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New City Churchs Summer 2012 Online Book Club

JI Packers Knowing God ~ Chapter 16, Goodness & Severity Before reading: When you think of the attributes of God, how often does severity show up on your list?

Purpose: To learn to relate Gods goodness to Gods severity

Outline: I. II. III. IV. Santa Claus & Giant Despair Gods Goodness Gods Severity Our Response

Key Quotes: Behold the goodness and severity of God writes Paul in Romans 11:22. The crucial word here is and. Christiansare not to dwell on Gods goodness alone, nor on His severity alone, but to contemplate both together. Both are attributes of Godaspects, that is, of His revealed character. Both must be acknowledged together if God is to be truly known. When the biblical writers call God good, they are thinking in general of all those moral qualities which prompt His people to call him perfect, and in particular of the generosity which moves them to call Him merciful and gracious, and to speak of His love. The psalmists point [in Ps. 145] is that, since God controls all that happens in His world, every meal, every pleasure, every possession, every bit of sun, every nights sleep, every moment of health and safety, everything else that sustains and enriches life, is a divine gift. If we do not let [goodness] draw us to God in gratitude and responsive love, we have only ourselves to blame when God turns against us. Those who decline to respond to Gods goodness by repentance, and faith, and trust, and submission to His will, cannot wonder or complain if sooner or later the tokens of His goodness are withdrawn, the opportunity of benefiting from them ends, and retribution supervenes. But God is not impatient in His severity; just the reverse. He is slow to anger and longsuffering. The bible makes much of the patience and forbearance of God in postponing merited judgments in order to extend the day of grace and give more opportunity for repentance. The patience of God in giving room to repent before judgment falls in one of the marvels of the bible sotry. Reflection Questions: 1. What were some of the reasons that the author said people have become muddled in their thinking about God? Which reason do you think is most prominent in our culture? 2. Why does Packer insist that Gods goodness AND severity be held together? 3. In the final section, Packer lists three responses that we should have. Which one do you need to focus upon at this stage in your life? Why? Review these questions & quotes, and let them direct your thoughts, prayer, and praise.