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Evidence of Knowing God (4)

One of the greatest blessings of knowing God is the peace and contentment that comes from knowing that God is sovereign, and that he holds us in his hands in all circumstances. Packer writes,


4. Those who know God have great contentment in God. There is no peace like the peace of those whose minds are possessed with full assurance that they have known God, and God has know them, and that this relationship guarantees God’s favor to them in life, through death and on for ever.

This is the peace of which Paul speaks in Romans 5:1—“since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”—and whose substance he analyzes in full in Romans 8. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. . . . The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children . . . heirs of God. . . . We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. . . . Those he justified, he also glorified. . . . If God is for us, who can be against us? . . . Who will bring any charge against those who God has chosen? . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? . . . I am convince that neither death nor life . . . neither the present nor the future . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus or Lord” (vv. 1, 16–17, 28, 30, 31, 33, 35, 38–39).

This is the peace which Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego know; hence the contentment with which they stood their ground in face of Nebuchadnezzar’s ultimatum (Dan 3:15): “If you do not worship [the image], you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Their reply (3:16–18) is classic “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.” (No panic!) “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.” (Courteous, but unanswerable—they knew their God!) “But even if he does not”—if no deliverance comes—“we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods.” (It doesn’t matter! It makes no difference! Live or die, they are content.)

Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short—then why should I be sad
To soar to endless day?

The comprehensiveness of our contentment is another measure whereby we may judge whether we really know God.

—J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 31–32.

Posted 2008·10·17 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Contentment · J I Packer · Knowing God · Persecution/Suffering · Sovereignty

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