By this we know love

Has anything grown on you recently? I didn’t think I’d like this song, but by a couple of minutes in, I was singing along.

Here’s the chorus:

By this we know love that He laid down His life
God’s very own Son came from Heaven to die
Suspended He hung as He shed His own blood
What grace in His pardon, by this we know love

Via Worship Matters

Couldn’t have said it any better myself

I just can’t wrap my mind around this thought. Horatio Spafford beat me to it by 136 years, and here it  is in his own words:

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—
My sin—not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

That verse just gets me every time…

Knowing God, chapter 22: The adequacy of God (2)

This is the 25th and final post on Knowing God and is continued from yesterday.

B. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him graciously give us all things?” In other words, no good thing will finally be withheld from us. Paul points of the adequacy of  God as our sovereign benefactor and to the certitude of His redeeming work for us.

In this verse we see:

  • The costliness of our redemption. If the measure of love is what it gives, then there never was such love as shown by God on Calvary (Rom 5:8).
  • The effectiveness of our redemption. The NT writers view the cross as the basis of God’s offer of forgiveness, through which we enter into a right relationship with God.
  • The consequences of our redemption. God, says Paul, will with Christ give us “all things”. What things? In chapter 8, we count calling, justification, glorification, glorification. From the rest of Scripture, we have: material needs (Matt 6:33; Mark 10:30), etc. Continue reading

Knowing God, chapter 22: The adequacy of God

This is the final chapter in the book, which was probably my favourite. Due to its length, part two will appear tomorrow.

In this chapter, Packer deals with the book of Romans, and in particular, chapter 8.

The letter to the Romans is a high point of the Bible, says Packer. In it we find doctrine—truth about God on various themes, taught by God. It is a book of life, giving an analysis on the life of sin (chapters 1-3, 5-7, 9), the life of grace (3-15) and the life of faith (4, 10, 14). It is also the book of the church, explaining the church’s identity (the true seed of Abraham, Jew or not, chosen by God) and how the church should live. It is also God’s personal letter to His children, exposing their sin and evoking joy, assurance, boldness, and liberty which God gives to those who love Him.

You can only appreciate the magnificence of Romans “[T]he more you have dug into the rest of the Bible, the more you are exercised with the intellectual and moral problems of being a Christian, and the more you have felt the burden of weakness and the strain of faithfulness in your Christian life.” Continue reading

Knowing God, chapter 21: These inward trials

In this chapter, Packer takes on what he considers shortcomings of the ministry of evangelism, which arise from an inaccurate application of gospel truths.

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The evangelistic ministry emphasises the difference that becoming a Christian will make in a person’s life. In stressing the positive aspects (forgiveness of sins, fellowship with God, the power of the indwelling Spirit), the not-so-positive side of Christian life gets downplayed (the daily chastening, the struggle with sin and Satan, the periodic valley moments). This may leave the recent convert with the impression that the Christian life is one in which problems no longer exist—or if they come, they only have to be taken to the throne of grace where they melt away.

It is also entirely possible to over-emphasise the rough side of Christian life, but this is a lesser extreme: false hopes are a greater evil that false fears. False hopes will lead to bitter disillusionment whereas false fears may lead to the pleasant surprise that all isn’t as gloomy as once thought.

God is very gentle with young believers, such that the start of their new life in Christ is marked by great joy, remarkable answers to prayer and fruitfulness un their acts of witness; thus God encourages them. But as they grow stronger, they’re able to bear more and God exposes them to as much testing as they’re able to bear (1 Cor 10:13), but not less (Acts 14:22). In this way, God builds their character, strengthens their faith and prepares them to help others. He glorifies Himself in our lives, making His strength perfect in our weakness. Continue reading

Knowing God, chapter 20: Thou our guide

Guidance is a problem to many Christians, not because they doubt the truth of divine guidance, but because they are sure of it. They have no doubt as to God’s ability to lead, having read on it in books and having heard of it from friends and public speakers. The problem arises in that they doubt their own receptiveness to the guidance offered by God. [How I can identify with this paragraph!]

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Belief in the reality of God’s guidance rests on two foundational facts: first, the reality of God’s plan for us; second, the ability of God to communicate with us. God has a plan for individuals—He has an ‘eternal purpose’ which He accomplishes ‘in conformity with the purpose of His will’ (Eph 3:11, 1:11). He had a plan to redeem His people from bondage in Egypt; He had a plan to return them from exile in Babylon. He had a plan for Jesus, whose earthly ministry consisted entirely in doing His Father’s will. He had a plan for Paul, who in  5 of his letters announces himself an apostle ‘by the will of God’. Continue reading