Tag Archives: J.I. Packer
Introduction to the Series:
TODAY’S HOMEWORK: Imagine that you have five hours to study the Person of God. Where would you start? What passages would you pour over? And why? What do you hope to gain by such a study?
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?