“How sweet will the music be when all shall sing together in concert in the heavenly choir! And though, in this great assembly of saints and angels, ‘one star may differ from another in glory,’ yet no such weed as envy shall ever grow in the paradise of God; there shall be perfect love, which, as it casts out fear, so also envy. Though one vessel of glory may hold more than another, every vessel will be full.”
In this chapter, Packer reminds us of what God’s wrath is and how it is considered an aspect of God’s just character. I agree with Packer that many Christians tend to avoid discussing God’s wrath as the term seems to carry with it negative connotations. However, the God that we know from the Bible not only loves mercy but upholds justice. As Christians, reflecting on God’s wrath should cause us to praise God for the fact that He will not leave evildoers unpunished but will avenge the righteous.
Furthermore, we praise Him for providing us our salvation which is only through Christ. On the other hand, God’s wrath should motivate us to spread the Gospel to unbelievers around us who are still in danger of God’s holy anger towards their sin. Lastly, God’s wrath should spur us to live holy lives not because we fear judgement but because of our knowledge of God’s hatred for sin.
“They who are the lights of the world must increase till they come to the meridian of glory. Not to grow is suspicious; painted things do not grow.”
In this chapter, we learn about God as Judge and how we all face the judgement of God. Packer emphasizes that the justice of God is an essential attribute of His holiness and that all of us including Christians are subject to his judgement. This is an important teaching in opposition to antinomianism which is the belief that because God’s grace is so big, there is no need to pursue holiness and obedience to God’s laws. Packer is worried as we keep on preaching God’s grace, love, and forgiveness that we forget to preach on God’s justice and wrath.
Even though Christians have been saved through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we are still obligated to obey all of God’s commands and statutes. Nevertheless, we can never earn the righteousness that Christ has already won for us; our good works are simply a natural reflection of our regenerated heart through the Holy Spirit’s transforming power. I am thankful for Packer’s timely reminder that God is a just God and no one can escape His holy judgement. However, we can be confident that the One who judges us is also the sacrificial Lamb who has earned our righteousness
“Let us examine how our faith was wrought. Did God in the ministry of the word humble us? Did he break up the fallow ground of our heart, and then cast in the seed of faith? A good sign; but, if you know not how you came by your faith, suspect yourselves; as we suspect men to have stolen goods, when they know not how they came by them.”
“Hot clothes will not put warmth into a dead man. Thou mayest have hot clothes, warn and lively preaching, and yet be spiritually dead.”