been made exactly for this!
The God who created us is knowable! But there is a world of difference between knowing that and knowing . . . Him. We can know facts about God, but not become familiar with Him. We can learn information about God but fail to develop intimacy with Him.
The God of the Bible wants to be known. He is a relational God who does all that He can to develop personal connections with His children. Here are a few verses which emphasize this truth of knowing . . . Him …
Exodus 33:17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
1 Samuel 3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Isaiah 11:9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Isaiah 19:21 So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them.
Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.
Jeremiah 2:8 The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.
Jeremiah 9:24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 22:16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 24:7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
Jeremiah 31:34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Philippians 3:8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ . . .
Colossians 1:10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God . . .
2 Thessalonians 1:8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Hebrews 8:11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 1:8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Exodus 5:2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”
How do we know God personally? We learn the following truths from these verses:
1. We can know God by name. This is much more than a belief in His existence. It is personal. Frederick Buechner puts it this way: “Buechner is my name. It is pronounced Beek-ner. If somebody mispronounces it in some foolish way, I have the feeling that what’s foolish is me. If somebody forgets it, I feel that it’s I who am forgotten. There’s something about it that embarrasses me in just the same way that there’s something about me that embarrasses me. I can’t imagine myself with any other name Held, say, or Merrill, or Hlavacek. If my name were different, I would be different. When I tell you my name, I have given you a hold over me that you didn’t have before. If you call it out, I stop, look, and listen whether I want to or not. In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses that his name is Yahweh, and God hasn’t had a peaceful moment since.”
2. There is a stage in our lives which could be called “pre-knowing” the Lord. Samuel is a case in point.
3. We can have “knowledge of the Holy One” which will lead to understanding.
4. One day the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!
5. The Lord wants us to know and believe Him and understand Who He is.
6. It is possible to be a religious leader and not know the Lord!
7. We need the Lord to give us a heart to know Him!
8. We also need the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him better.
9. Do I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord?
10. We can grow in our knowledge of the Lord!
11. Punishment awaits those who do not know God or obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
12. We are not to be ineffective or unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
13. We are challenged to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (= God).
14. There are those (like Pharaoh) who proclaim “I do not know the Lord . . .”
What steps will you take today to really KNOW . . . the Lord?
One of the many attributes of God which is seldom preached on — is His JEALOUSY! But, wait a minute! Isn’t jealousy as SIN? How can it be right for God to be jealous and for us not to be? As with all other questions, we need to ask not what we think, but what does the Bible actually say?
Here are some texts on the jealousy of God:
Exodus 20:5 – You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
Exodus 34:14 – Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Deuteronomy 4:24 – For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Deuteronomy 32:16 – They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols.
Psalm 78:58 – They angered him with their high places; they aroused his jealousy with their idols.
Psalm 79:5 – How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
Ezekiel 16:42 – Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry.
Nahum 1:2 – [ The Lord’s Anger Against Nineveh ] The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.
Zephaniah 1:18 – Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.” In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.
Zechariah 8:2 – This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.”
James 4:5 – Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
There is no doubt that God is a jealous God, that idolatry makes Him furious, that His jealousy is intimately connected to His anger and vengeance, etc. We even read in the book of Numbers about a law of jealousy: Numbers 5:15 – then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.
However, believers are told in Romans 13:13- Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. We also read in 2 Corinthians 12:20 – For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:2 – I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.
How are we to understand the jealousy of God? The answer, I believe, is that there is a godly jealousy. Just as there is a godly hatred and a godly anger, there is a godly jealousy. How can jealousy be a virtue in God and a vice in men?
- Biblical statements about God’s jealousy are anthropomorphic, i.e. descriptions of God in language drawn from the life of man. In reading anthropomorphisms, we need to remember that man isn’t the measure of his Maker, and that none of the limitations of humanhood are implied. Consequently, God’s jealousy isn’t tainted with frustration, envy and spite, but is a zeal to preserve something precious.
- There are two kinds of jealousy among men. One says, “I want what you’ve got, and I hate you because I haven’t got it.” The other is manifested in romantic relationships, and is the fruit of marital affection. This sort of jealousy is a positive virtue, as its aim is to keep the marriage intact.
John Stott says, “In the second commandment God goes on to describe himself as ‘a jealous God’. There is no need to be disturbed by this. Jealousy is a resentment of rivals, and whether it is good or evil depends on whether the rival has any right to be there. Since God is unique, and there is no other, he has the right to ask that we worship him alone.” (John Stott, from page 96 Christian Basics, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969).
J.I. Packer in his Knowing God put it best: “But there is another sort of jealousy—zeal to protect a love-relationship, or to avenge it when broken. This jealousy also operates in the sphere of sex; there, however, it appears, not as the blind reaction of wounded pride, but as the fruit of marital affection. As Professor Tasker has written, married persons ‘who felt no jealousy at the intrusion of a lover or an adulterer into their home would surely be lacking in moral perception; for the exclusiveness of marriage is the essence of marriage’ (The Epistle of James p.106). This sort of jealousy is a positive virtue, for it shows a grasp of the true meaning of the husband-wife relationship, together with a proper zeal to keep it intact.”
Are you thankful for God’s JEALOUSY today?