The New Testament writers show great concern for the spiritual growth of their readers. Paul, for example, writes to the Corinthians, “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not ready” (1 Cor. 3:1–2).
The writer to the Hebrews similarly: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.…
It is tragically possible for God’s people to limit their understanding and preaching of the gospel to its essential components, while neglecting all-important implications.
Write J.I. Packer and Gary Parrett:
‘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 at 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.
Challenged by a Jehovah’s Witness heckler to find the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in the Bible, J.I. Packer responded along the following lines:
(i) endorsed Old Testament monotheism (Mark 12:29), yet
(ii) regarded Himself as ‘the Son’ in a unique sense (Matt. 11:27; Mark 12:1-12; 13:32), and prescribed and accepted worship of Himself as Son of God, treating this as a proper expression of faith (John 5:23; 9:35-38; 20:28); and
(iii) promised the Holy Spirit as ‘another Comforter’ in succession to Himself, to carry on His own many-sided ministering role (John 14:16); and
(iv) bracketed Father, Son and Spirit together as the triune ‘name’ (singular, note, not plural) into which – that is, into a relationship with which – future disciples were to be baptized (Matt.
Do you believe in divine judgment? By which I mean, do you believe in a God who acts as our Judge?
Many, it seems, do not. Speak to them of God as a Father, a friend, a helper, one who loves us despite all our weakness and folly and sin, and their faces light up; you are on their wavelength at once. But speak to them of God as Judge and they frown and shake their heads.…
“This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3).
What does it mean to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent?
Let J.I. Packer answer.
First, knowing God is a matter of personal dealing, as is all direct acquaintance with personal beings. Knowing God is more than knowing about him; it is a matter of dealing with him as he opens up to you, and being dealt with by him as he takes knowledge of you.…
Regenerations, according to T.C. Hammond, is ‘a spiritual resurrection into a new sphere of life, in which he is alive to God and united to him in Christ. God has implanted in the new-born soul a totally new principle of life.’ (In Understanding Be Men).
We look, accordingly, for signs of life in the new-born Christian.
J.I. Packer writes that ‘the signs whereby a regenerate person may be known correspond to the natural actions of the newborn child.’…