Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
In every promise there are three things to be considered: the faithfulness of the Father, who gives the promise, the grace of the Son, who is the content of the promise; and the power and efficacy of the Holy Spirit, who puts the promise into execution. The faithfulness of God accompanies the promise (1 Cor. 10:13). Though we are tempted, it shall not grow too strong for us. That which comes upon us we shall be able to bear, and that which would be too hard for us, we shall escape. What security do we have for this? The faithfulness of God (Heb. 10:23). His faithfulness consists in the discharge of his promises. ‘He remains faithful for he cannot deny himself’ (2 Tim. 2:13). So, being under a promise, we have the faithfulness of God engaged for our preservation. There is also in every promise of the covenant, the grace of the Son. He is the subject of all promises. He said, ‘I will keep you.’ How? ‘By my grace with you.’ The soul that has a part in this promise shall enjoy assistance from the grace of Christ in the hour of temptation. Paul’s temptation grew very powerful, but he ‘pleaded with the Lord’ for help (2 Cor. 12:8). The answer he received from the Lord was ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ (verse 9). The efficacy of the Spirit also accompanies God’s promises. The Spirit is called ‘the Holy Spirit of promise’ – not only because he was promised by Christ, but also because he effectually makes good the promises of God, and gives them accomplishment in our souls. The Spirit also, then, is engaged to preserve the soul’s walking according to the rules laid down (see Isa. 59:21). This, wherever we find a promise of God, we have this assistance: the faithfulness of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the power of the Spirit. All three are engaged for our preservation.
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.