No one has ever seen God; the only God,who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. John 1:18
Jesus Christ was appointed by God to be the great prophet and teacher of the church. He can reveal to the world with authority the secrets that lay in the heart of God. He brought his doctrine from the bosom of his Father and has given his Father’s word’s to us (John 17:8). He has spoken to us of that which he has personally seen with his Father (John 8:38). Who can know the secrets of God, but he that lay eternally in the Father’s bosom? The glory of his deity was evident upon the hearts of those who heard him; so that even his enemies were forced to acknowledge that ‘No one ever spoke like this man’ (John 7:46). Christ enlightens and teaches men the will of God variously, gradually, plainly, powerfully, sweetly, purely, and fully. There is a natural ignorance and blindness in men about the things of God. The world is in darkness. It is true, in the state of innocence man had a clear apprehension of the will of God, but now that light is quenched in the corruption of nature (1 Cor. 2:14). The natural man not only has a native blindness that he cannot discern the things of the Spirit, but also a natural enmity. Until his mind is healed and enlightened by Jesus Christ the natural enmity. Until his mind is healed and enlightened by Jesus Christ the natural faculty cannot discern the things of the Spirit. Supernatural mysteries cannot be understood even with the most subtle, searching, and penetrating wit and reason. Man is at a loss with regard to the mysteries of God. Christ’s words come in power and heat as well as light. They come in a sweet and affectionate manner, and burn in the heart of his sheep (John 10:4-5). When the will of Christ is understood and known, we have no liberty of choice, but we must be governed by it, even if the duty commanded is very difficult, or the sin forbidden very tempting.
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.