Noah Austria's Reviews > Knowing God

Knowing God by J.I. Packer
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it was amazing

Charles Spurgeon:
"It has been said that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.

There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumbline cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God....

But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe.... The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.

And, while humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore.

Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning."

JI Packer:
"Godliness means responding to God's revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God's Word. This, and nothing else, is true religion."

"If we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because o four interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate and dismiss them as very poor specimens."

"How are we to turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God."

"Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God."

"He knows, and foreknows, all things, and his foreknowledge is foreordination; he, therefore, will have the last word, both in world history and in the destiny of every man; his kingdom and righteousness will triumph in the end, for neither man nor angels shall be able to thwart him."

"We must learn to measure ourselves, not by our knowledge of God, not by our gifts and responsibilities in the church, but by how we pray and what goes on in our hearts."

"... knowing God involves, first, listening to God's Word and receiving it as the Holy Spirit interprets it, in application to oneself; second, noting God's nature and character, as his Word and works reveal it; third, accepting his invitations and doing what he commands; fourth, recognizing and rejoicing in the love that he has shown in thus approaching you and drawing you into this divine fellowship."

"We are made in his image, but we must not think of him as existing in ours."

"The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity - hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory - because at the Father's will Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable so that thirty years later he might hang on a cross. It is the most wonderful message that the world has ever heard, or will hear.

We talk glibly of the "Christmas spirit," rarely meaning more by this than sentimental jollity on a family basis. But what we have said makes it clear that the phrase should in fact carry a tremendous weight of meaning. It ought to mean the reproducing in human lives of the temper of him who for our sakes became poor at the first Christmas. And the Christmas spirit itself ought to be the mark of every Christian all the year round.

It is our shame and disgrace today that so many Christians - I will be more specific: so many of the soundest and most orthodox Christians - go through this world in the spirit of the priest and the Levite in our Lord's parable, seeing human needs all around them, but (after a pious wish, and perhaps a prayer, that God might meet those needs) averting their eyes and passing by on the other side. That is not the Christmas spirit. Nor is it the spirit of those Christians - alas, they are many - whose ambition in life seems limited to building a nice middle-class Christian home, and making nice middle-class Christian friends, and bringing up their children in nice middle-class Christian ways, and who leave the submiddle-class sections of the community, Christian and non-Christian, to get on by themselves.

The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob. For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor - spending and being spent - to enrich their fellow humans, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others - and not just their own friends - in whatever way there seems need."

"Misunderstanding what the Bible means when it says that God is love (see I Jn 4:8-10), they think that God intends a trouble-free life for all, irrespective of their moral and spiritual state, and hence they conclude that anything painful and upsetting (illness, accident, injury, loss of job, the suffering of a loved one) indicates either that God's wisdom, or power, or both, have broken down, or that God, after all, does not exist.

But this idea of God's intention is a complete mistake: God's wisdom is not, and never was, pledged to keep a fallen world happy, or to make ungodliness comfortable."

"For what is this wisdom that he gives? As we have seen, it is not a sharing in all his knowledge, but a disposition to confess that he is wise, and to cleave to him and live for him in the light of his Word through thick and thin."

"God's wrath in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is. It is, instead, a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil."

Faith is "self-abandoning trust in the person and work of Jesus."

"Yet if we know God, it is vital that we face the truth concerning his wrath, however unfashionable it may be, and however strong our initial prejudices against it."

"... people have gotten into the practice of following private religious hunches rather than leaning of God from his own Word;"

"But we are not making up an idea of God by drawing on our imagination; we are seeking instead to listen to the words of Holy Scripture, in which God himself tells us the truth about himself."

God's jealousy is "zeal to protect a love relationship or to avenge it when broken."

"A zealous man... only sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God... He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God's glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it - he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn; and if consumed in burning, he had but don't the work for which God appointed him."

"God himself... took the initiative in quenching his own wrath against those whom, despite their ill-desert, he loved and had chosen to save."

The New Testament in three words: "adoption through propitiation."

"[Earnest Christians in seeking guidance often mistakenly] think of guidance as essentially inward prompting by the Holy Spirit, apart from the written Word."

"... the fundamental mode whereby our rational Creator guides his rational creatures is by rational understanding and application of his written Word."

"But the true way to honor the Holy Spirit as our guide is to honor the holy Scriptures through which he guides us."

Six Common Pitfalls:
1. Unwillingness to think
2. Unwillingness to think ahead
3. Unwillingness to take advice
4. Unwillingness to suspect oneself
"We need to ask ourselves why we 'feel' particular course to be right, and to make ourselves give reasons - and we shall be wise to lay the case before someone else whose judgement we trust, to give a verdict on our reasons."
5. Unwillingness to discount personal magnetism
6. Unwillingness to wait

"... following God's guidance regularly leads to upsets and distresses which one would otherwise have escaped."

"You are called to go through the world as a pilgrim, a mere temporary resident, traveling light, and willing, as Christ directs, to do what the rich young ruler refused to do: give up material wealth and the security it provides and live n a way that involves you in poverty and loss of possessions. Having your treasure in heaven, you are not to budged for treasure on earth, nor for a high standard of living - you may well be required to forego both. You are called to follow Christ, carrying your cross."

"Your attitude to other people, good and bad, nice and nasty, both Christians and unbelievers, is to be that of the good Samaritan toward the Jew in the gutter - that is to say, your eyes must be open to see others' needs, both spiritual and material; your heart must be ready to care for needy souls when you find them; your mind must be alert to plan out the best way to help them; an your will must be set against the trick we are all so good at - 'passing the buck,' going by on the other side and contracting out of situations of need where sacrificial help is called for."

Oswald Chambers:
"The best measure of a spiritual life is not its ecstasies, but its obedience."

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Reading Progress

July 13, 2019 – Started Reading
July 13, 2019 – Shelved
July 21, 2019 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy Gravell I am excited to read this review


Noah Austria Amy wrote: "I am excited to read this review"

I wrote all of it myself!


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