Will You Read a Christian Classic With Me?

Many times over the years, I have invited readers of this blog to join me in a reading project as part of an ongoing effort I’ve called Reading Classics Together. We’ve read some incredible books together—Holiness by J.C. Ryle, Christianity & Liberalism by Gresham Machen, The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards, The Cross of Christ by John Stott, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks, and a whole lot more. It has been far too long since we’ve read one, and I …

4 Great Reasons to Read Romans

Many Christians have declared Romans to be the finest book of the Bible, the high peak of Scripture. J.I. Packer echoes many pastors and theologians when he says, “All roads in the Bible lead to Romans, and all views afforded by the Bible are seen most clearly from Romans, and when the message of Romans gets into a person’s heart there is no telling what may happen.” He goes on to give 4 reasons that we ought to read, study, …

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Your Highest Privilege

Of all the privileges that are ours through the gospel, which is the greatest? According to many theologians, there is no privilege higher than adoption. J.I. Packer says it like this: “Adoption is the highest privilege that the gospel offers: higher even than justification.” He doesn’t just say it, but also defends it, and his defense is worth pondering. Packer acknowledges that justification is God’s supreme blessing to sinners. Justification is the primary blessing because it meets our primary spiritual …

What Does It Mean that God Is Jealous?

Nobody would imagine a jealous God. That’s what J.I. Packer says in Knowing God, and I think he might be right. There are lots of gods we might fabricate in our own minds, but we would naturally create ones who had only the characteristics we admire: Love, mercy, patience, and attributes like that. But jealousy? That’s far less likely. Yet time and time again, God reveals himself as a jealous God. He even goes as far as to give his …

2 Serious Misconceptions about God’s Wrath

There may be no theological topic more controversial than divine wrath. While most of humanity is eager to acknowledge the existence of God, and while most love to acknowledge his traits of grace and mercy and kindness, very few want to acknowledge his wrath. Yet wrath is a consistent theme in the Bible and a defining characteristic of the God we meet in its pages. Divine wrath suffers when we fail to understand it aright. Here are two serious, common …

God Is His Own Executioner

What is involved in the idea of the Father, or Jesus, being a judge? This is something J.I. Packer deals with extraordinarily well in his book Knowing God. Let’s track with him just briefly to see our good God in his function of just judge. Here are 4 characteristics of the judge. The judge is a Person with authority. “In the Bible world, the king was always the supreme authority because his was the supreme ruling authority. It is on …

Perversity as Pathetic as Impoverishing

We are easily distracted by the things that matter less, and preoccupied with the things that matter least. This is exactly the case—too often, at least—when it comes to talk of revival and when it comes to our desire to see the Spirit’s work in our lives and in the church. J.I. Packer makes the case that it is the Spirit’s regular ministry, and not his extraordinary or miraculous ministry, that should preoccupy us. Give this a read and consider …

The Wise God and the Suffering Christian

Why do Christians suffer? Why aren’t Christians relieved from trouble, from pain, from suffering? If God is powerful and wise, why doesn’t he direct his power and wisdom toward more comfortable lives for the ones he loves and redeems? J.I. Packer helpfully addresses this in the ninth chapter of Knowing God and I have condensed the chapter down to its essence. For us to be truly wise, in the Bible sense, our intelligence and cleverness must be harnessed to a …

Stop, Look, and Consider

It is easy to look at the world around us, the culture around us, the institutions around us, and to despair. It is easy to see all that is wrong, all that looks so dark and dangerous, and to lose our hope, to lose our confidence. I have been helped here by J.I. Packer in a powerful little part of Knowing God. Packer teaches the benefit of comparing God with whatever forces and powers we regard as great, and then …

The Heart of the Unbeliever’s Unbelief

If you pause to think about it, you may just come to agree with me: Nobody really has a problem with Jesus’ atoning death. Not at heart. Nobody really has a problem with Jesus’ resurrection. Not at the foundation. They don’t have a problem with his miracles or coming return. They actually have a problem with Jesus’ incarnation. The problem is not Good Friday or Easter, but Christmas. As J.I.Packer says, “Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this …