Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!
Here we are continuing our discussion on J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology.
Understanding basic theological truths is important in the life of the believer. Again I reiterate what J.I Packer says,
“theology is for doxology and devotion—that is, the praise of God and the practice of godliness. “
GOD’S TWOFOLD WILL IS ONE
. . . Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.
Wisdom in Scripture means choosing the best and noblest end at which to aim, along with the most appropriate and effective means to it. Human wisdom is displayed in the Old Testament Wisdom books (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs, showing how to suffer, pray, live, enjoy, and love, respectively) and in James’s letter (enforcing consistent Christian behavior): it means making the “fear” of God—that is, reverent worship and service of him—one’s goal (Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Eccles. 12:13) and cultivating prudence, fortitude, forbearance, and zeal as means to it.
God’s wisdom is seen in his works of creation, preservation, and redemption: it is his choice of his own glory as his goal (Ps. 46:10; Isa. 42:8; 48:11), and his decision to achieve it first by creating a marvelous variety of things and people (Ps. 104:24; Prov. 3:19-20), second by kindly providences of all sorts (Ps. 145:13-16; Acts 14:17), and third by the redemptive “wisdom” of “Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:18–2:16) and the resultant world church (Eph. 3:10).
The outworking of God’s wisdom involves the expression of his will in both senses that that phrase bears. In the first and fundamental sense, God’s will is his decision, or decree, about what shall happen—“his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass” (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q.7). This is God’s will of events, referred to in Ephesians 1:11. In the second and secondary sense, the will of God is his command, that is, his instruction, given in Scripture, as to how people should and should not behave: it is sometimes called his will of precept (see Rom. 12:2; Eph. 5:17; Col. 1:9; 1 Thess. 4:3-6). Some of its requirements are rooted in his holy character, which we are to imitate: such are the principles of the Decalogue and the two great commandments (Exod. 20:1-17; Matt. 22:37-40; cf. Eph. 4:32–5:2). Some of its requirements spring simply from the divine institution: such were circumcision and the Old Testament sacrificial and purity laws, and such are baptism and the Lord’s Supper today. But all bind the conscience alike, and God’s plan of events already includes the “good works” of obedience that those who believe will perform (Eph. 2:10).
It is sometimes hard to believe that costly obedience, putting us at a disadvantage in the world (as loyal obedience to God often does), is part of a predestined plan for furthering both God’s glory and our own good (Rom. 8:28). But we are to glorify God by believing that it is so, and that one day we shall see it to be so; for his wisdom is supreme and never fails. Making known his will of precept, and governing the responses of human free agency to it, is one means whereby God accomplishes his will of events, even when the response is one of unbelief and disobedience. Paul illustrates this when he tells the Romans that Israel’s unbelief has its place in God’s plan for advancing the gospel (Rom. 11:11-15, 25-32): a realization that prompts the cry: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom … of God!… To him be the glory for ever! Amen” (vv. 33, 36). Let that be our cry too.
Source: Packer, J. I. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.
Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!
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