J. I. Packer (1926–2020) loved the Lord, a fact that clearly shines through his writing. He, like C.S. Lewis, communicated profound spiritual truths in mere sentences. The following quotes display his rich biblical theology.
Quotes from J. I. Packer
1. “There is no peace like the peace of those whose minds are possessed with full assurance that they have known God, and God has known them, and that this relationship guarantees God’s favor to them in life, through death, and on for ever.”
As we know God more, we can come to realize that Christianity is a romantic comedy—a romance in the sense of our relationship with God, and a comedy in the sense that this story will end well.
2. “Adoption is the highest privilege of the gospel. The traitor is forgiven, brought in for supper, and given the family name. To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater.”
We have been given this extraordinary wealth of being called children of God: “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are” (1 John 3:1a).
3. “Were I asked to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be adoption through propitiation, and I do not expect ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.”
In this case, propitiation means that the blood of Christ pays the satisfactory price to atone for our sins, satisfying the wrath of God and making us righteous in the eyes of God. God’s righteousness requires perfection; He cannot abide anything that is dark or evil. Therefore, His solution for bringing us near to Him is to declare us righteous through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Only Jesus Christ, the God-man, could make it possible for us to have a relationship with God.
4. “I believe that prayer is the measure of the man, spiritually, in a way that nothing else is.”
A chance encounter with a friend, sitting in your car in traffic, or even doing the dishes—these moments are all opportunities for prayer. In such times, you can learn to see the splendor in the ordinary. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) can become a meaningful expression of practicing God’s presence.
5. “If you ask, ‘Why is this happening?’ no light may come, but if you ask, ‘How am I to glorify God now?’ there will always be an answer.”
That is good theology. Asking the first question is not productive, but the second helps you see your circumstances in light of who God is. This relates to the why of guidance and the why of gratitude. Instead of asking God to change the circumstances, you are asking God to change you, learning to trust His guidance and praise Him for it.
The full list of quotes can be found here.