Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone
Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2011 6:16 pm
The Messenger, April 14, 2011
Knowing God: Chapter 1
The Study of God
By JOHN K. JONES
Special to The Messenger
“The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings and the existence of the great god whom he calls his Father.” — C.H. Spurgeon, 1855
We continue with our study of “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer this week with the first chapter, “The Study of God.”
“Knowing God”’s first section, “Know the Lord,” is a study of what theologians call theology proper. Theology proper is the study of God Himself, what He is like and what He does.
Theology proper is the most practical study in which we can engage. Knowledge of God’s holiness leads us into greater humility. Knowledge of the Godhead, God’s power and God’s attributes expands the mind and prepares us for other intellectual pursuits. Knowledge of God’s character increases our courage and comfort in the face of life’s many trials.
Five truths, or “foundational principles of knowledge,” will chart a course for us through “Knowing God.” These are:
• The Bible is God’s Word to man, His very word to us.
• God is the Lord. He “rules all things for his own glory.” He displays His character and being in everything He does so that all may worship Him.
• Christ is our Savior. He rescues those who have faith in Him from the guilt and power of sin. He adopts them to be His children so they can call Him their father.
• God exists as a trinity. He is one in being, but three in person. He saves us in all three persons, “the Father proposing redemption, the Son securing it and the Spirit applying it.”
• We are godly when we respond to the Bible in trust, obeying what it says, praying what it suggests, serving others as it commands and praising the God who gave it. This is “true religion.”
Packer will show us the practical outworking of each of these truths.
We must mind our “motives and intentions” as we study God. Theological knowledge only puffs us up in pride and arrogance if we do not. The proper motive is to gain practical knowledge. Theology is merely a means to an end. That end is for our hearts to respond to God and our lives to be conformed to Christ.
As Packer says, “We must seek, in studying God, to be led to God.” We must glorify Him in all we do and enjoy Him all of our days. Our theology’s goal must be down-to-earth, and Packer’s book will help us to realize this goal. We will explore the next chapter next week.
Editor’s note: John K. Jones is a deacon at Grace Community Church (PCA) in Troy, where he and his family attend.