Chapter 1 – The Study of God
Why bother with the study of God? As C.H. Spurgeon outlined in his opening remarks of a particular sermon, there is no subject of contemplation that will humble the mind, more than thoughts of God. And while that is true, I also agree with his assessment that nothing will expand the mind more than thoughts of God. Spurgeon also said “I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.” He was 20 when he presented this to his congregation.
Who needs theology you ask? Surely lay people don’t need to enter into this exercise. This should be more for those in ministry. For the sake of argument, I will agree with you…..but, aren’t we all called to the ministry? A more practical answer possibly is this – why would you not want to study about the God whose world it is and from whom you were created? We are being cruel to ourselves if we attempt to live this life without knowing about God.
How do we start this endeavor? We start from where we are of course. Chances are pretty good, by doing so, we begin this journey in some type of storm going on in our lives. Just the mention of God today in our society will cause strife for believers, so we are apprehensive in even beginning the process. Do not be discouraged. Begin the journey. We can do it together. Let’s start by plotting a course.
Packer outlines 5 basic truths, foundational principles of the knowledge of God which Christians have. These will direct our course. They are:
- God has spoken to man, and the Bible is his Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation.
- God is Lord and King over his world; he rules all things for his own glory, displaying his perfections in all that he does, in order that men and angels may worship and adore him.
- God is Savior, active in sovereign love through the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue believers from the guilt and power of sin, to adopt them as his children and to bless them accordingly.
- God is triune; there are within the Godhead three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and the work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it and the Spirit applying it.
- Godliness means responding to God;s revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God’s Word. This, and nothing else, is true religion.