Saturday, October 11, 2008

J.I. Packer on Peace

As I said in an earlier post, I have been reading J.I. Packer’s Knowing God at bedtime for the last little while. I read the following paragraph on Tuesday, September 30th. I read the paragraph twice, and that’s all I read that night.

What does the Gospel of God offer to us? If we say ‘the peace of God’, none will demur – but will everyone understand? The use of right words does not guarantee right thoughts! Too often the peace of God is thought of as if it were essentially a feeling of inner tranquility, happy and carefree, springing from knowledge that God will shield one from life’s hardest knocks. But this is a misrepresentation, for, on the one hand, God does not feather-bed His children in this way, and anyone who thinks He does is in for a shock, and, on the other hand, that which is basic and essential to the real peace of God does not come into this concept at all. The truths after which this account of God’s peace is feeling (though it misrepresents them, as we said) are that God’s peace brings both power to face, and live with, one’s own badness and failings, and also contentment under ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ (for which the Christian name is God’s wise providence). The truth which this account ignores is that the basic pardon and acceptance into covenant – that is, adoption into God’s family. But where this change of relationship with God – out of hostility into friendship, out of wrath into the fullness of love, out of condemnation into justification – is not set forth, the gospel of peace is not truly set forth either. The peace of God is first and foremost peace with God; it is the state of affairs in which God, instead of being against us, is for us. No account of God’s peace which does not start here can do other than mislead. One of the miserable ironies of our time is that whereas liberal and ‘radical’ theologians believe themselves to be re-stating the gospel for today, they have for the most part rejected the categories of wrath, guilt, condemnation, and the enmity of God, and so have made it impossible for themselves ever to present the gospel at all, for they cannot now state the basic problem which the gospel of peace solves.

J.I. Packer, Knowing God, Chapter 18, The Heart of the Gospel, section VIII, p. 176. Emphasis in original.


Pastor Drake said...

Thank you for posting this! I had a Prof in college who challenged us on this point, and when view in the of being at peace meaning not being at War with God, it made much more sense.

The other conclusion (of inner peace - tranquility) only invites confusion of the issue and frustration towards God for bringing about such a peace into our lives.

PS Our prayers here @ Drayton Valley Alliance are still with you all.

Crystal said...

Thank you Terry for sharing. This book has been on my to read list and sounds amazing. I love the part about re-stating the gospel.
I heard a young girl says once why do we need to read about a new christianity ... hasnt it always been the same. Gotta love Kids.
May GOd continue to lift you up.

Anonymous said...

thank you for the writing i never thought of it that way
our prayers are with and your town
god's peace be with you

Mama Squirrel said...

Thank you for posting this--I'd like to link as well.

Praying for your peace and Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

My heart was heavy for you and your dear family today. I have never met you (I live down here in Edmonton) but God has been faithful in bringing you to my mind often since your tragedy.

Please know that as life seems to carry on for the public that surrounds you, there are many of us who continue to fall before God's throne on your behalf. I do pray for you. And God-willing I will continue to do so.

Come Lord Jesus Come!


Pastor Drake said...

Hey. My wife was reading your blog and was meditation on some thoughts related to everything going on in your life, and I thought it appropriate to mention she wrote something from that. I though you would be interested in reading it, as you were mentioned in it.

here is the site:

As always, you are all in our prayers.

Peace and Grace!