Could this be one reason that Paul said we are “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10)? I am sorrowful because of my sins, which Packer unveils with pinpoint accuracy. And I am rejoicing in the worship of the great and wonderful God of Scripture, who Packer describes with the biblical wisdom of a gifted pastor-teacher.
Here’s a recap of the sins of which I’m guilty and the excellencies for which I praise Him.
Chapter 1: The Study of God
Repentance: I confess that I have pursued theological knowledge for its own sake, leading to pride and conceit. I have viewed myself as better than other Christians because I think I know more than they do.
Worship: I praise you, Father, because you have spoken to man, and the Bible is your Word, “given to us to make us wise unto salvation.”
Chapter 2: The People Who Know Their God
Repentance: I have often failed to grasp the difference between knowing about God and knowing God, making an idol out of the former to the exclusion of the latter.
Worship: I praise you for granting the gift of contentment to your people. Thank you for making peace with God possible through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Chapter 3: Knowing and Being Known
Repentance: I confess that my faith has often consisted of nothing more than “maudlin self-absorption.” There have been days when I treat God as merely the means to meeting my need for comfort and happiness.
Worship: I praise you for your “initiative in loving, choosing, redeeming, calling and preserving” your people. I thank you that “what matters supremely . . . is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it – that fact that He knows me.”
Chapter 4: The Only True God
Repentance: I confess that I have often thought of myself “free to think of God as I like” to think of Him, and have thereby broken the second commandment.
Worship: I extol you, O God, for you have spoken in your Son, and therefore “the light of the knowledge of His glory is given to us in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Chapter 5: God Incarnate
Repentance: I wasted many years by not only disbelieving the gospel, but by ignoring it altogether.
Worship: O God, how amazing is your grace! You saw fit to reveal yourself through your Son. I praise you for the mystery of the incarnation, that God the Son became Man without ceasing to be God!
Chapter 6: He Shall Testify
Repentance: I have consistently ignored the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
Worship: I thank you, God, for teaching me that “were it not for the work of the Holy Spirit, there would be no gospel, no faith, no Church, no Christianity . . . no New Testament . . . in short, no Christians.”
Chapter 7: God Unchanging
Repentance: I have read the Bible and believed the lie that I must resign myself to “following afar off . . . neither seeking nor expecting for myself such intimacy and direct dealing with God as the men of the Bible knew.”
Worship: I praise you, O God, for you are immutable. “God does not change.” Your life, your character, your truth, your ways, your purposes and your Son do not change. May the glory of your immutability continue to make my soul soar to new heights of wonder!
Chapter 8: The Majesty of God
Repentance: I confess that my God is too small.
Worship: I praise you, O God, for your majesty and greatness. “You are eternal, infinite and almighty. You have us in your hands; but we never have you in ours. Like us, you are personal; but unlike us, you are great.”
NOTE: This is one of a serious of posts on the book “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer. For details on how to join me, blogger Tim Challies and hundreds of other Christians on this journey, click here. To read the other posts in this series, click here.