My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1
In the office of advocate, one man is empowered to plead for another before a judicial court when he had been accused by an enemy. Christ exercises the office of advocate when his child is found guilty before God of some heinous sin in his life and conversion. This is the time for Christ to stand up to plead as for David. Can David’s sin stand with grace? Is it possible that a man that has done as he has, should yet be found a saint, and in a saved state? Can God forgive him and yet be holy and just? Can the merits of the Lord Jesus reach a man in this condition? Here is the case of a man whose salvation, by his foul offenses, was made doubtful. But now let Christ stand up to plead. David was afraid that God would cast him away, and the devil hoped he would. Satan charged him before God’s face that he might get the sentence of damnation to pass upon his soul. But this was David’s mercy, he had an advocate to plead his cause. By Christ’s wisdom and skill he was forgiven those heavy charges that by law of sin and death were due him. This is one of the greatest mysteries under heaven – that an innocent and holy Jesus should take in hand to plead for such an one before a just and righteous God; that he should plead for such an one against Satan’s accusation, and effectually rescue and get him off from his crimes and the curse of which he was truly guilty by the verdict of the law. Satan in his malice is diligently seeking our destruction, and desires to sift us. If he can get us to break out in sinful acts, he may have reason to accuse us before our God and Father. Thus, for our sakes this text abides, that when we have sinned, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Dr. Packer has had a long-standing passion for the Puritans. Their understanding of God and His ways with man has largely formed his own spirituality and theological outlook. In A Quest for Godliness, the esteemed author of Knowing God and a dozen other books shares with his readers the rich world of Puritanism that has been so influential in his own life.
Dr. Packer masterfully uncovers the hidden treasures of Puritan life and thought. With crystalline clarity he reveals the depth and breadth of Puritan spiritual life, contrasting it with the superficiality and deadness of modern Western Christianity.
Drawing on a lifetime of study, Dr. Packer takes the reader on a survey of the lives and teachings of great Puritan leaders such as John Owen, Richard Baxter, and Jonathan Edwards. He offers a close look at such subjects as the Puritan view of the Bible, spiritual gifts, the Sabbath, worship, social action, and the family. He concludes that a main difference between the Puritans and ourselves is spiritual maturity–the Puritans had it; we don’t.
In a time of failing vision and decaying values, this powerful portrait of Puritans is a beacon of hope that calls us to radical commitment and action when both are desperately needed.
A Quest for Godliness is a profoundly moving and challenging exploration of Puritan life and thought in a beautifully written book. Here is J. I. Packer at his very best.