Be Grounded and Settled in the Faith

“A most sovereign antidote against all kind of errors, is to be grounded and settled in the faith: persons unfixed in the true religion, are very receptive of a false; and they who are nothing in spiritual knowledge, are easily made any thing. Clouds without water are driven to and fro with every wind, and ships without ballast liable to the violence of every tempest.”

– The Westminster Assembly, Westminster Confession of Faith, p.6

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The Counsel of the Lord Shall Stand

“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

The Knowledge of God is an Encouragement to Prayer

‘Here is encouragement to prayer. There is no cause for fearing that the petitions of the righteous will not be heard, or that their sighs and tears shall escape the notice of God, since He knows the thoughts and intents of the heart. There is no danger of the individual saint being overlooked amidst the multitude of supplicants who daily and hourly present their various petitions, for an infinite Mind is as capable of paying the same attention to millions as if only one individual were seeking its attention. So too the lack of appropriate language, the inability to give expression to the deepest longing of the soul, will not jeopardize our prayers, for ‘It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear’ (Isaiah 65:24).”

– Arthur W. Pink, The Attributes of God, p.13

There Are No Limits To His Knowledge of Me

“And just as there are no bounds to His presence with me, so there are no limits to His knowledge of me. Just as I am never left alone, so I never go unnoticed. ‘O LORD, thou hast search me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising (all my actions and movements), thou understandest my thought (all that goes on in my mind) afar off…and art acquainted with all my ways (all my habits, plans, aims, desires, as well as my life to date). For there is not a word in my tongue (spoken, or meditated), but lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether’ (verse 1 ff.) [Psalm 139:1-4]. I can hide my heart, and my past, and my future plans, from men, but I cannot hide anything from God. I can talk in a way that deceives my fellow-creatures as to what I really am, but nothing I say or do can deceive God. He sees through all my reserve and pretence; He knows me as I really am, better indeed than I know myself. A God whose presence and scrutiny I could evade would be a small and trivial deity. But the true God is great and terrible, just because He is always with me and His eye is always upon me. Living becomes an awesome business when you realise that you spend every moment of your life in the sight and company of an omniscient, omnipresent Creator.”

– J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p.76

It Is Just The Back Parts of Eternity And Infinity That We See

“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

He Knows Us

“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

No Higher Knowledge

“Growth in knowledge is indispensable to growth in holiness. Indeed, knowledge and holiness are even more intimately linked than as a means and end. For the “knowledge” which Paul prays is more Hebrew than Greek in concept; it adds the knowledge of experience to the knowledge of understanding. More than this, it emphasizes ‘the knowledge of him’ (Eph. 1:17), of God himself personally, as the context within which we ‘may know what is…’ (Eph. 1:18), that is, may come to know truths about him. There is no higher knowledge than the knowledge of God himself. As Adolphe Monod expressed it: ‘Philosophy taking man for its centre says know thyself; only the inspired word which proceeds from God has been able to say know God.’ ”

– John Stott, The Message of Ephesians, p.54