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"The Adequacy of God" (Chapter 22, Part 2)

Knowing God by J. I. Packer  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:27
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A Summary of Chapter 22 of Knowing God by J. I. Packer


Knowing God by J. I. Packer

“The Adequacy of God” (Chapter 22, Part 2)

Romans: Book of Riches

What those who are wise seek for in the Bible and you can find in Romans:
Doctrine - Truth about God
A Book of Life
The Book of the Church
God’s Personal Letter
What does Romans 8 contain?
The adequacy of the grace of God (1-30)
The adequacy of the God of grace (31-39)

The Doctrines Applied

“What then shall we say in response to these things?” (v. 31)
What defines true Christians in every age?
Commitment to all-round righteousness
Exposure to all-round pressures
“What then shall we say in response to these things?” Paul provides us with four thoughts...

If God Is For Us

“If God is for us, who is against us?”
No opposition can finally crush us.
The adequacy of God as our sovereign protector
The decisiveness of his covenant commitment to us
What was Paul’s purpose in asking this question: “If God is for us, who is against us?”
He is countering fear - the timid Christian’s fear of the forces which he feels are massed against him.
Paul knows that sooner or later this becomes a problem for every Christian.
“Think! says Paul in effect. God is for you; you see what that means; now reckon up who is against you, and ask yourself how the two sides compare.” - J. I. Packer
“You will find in thus knowing God as your sovereign protector, irrevocably committed to you in the covenant of grace, both freedom from fear and new strength for the fight.” - J. I. Packer

No Good Thing Withheld

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
No good thing will finally be withheld from us.
The adequacy of God as our sovereign benefactor
The decisiveness of his redeeming work for us
The costliness of our redemption - “He did not spare his own Son.”
The effectiveness of our redemption - “God gave him up for us all.
The consequences of our redemption - “God will give us all things.”

Who Will Accuse Us?

“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?”
No accusation can ever disinherit us.
The adequacy of God as our sovereign champion
The decisiveness of his justifying verdict upon us
Paul wrote the two previous verses to counter the Christian’s fear of opposition and deprivation among men.
Paul writes this verse to counter fear of rejection by God.
“There are two sorts of sick consciences, those that are not aware enough of sin and those that are not aware enough of pardon...” - J. I. Packer
“Paul speaks directly to the fear (to which no Christian is a total stranger) that present justification may be no more than provisional—that it may one day be lost by reason of the imperfections of one’s Christian life.” - J. I. Packer
Paul does not deny the fact that Christians fail and fall.
Paul does not question the sadness or pain over sins committed as a Christian.
Paul does emphatically deny that any lapses now can danger our justified status.
“The reason, he says in effect, is simple: Nobody is in a position to get God’s verdict reviewed!” - J. I. Packer
“Who will be the accuser of God’s chosen ones?”
Paul reminds us of God’s grace in election: “God’s elect.”
Paul reminds us of God’s sovereignty in judgment: “It is God who justifies.”
“...nobody can ever challenge the verdict, not even “the accuser of the brethren” himself. Nobody can alter God’s decision over his head—there is only one Judge!—and nobody can produce new evidence of your depravity that will make God change his mind. For God justified you with (so to speak) his eyes open. He knew the worst about you at the time when he accepted you for Jesus’ sake; and the verdict which he passed then was, and is, final.” - J. I. Packer
Judgment is a royal prerogative - the sole decision of the King of kings and Lord of lords. “The sovereign Lord who justified you will take active steps to see that the status he has given you is maintained and enjoyed to the full. So loss of justification is inconceivable...” - J. I. Packer
Paul reminds us of Christ’s effectiveness in mediation: “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
He died—to save us from condemnation, by bearing the penalty of our sins as our substitute.
He rose and was exalted—“as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel” (Acts 5:31).
He intercedes with authority for us—that is, he intervenes in our interest to ensure that we receive all that he died to procure for us.
“The loss of justification is inconceivable.”

Who Can Separate Us?

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
No separation from Christ’s love can ever befall us.
The adequacy of God as our sovereign keeper
The decisiveness of divine love in settling our destiny
“...whereas human love, for all its power in other ways, cannot ensure that what is desired for the beloved will actually happen, divine love is a function of omnipotence, and has at its heart an almighty purpose to bless which cannot be thwarted.” - J. I. Packer
“For it is the privilege of all Christians to know for certain that God loves us immutably, and that nothing can at any time part us from that love or come between us and the final enjoyment of its fruits.” - J. I. Packer
Romans 8:38–39 NIV
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul displays God’s “all-sufficiency” in 2 ways:
God is adequate as our keeper.
1 Peter 1:5 NIV
5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
“...the power of God keeps them believing as well as keeping them safe through believing. Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.” - J. I. Packer
God is adequate as our end.
God is not a means to an end; He is the end and goal of our life’s quest.
“Christ is the path, and Christ is the prize.”
“The purpose of our relationship with God in Christ is the perfecting of the relationship itself. How could it be otherwise, when it is a love relationship? So God is adequate in this further sense, that in knowing him fully we shall find ourselves fully satisfied, needing and desiring nothing more.” - J. I. Packer
“Once more, Paul is countering fear—fear, this time, of the unknown, whether in terms of unprecedented suffering or of a horrific future or of cosmic forces which one cannot measure or master. The focus of fear is the effect these things might have on one’s fellowship with God, by overwhelming both reason and faith and so destroying sanity and salvation together.” - J. I. Packer
“But, says Paul, we must fight this fear, for the bogey is unreal. Nothing, literally nothing, can separate us from the love of God: 'In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us' (v. 37).” - J. I. Packer

Learning to Know God in Christ

Who is this God who is “there” for us to know?
The God of the Bible
The God of Romans
The God revealed in Jesus
The Three-in-One of historic Christian teaching.
How do we “know” this God?
We begin by knowing about him.
We come to know his revealed character and ways.
We come to know his attributes of goodness and severity.
Through this, we learn more about ourselves as fallen creatures bound for hell unless grace intervenes.
Knowing God involves a personal relationship with him.
Giving ourselves to God on the basis of his promise to give himself to us.
Asking for his mercy and resting on his undertaking to forgive sinners for Jesus’ sake.
Becoming a disciple of Jesus
Knowing God involves faith—assent, consent, commitment—and faith expresses itself in prayer and obedience.
Knowing God climaxes in full trust in the adequacy of God that dispels fear, knowing with assurance that we will be more than conquerors in Christ.
1 John 4:16–19 NIV
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
“...this is as high in the knowledge of God as we can go this side of glory.” - J. I. Packer
“...we have been brought to the point where we can grasp the truth in descriptions of the Christian life in terms of 'victory' and 'Jesus satisfies.' ...these phrases are precious, for they point to the link between knowledge of God on the one hand and human fulfillment on the other. When we speak of the adequacy of God, it is this link that we highlight, and this link is of the essence of Christianity. Those who know God in Christ have found the secret of true freedom and true humanity.” - J. I. Packer
“...we have been brought to the point where we both can and must get our life’s priorities straight… so many in our day seem to have been distracted from what was, is, and always will be the true priority for every human being—that is, learning to know God in Christ.”
Psalm 27:8 NIV
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.
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