They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, Psalm 102:26
According to promise, the heavens and the earth shall be melted down and moulded into a more beautiful form. The world was subjected to bondage through sin and was cursed in the fall. Consider what a vile thing sin is, that brought the work of God to corruption. What a foolish thing it si to set our hearts upon that which will perish and vanish like smoke! Perishing things can give no support for the soul; we must run to God and rest in him. God in his perfections is without any variation from eternity to eternity. He is the same in nature, and the same in will and purpose. He changes all other things as he please, but he is immutable in every respect, and his wisdom, power and knowledge are always the same. God lacks nothing, loses nothing, and exists by himself. He is without any new nature, new thought, new will, or new purpose. He is infinitely good, wise, holy, and that without change. If God could change, he would not be a perfect being. Are not the angels in heaven, who are now confirmed in a holy and happy state, more perfect than when they were in the possibility of committing evil? Are not the saints in heaven, who by grace cleave unalterably to God and goodness, more perfect than if they were as Adam in paradise, capable of losing their happiness? Immutability belongs to all the attributes of God. Every one of his perfections is immutable, and none of them will appear glorious without this beam. How cloudy would his blessedness be if he were changeable. How dim would be his wisdom if it might be obscured. How feeble would his power be if it were capable of languishing. O how mercy would lose its lustre if it could change into wrath. Unchangeableness is a thread that runs through the whole web of God’s attributes to his eternal glory.
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.