Archives For J.I. Packer

Grounded in the GospelIf you haven’t picked up Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way by J.I. Packer and Gary Parrett, you need to pick it up. It’s available right now on kindle for just $1.99. In the chapter on “The Gospel as of First Importance,” Packer and Parrett address the need for a “fully dressed” Gospel. They write:

Sadly, even tragically, evangelicals have sometimes been guilty of preaching and teaching a Gospel that is not, shall we say, “fully dressed.” They may have focused properly on the central features of God’s atoning work on the cross, faithfully preached Christ crucified for sinners, celebrated the resurrection as proof that Christ’s self-offering for our sins has been accepted, and urged hearers to be reconciled to God. In other words, they have been right about the essence of the gospel; the key facts have been there in what they have said. But at the same time they have missed some of the critical implications and applications of the Gospel for daily living.

[…] When we fail to conduct ourselves “in step with the truth of the Gospel” (Gal. 2:14), we are in serious error. We are to live in such a way as to make the teaching about God our Savior attractive to our neighbors (Titus 2:10) and to win their respect by responsible and godly living (1 Thess. 4:11-12). Thus our preaching and teaching of the Gospel–that is, our ministries and catechesis–must include teaching the godly manner of living that accords with sound doctrines of the Gospel (Titus 2:1).

[…] The Gospel is to be adorned by both sound doctrine and godly living. To set the Gospel before parishioners and public without these is to preach an unclothed Gospel.

Our salvation does not end at new birth. We are taught by Scripture to say not only that we have been saved (Eph. 2:8) but also that we shall be saved (Rom. 5:9-10; 13:11; 1 Pet. 1:5) and even now are being saved (Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Pet. 1:9). What is the power that saves us? It is the power of the Spirit at work in and through the Gospel (Rom. 1:16) to change lives. We need both a fully orbed doctrine of salvation and a “fully clothed” presentation of the Gospel. But we have often fallen short on both counts.

Packer and Parrett go on to show how older evangelicals have gotten the essence of the Gospel correct by neglecting the implications and applications of the Gospel (undressed Gospel). Consequently, newer evangelicals have stressed the implications and applications of the Gospel but neglected the essence of the Gospel, or even worse, sometimes substituted them for the essence of the Gospel. What we need is a robust understanding of the essence of the Gospel that is fully dressed with all the implications and applications of the Gospel for every aspect of life.

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Penal Substitution

Tim Brister —  July 10, 2012 — 2 Comments

J.I. Packer:

The notion which the phrase ‘penal substitution’ expresses is that Jesus Christ our Lord, moved by a love that was determined to do everything necessary to save us, endured and exhausted the destructive divine judgment for which we were otherwise inescapably destined, and so won us forgiveness, adoption and glory. To affirm penal substitution is to say that believers are in debt to Christ specifically for this, and that this is the mainspring of all their joy, peace and praise both now and for eternity.

[ . . .] Surely the primary issue with which penal substitution is concerned is neither the morality nor the rationality of God’s ways, but the remission of my sins; and the primary function of the concept is to correlate my knowledge of being guilty before God with my knowledge that, on the one hand, no question of my ever being judged for my sins can now arise, and, on the other hand, that the risen Christ whom I am called to accept as Lord is none other than Jesus, who secured my immunity from judgment by bearing on the cross the penalty which was my due. The effect of this correlation is not in any sense to ‘solve’ or dissipate the, mystery of the work of God (it is not that sort of mystery!); the effect is simply to define that work with precision, and thus to evoke faith, hope, praise and responsive love to Jesus Christ.

[ . . . ] Faith is a matter first and foremost of looking outside and away from oneself to Christ and his cross as the sole ground of present forgiveness and future hope. Faith sees that God’s demands remain what they were, and that God’s law of retribution, which our conscience declares to be right, has not ceased to operate in his world, nor ever will; but that in our case the law has operated already, so that all our sins, past present and even future, have been covered by Calvary. So our conscience is pacified by the knowledge that our sins have already been judged and punished, however strange the statement may sound, in the person and death of another.

» Gospel Gold from J.I. Packer’s excellent article, “What Did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution

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J.I. Packer, in his introduction to John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, makes the following argument about the “one point of Calvinistic soteriology” – namely the conviction that God saves sinners.

For to Calvinism there is really only one point to be made in the field of soteriology: the point that God saves sinners. God—the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign wisdom, power and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen people, the Father electing, the Son fulfilling the Father’s will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of Father and Son by renewing. Saves—does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory: plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies. Sinners—men as God finds them, guilty, vile, helpless, powerless, unable to lift a finger to do God’s will or better their spiritual lot. God saves sinners—and the force of this confession may not be weakened by disrupting the unity of the work of the Trinity, or by dividing the achievement of salvation between God and man and making the decisive part man’s own, or by soft-pedaling the sinner’s inability so as to allow him to share the praise of his salvation with his Saviour. This is the one point of Calvinistic soteriology which the “five points” are concerned to establish and Arminianism in all its forms to deny: namely, that sinners do not save themselves in any sense at all, but that salvation, first and last, whole and entire, past, present and future, is of the Lord, to whom be glory for ever; amen.

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In his book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer has a chapter entitled “The Gospel as of First Importance.”  In that chapter, Packer discusses the pastoral and formational applications of the Gospel.  Many are familiar with the quote from Tim Keller that “the Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life; it is the A through Z of the Christian life.”  Packer writes,

“In that spirit we offer the following ‘Gospel Alphabet’–twenty-six pastoral and formative reasons why the Gospel must retain primacy as the content of Christian education” (108).

This week, we come to the letter “Z”.

Z is for Zeal

May God stir both our own hearts and the hearts of those we are called to serve with an authentic zeal for the Gospel, and for the Christ of the Gospel. We have seen how fully this marked Paul’s life. We could certainly say the same of Jesus, whose first public words were a call to repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15) and whose entire ministry was Gospel. All that Jesus said and did and was, in life and in death, was a display of God’s Good News for humanity. In every way, may we never be lacking in zeal but keep our spiritual fervor as we serve the Lord (Rom. 12:11) in and through this glorious Gospel, the Good News of Christ.

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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V |
W | X

In his book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer has a chapter entitled “The Gospel as of First Importance.”  In that chapter, Packer discusses the pastoral and formational applications of the Gospel.  Many are familiar with the quote from Tim Keller that “the Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life; it is the A through Z of the Christian life.”  Packer writes,

“In that spirit we offer the following ‘Gospel Alphabet’–twenty-six pastoral and formative reasons why the Gospel must retain primacy as the content of Christian education” (108).

This week, we come to the letter “Y”.

Y is for Yielding

The Gospel must be continually set forth before church members because it is in view of God’s mercy that we are provoked to yield our lives fully to God as living sacrifices (Rom. 6:13; 12:1). It is the kindness of God displayed in the Gospel that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4) so that we no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died for us and was raised again (2 Cor. 5:15).

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