“The invitation of the Bible is not to dreary abstinence. It’s a call to find in God that which truly satisfies. It’s believing that we find lasting fulfillment, satisfaction, joy, and identity in knowing God and nowhere else. Whatever sin offers, God offers more, for God offers us himself. God isn’t just good, he’s better–better than everything else–and the true source of all joy.”
– Tim Chester, You Can Change, p.85
“Nineteenth century theologian Charles Hodge says that true knowledge of Christ ‘is not the apprehension of what he is, simply by the intellect, but also…involves…the corresponding feeling of adoration, delight, desire and [contentment].’ Seeing and knowing Christ isn’t just receiving information but means of recognizing him as the one who is altogether lovely. It’s embracing the truth about God and delighting in it.”
– Tim Chester, You Can Change, p.76-77
“…change is about discovering the delight of knowing and serving God. Our job is to stop wallowing around in the dirt and instead to enjoy knowing God, to give up our cheap imitations and enjoy the real thing. All too often we think of holiness as giving up the pleasures of sin for some worthy but drab life. But holiness means recognizing that the pleasures of sin are empty and temporary, while God is inviting us to magnificent, true, full, and rich pleasures that last forever.”
– Tim Chester, You Can Change, p.36
“Now the divine knowledge of the future is not a mere abstraction, but something which is inseparably connected with and accompanied by His purpose. God has Himself designed whatever shall yet be, and what He has designed must be effectuated. As His most sure Word affirms, ‘He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand’ (Daniel 4:35). And again, ‘There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand’ (Proverbs 19:21). The wisdom and power of God being alike infinite, the accomplishment of whatever He has purposed is absolutely guaranteed. It is no more possible for the divine counsels to fail in their execution than it would be for the thrice holy God to lie.”
– Arthur W. Pink, The Attributes of God, p.13
“There are some truths of God that He has taught us to speak of. He has even guided us in our expressions of them. But when we have done so we do not really fully understand these things. All we can do is believe and admire. We profess, as we are taught that God is infinite, omnipotent, eternal; and we know the discussions about His omnipresence, immensity, infinity and eternity. We have, I say, words and notions about these things; but as to the things themselves, what do we really know? What do we comprehend of them? Can the mind of man do any more than be swallowed up in an infinite abyss and give itself up to what it cannot conceive or express? Is not our understanding ‘brutish’ in the contemplation of such things?
We are more perfect in our understanding when we realize that we cannot understand, and rest there. It is just the back parts of eternity and infinity that we see. What shall we say of the Trinity, or the existence of three Persons in the same individual essence? This is such a mystery that it is denied by many, because they cannot understand it. Is it not indeed a mystery whose every letter is mysterious? Who can declare the generation of the Son, the procession of the Spirit, or the difference of the one from the other? Thus, the infinite and inconceivable distance that is between Him and keeps us in the dark as to any sight of His face or clear apprehension of His perfections.
We know Him rather by what He does than by what He is. We understand His doing us good, but not truly His essential goodness. How little a portion of Him, as Job says, is discovered in this way!”
– John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, p.94-95
“What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it–the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters.
This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort–the sort of comfort that energises, be it said, not enervates–in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love, and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench His determination to bless me. There is, certainly, great cause for humility in the thought that He sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow-men do not see (and am I glad!), and that He sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which, in all conscience, is enough). There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, He wants me as His friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given His Son to die for me in order to realise this purpose.”
– J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p.37
A few days ago I read a chapter on the wrath of God in J.I. Packer’s, Knowing God. The entire chapter was amazing, but here I will just entice you with just a few quotes that I highlighted. The first quote is about Jesus’ teaching on “losing your soul”, or essentially hell. This was especially helpful for me as I just finished reading the Gospel of Matthew where many of these phrases are repeated by Jesus.
“Jesus uses the His own solemn imagery–‘Gehenna’, (‘hell’ in Mark 9:47 and ten other gospel texts), the valley outside Jerusalem where rubbish was burned; the ‘worm’ that ‘dieth not’ (Mark 9:47), an image, it seems for the endless dissolution of the personality by a condemning conscience; ‘fire’ for the agonizing awareness of God’s displeasure; ‘outer darkness’ for knowledge of the loss, not merely of God, but of all good, and everything that made life seem worth living; ‘gnashing of teeth’ for self-condemnation and self-loathing. These things are, no doubt, unimaginably dreadful, though who have been convicted of sin know little of their nature.” (Knowing God, p. 138)
In this second quote, J.I. Packer, explains the necessity of the doctrine of God’s wrath:
“…if we would 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. Otherwise, we shall not understand the gospel of salvation from wrath, nor the propitiatory achievement of the cross, nor the wonder of the redeeming love of God.” (Knowing God, p. 142)
Dr. Packer had an excellent, long quote from A.W. Pink, but after Packer explaining importance of this often overlooked doctrine we should take Pink’s advice:
“The wrath of God is a perfection of the Divine character on which we need to meditate frequently.” (A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God, p.77, emphasis mine)