I have been a Christian for a long time, and over that time I can see how I have grown by God’s grace into a (slightly) more mature follower of Jesus Christ. One way I have grown is in my understanding of God as my Father, Jesus as my elder brother, and my membership of his church as belonging in his family rather than an (impersonal) membership of a merely human institution.
So when I read Jim Packer’s words which I have quoted here, I can see their truth.
If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much they make of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as their father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls their worship and prayers and their whole outlook on life, it means that they do not understand Christianity very well at all (J.I.Packer, Knowing God, p.226).
What do you make of the fact that through the gospel of the Lord Jesus, freely by God’s grace, you have been adopted into his family, received the Spirit of Adoption, and been made co-heir with the Lord Jesus himself (Gal. 4.4-7)? This is a truth that should stir our hearts to cry along with the Spirit, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8.15). It is a blessing with a scope that we will never truly comprehend (Eph. 3.14-19).
Spend some time reading over Romans 8 and Galatians 4. Ask God’s Spirit to open your heart and eyes that you might overflow in love for him in response. After all, “If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?” (John Owen, Communion with God).
Pastor | Trinity Church Brighton
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