Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
The Spirit of God teaches the souls of believers this lesson of thankfulness. David’s heart was tuned to the praises of God, and it is important that thankfulness is encouraged and practiced under the gospel also. Thanksgiving demonstrates a spiritual and noble frame of the soul in the highest pitch of grace. The Lord Jesus taught us thankfulness both by pattern and precept, and he thanked God frequently and fervently. Even when he was to eat common bread, he gave thanks (Mark 8:6). The nine lepers were reproved for their unthankfulness (Luke 17:17-18). Thankfulness is the worship we owe God for all that we have and are (1 Cor. 15:10). We live precariously, and are always at God’s mercy. God in his sovereignty might have never made us; or, he could have crushed us into nothing as soon as we were made, for, ‘has the potter no right over the clay?’ (Rom. 9:21). Every moment we depend upon him, and all we have are gifts from him (Acts 17:25). His power over us is absolute and infinite. To this Sovereign we owe all, and therefore we owe him our thanks. ‘For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen’ (Rom. 11:36). Christians have innumerable and invaluable spiritual mercies (1 Pet. 1:3-4). The decree to send Jesus for poor sinners, the opening of a fountain of grace, the making and ratifying of the covenant of grace, his precious promises, with all other choice gospel privileges of grace nd glory, of God’s all sufficiency, and the infinite merit and righteousness of the Son upon the cross – all of these deserve a suitable and proportionate gift of thanks and blessing from us, both here and in heaven. ‘Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you’ (Psa. 63:3).
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.