Adopted

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 
(Ephesians 1:5-6)

During my time of daily worship this morning, the following quote, and devotional suggestion, from J. I. Packer’s Knowing God popped into my mind from the chapter titled “Sons of God.” (If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend you grabbing a copy.) In this chapter, Packer explains the importance of the theme of adoption within the Christian faith. Although I was familiar with the theme, after reading this book, I saw it from a fresh perspective. Packer argues that, as Christians, we should meditate on this biblical truth.

He writes,

Meanwhile, the immediate message to our hearts of what we have studied in the present chapter is surely this: Do I, as a Christian, understand myself? Do I know my own real identity? My own real destiny? I am a child of God. God is my Father; heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer. My Savior is my brother; every Christian is my brother too. Say it over and over to yourself first thing in the morning, last thing at night, as you wait for the bus, any time when your mind is free, and ask that you may be enabled to live as one who knows it is all utterly and completely true. For this is the Christian’s secret of – a happy life? – yes, certainly, but we have something both higher and profounder to say. This is the Christian’s secret of a Christian life, and of a God-honoring life, and these are the aspects of the situation that really matter. May this secret become fully yours, and fully mine.

I’ve taken Packer up on the challenge to meditate on this truth. Will you do the same?

J.I. Packer on Meditation

J.I. Packer is a proponent of biblical meditation. He writes, “How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.”[1] For me, this was the most important principle of Packer’s approach to the study of theology. After reading this statement, I was inspired to incorporate the practice of Lectio Divina in my devotions and sermon preparation. This slowing down to soak in the truths of Scripture, taking time to think deeply about the text, praying through it, and contemplating God’s revelation has revolutionized my walk with God. Often, the time crunch of pastoral ministry causes anxiety and stress to build, but now I understand that taking the time and creating space for biblical meditation is key to fruitfulness and faithfulness in ministry. For God calls us to this knowledge of being still before Him and trusting Him to work on our behalf (Ps. 46:10).


[1] J.I. Packer, Knowing God, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021), 23.

Feelings & Theology

Over the past few months, I’ve returned to Belhaven University to finish my MA in Biblical and Theological Studies. It was a needed hiatus, but I’m glad I returned. I finished my first course in Old Testament Histories last week. The study of how the theme of kingship develops through 1 Samuel to Nehemiah gave me some ideas for a fantasy series (I may write about this in the future). However, today makes the end of my first week in Systematic Theology and so far, it’s amazing!

The assigned texts are John Frame’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief and J.I. Packer’s Knowing God. The program also uses video lectures from Third Millennium Ministries. This week’s video lesson is called “What is Theology?” In the video, they state the primary goals of theology as orthodoxy (right thinking), orthopraxis (right behavior), and orthopathos (right feelings). The first two concepts are familiar to many, but the last idea of having correct emotions is often overlooked. We should balance these three in order to make sure our theology is sound.

Why is the emotional goal of theology not as familiar? I can only speak to my faith tradition, which is protestant evangelical. Our tradition teaches us that our feelings are not to be trusted. Feelings are subjective. However, the video argues that proper feelings are important for a wholistic theology. I found this very interesting. Here is a link to the video here. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments section.

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