In 336 densely packed pages and over several chapters, Packer, in his book, A Quest for Godliness, brings the reader face to face with many different facets of Puritan life and ministry with historical precision and keen theological insight. Packer insists that an encounter like this with the Puritans is essential for Christians today who have all but lost any true sense of what Puritans believed, lived for, and sought to give to the church.
As I am making my way (slowly) through Packer’s Knowing God, I am bumping up against a host of excellent quotes. I know that’s kind of like saying, “I went to the beach today and saw water!” as if others should be surprised. Anyway, here are a few excerpts from the latter half of the book for your own edification:
God’s Wrath and the Gospel:“No doubt it is true that the subject of divine wrath has in the past been handled speculatively, irreverently, even malevolently. No doubt there have been some who have preached of wrath and damnation with tearless eyes and not pain in their hearts. No doubt the sign of small sects cheerfully consigning the whole world, apart from themselves, to hell has disgusted many. Yet 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” (156).
The Goodness of God: “The psalmist’s point [from Psalm 145:9, 15-16) is that, since God controls all that happens in his world, every meal, every pleasure, every possession, every bit of sun, every nights sleep, every moment of health and safety, everything else that sustains and enriches life, is a divine gift” (162).
Propitiation: “Has the word propitiation any place in your Christianity? In the faith of the New Testament it is central. The love of God, the taking of human form by the Son, the meaning of the cross, Christ’s heavenly intercession, the way of salvation–all are to be explained in terms of it…and any explanation from which the thought of propitiation is missing will be incomplete, and indeed actually misleading, by New Testament standards” (181).