by J. I. Packer
The following questions and answers are a summary of J I Packer’s biblical studies, 18 Words. The ‘selection of themes reflects a purpose of spelling out the gospel, which is the Bible’s central message.’ The teaching brings out the incomparable beauty of the justice and mercy of God, the goodness of His ways.
(Page numbers in the questions refer to the 1998 edition that was reprinted in 2014, Christian Focus Publications, Fearn, Scotland.)
Ch. 1 Revelation
Q 1 Regarding God’s revelation a) what need is there for it, b) what is its aim and c) what should be our attitude in the face of revelation (p 19 para 2)?
Ans: a) Vital things are hidden from our eyes until God disclose them to us.
- b) To give knowledge of these vital things.
- c) We should be ready to listen respectfully, to learn and thankfully receive all that God reveals to us.
Q 2 What is the core content of God’s revelation to us (p 22 para 3 – p 24 para 2)?
Ans: God was revealing
- His kingdom
- His covenant
- His law
- His salvation.
Q 3 God’s written-spoken word ended with the apostolic age. Does this mean that for nineteen centuries now God has not been speaking to man at all (p 24 para 3)?
Ans: No. The living God is still saying to mankind what He said in the Bible and in and through His Son nineteen centuries ago. When we read the Bible we are truly confronted with God’s revelation to us, a revelation demanding a response from us.
Q 4 What is the difference between the content of general and special revelation?
Ans: Unlike special revelation, general revelation through conscience assures transgressors that they are condemned (Rom 1:32); it carries no redemptive message, it offers no hope of forgiveness; it preaches the law (Rom 2:14f.), but not the gospel.
Q 5 a) What problem has man in sin with respect to revelation, whether special or general, and b) what is the remedy (p 26 para 3)?
Ans: a) Man in sin is not able to receive this revelation because his capacity for spiritual discernment has been largely destroyed, his mind has been blinded by the god of this world (1 Cor 2:14; 2 Cor 4:4).
- b) Only if God takes the veil off our hearts and gives us spiritual sight (2 Cor 4:6; Matt 16:17).
Q 6 What revelation has rightly been regarded by the church as man’s highest good (p 27 para 2)?
Ans: The heavenly vision of God, to be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:17; Ps 16:11; 63:2, 3).
Ch. 2 Scripture
Q 1 Why do Christians regard the Bible as infallible (p 32 para 1)?
Ans: Because it is divine, i.e. its author is God.
Q 2 Why do the 66 books of the Bible in fact make one book (p 33 para 1, p 35 para 2)?
Ans: a) They all deal harmoniously with a common theme, the drama of redemption.
- b) They all proceed from a common mind – the mind of God the Holy Spirit.
Q 3 What proposition about the Bible is modern theology not very ready to recognize (p 33 para 3)?
Ans: That the Scriptures are a revelation in the form of a historical record, that all Scripture is inspired by God and is in truth the Word of God.
Q 4 What ensures that the Bible is in truth the Word of God (p 34 para 1)?
Ans: Because the Bible is ‘breathed out by God’ (2 Tim 3:16); the men who wrote the Bible were carried along by the Holy Spirit, they were ‘men [who] spoke from God.’ (2 Pet 1:21 NIV)
Q 5 What is meant that the Scripture has a double authorship (p 34 para 2)?
Ans: ‘Men wrote it, and God wrote it through those men.’
Q 6 What is the deepest reason why the biblical writings are holy (p 35 para 2)?
Ans: Because the holy God is their true Author.
Q 7 God’s penmen were fallible and imperfect, so how can the Scriptures which they wrote be inerrant (without error) (p 35 para 3)?
Ans: While writing these Scriptures God kept these men from error so that they neither falsified the facts nor misrepresented God’s purpose and character.
Q 8 The Bible, Scripture, is inspired – it ‘cannot be broken’ (John 10:35). What are some of the implications or corollaries of this (p 36 para 2)?
Ans: a) It is canonical, the only valid rule of faith and life.
- b) It is authoritative since it is God’s witness to Himself. In effect, what the scripture says, God says. For Christ to be Lord of a person’s life, Scripture must be Lord of that person’s mind and conscience.
Q 9 Did the church confer authority or canonicity to the 27 books of the New Testament (p 36 para 2)?
Ans: No. The church had to discern which ones were already canonical, i.e. which ones were written or sanctioned by the apostles or came from the inner circle where revelation operated through prophets and apostles (cf. Eph 3:5), and demonstrably taught apostolic doctrine. This the church was able to do from external and internal evidence and its historic experience of hearing the Lord’s voice in all the New Testament books without exception.
Q 10 Why is Scripture still relevant today (p 38 para 1)?
Ans: Because there has been no change in God or Christ or human nature and need, or repentance, faith and godliness.
Q 11 How does God speak to us through His word (p 39 para 2)?
Ans: He makes us judge ourselves and our situations as He Himself judge them. He does this by ordinary language which informs, commands and directs, illustrates and which in this way evokes attitudes and reactions such as trust, love, faith, fear, repentance, hope, joy and adoration. He reveals Himself to us and we see Him and ourselves more clearly.
Q 12 Why does contact with God’s word transform some people and leave others cold (p 40 para 4)?
Ans: Some come to the Bible not hungry and expectant, not conscious of daily need to hear God speak. Others let the written Word lead them to the living Word, Jesus Christ, to whom it constantly points. Desire for God springing from a sense of need of Him is the factor that decides how much or how little impact Scripture will make. (‘Bible reader, check your heart!’)
Q 13 Why should we arm ourselves with a thorough knowledge of the Word of God (p 40 para 6)?
Ans: J. C. Ryle: ‘You live in a world where your soul is in constant danger. Enemies are round you on every side. Your own heart is deceitful. Bad examples are numerous. Satan is always labouring to lead you astray. Above all false doctrine and false teachers of every kind abound. This is your great danger […] Read you Bible regularly. Become familiar with your Bible…. Neglect your Bible and nothing that I know can prevent you from error if a plausible advocate of false teaching shall happen to meet you.’
Ch. 3 The Lord
Q 1 If someone challenged us with the question, “Is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in the Bible?”, how could we succinctly answer this question (p 43 para 1)?
Ans: a) The OT teaches there is only one God (Mark 12:29)
- b) Jesus regarded Himself as ‘the Son’ in a unique sense and prescribed and accepted worship of Himself as the Son of God (Matt 11:27; Mark 12:1-2; 13:32; John 5:23; 9:35-38; 20:28)
- c) The Holy Spirit, ‘another Comforter’, would carry on Jesus’ many-sided work (John14:16)
- d) The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are bracketed together as a singular triune name (Matt 28:19).
Q 2 a) What does God’s name ‘the LORD’ mean and b) what are some implications of His name (p 46 para 1)?
Ans: a) ‘I am who I am’, ‘I am’ for short; ‘what I will be, I will be.’
- b) God is sovereignly self-sufficient and self-consistent; He is free and independent; He does what He pleases; what He purposes and promises He also performs. Because He is almighty to fulfill His word, He is also utterly trustworthy, for He is utterly invincible. ‘I work,’ He said, ‘and who can hinder it?’ (Is 43:13).
Q 3 According to the natural grammatical reading there are a number of NT passages that explicitly declare the Lord Jesus to be God. What are these passages?
Ans: John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1.
Q 4 What evidence is there in the NT that the Holy Spirit is a Person, and a divine Person (p52 para 1 & 2)?
Ans: He is linked with the Father and the Son in the tri-personal name of God (Matt 28:19) and He is linked with Father and Son in prayer for, and pronouncement of, the blessing of God (2 Cor 13:14; Rev 1:4f.). The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Eph 4:30), He speaks (Acts 8:29), forbids (Acts 16:7), testifies (Acts 5:32) and intercedes (Rom 8:26f.).
Ch. 4 The world
Q 1 When we think of the world what is our reference point – and what is the Bible’s (p 55 para 2, p 56 para 1)? What then does this imply?
Ans: Our reference point is man. For us man is always at the centre. In the Bible the reference point is not man, but God. We need to think of the world God-centredly, as God sees it. The thoughts of God about the world are the measure of what it really is.
Q 2 The commonest word for ‘world’ in the NT is kosmos, which basically means ‘order’. According to Packer what is the key thought in the biblical presentation of God’s work as Creator (p 56 para 2)?
Ans: God’s creative work brought order out of what was chaotic (Gen 1:2f.), out of disorder God brought harmonious integration of a variety of elements and energies: the land, sea, regular rhythm of day and night, the heavenly objects to rule the day and the night, and living creatures – birds, beasts and human beings ‘according to their kind’.
Q 3 When God produced an ordered world this involved the imposing of limits and boundaries in both space and time (p 56 para 3). How is this seen in nature and in people?
Ans: God set limits to the land and the sea. When men multiplied He allotted particular areas for each group to inhabit. He also providentially imposed limits to the life of mankind (Deut 32:8; Acts 17:26).
Q 4 What attitude should we have when we listen to others’ view of Genesis and science and when we present our own views (p 58 para 8)?
Ans: We should put forward our views with modesty and graciously give others the opportunity to present their views.
Q 5 1 Tim 4:4: ‘Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.’ In the light of this teaching on the world that God created, how does God intend men to live (p 59 para 2, 3)?
Ans: We should live acknowledging His goodness in all His provision. If we are called for His sake to renounce some of these things, we should never forget that what we give up is something good, not something evil. ‘God is glorified when the good things of creation are received and enjoyed as His gifts, and men praise and thank Him for them.’
Q 6 In what ways did Adam’s transgression disrupt the entire order of things God had made (p 60 para 3, p 61 para 3, and p 64 para 3)?
Ans: It disordered Adam’s relationship with God. Also human relations are now disrupted with man against man. Nature too was ‘subjected to futility’ (Rom 8:19-22), going back some way towards chaos and ‘groaning’ in the futility of the present disorder.
Q 7 What is the difference between worldliness and the use and enjoyment of created things (p 61 para 2)?
Ans: Worldliness means yielding to any of these three evil influences – ‘the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life’ (1 John 2:16); it means yielding to the spirit of self-seeking and self-indulgence without regard to God. The proper use and enjoyment of created things means not losing our hearts to these things, but receiving these things gratefully from God and giving Him heartfelt praise and thanks. ‘Again, it is not worldly to be praised; but it is worldly to live for men’s compliments and applause, and to find one’s highest happiness in the thought that one has gratified men, rather than in the knowledge that one has done God’s will. Worldliness is the spirit which substitutes some earthly ideal, such as pleasure, or gain, or popularity, for life’s true goal, which is in all things to praise and to please God.’
Q 8 ‘The whole godless world lies in the power of the evil one’ (1 John 5:19, NEB). But, in relation to this power of the evil one over the world, what also is true (p 62 para 1)?
Ans: God overrules both the world and the evil one, and for the believer Christ by His death has broken Satan’s power (Heb 2:14f, 1 John 4:4).
Q 9 In some biblical contexts the word ‘world’ is a synonym for bad men everywhere. Used in this way, what should the Christian’s relation to the world (p 63 para 1)?
Ans: The Christian is in the world (as ‘the light of the world’, doing good, persisting with joy in serving God and bringing Him glory) but not of the world (not conforming to it, not being overcome by it, not being with it in its estrangement from and enmity to God).
Q 10 This world will not continue in its present form forever. What is going to happen and so what should the believer’s attitude be (p 64 para 4f)?
Ans: Without ‘warning the entire cosmic order will disintegrate and be reconstructed’ (see 2 Pet 3:10). The Christian should strive to be found in Christ without fault and in peace, and strive to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord (2 Pet 3:14, 17).
Q 11 The ‘problem of evil’ is how can God be all-powerful and simultaneously all-good if there is so much evil in this world over which He is the ultimate sovereign Ruler? How will this problem fade away in the light of the believer’s sure hope (p 65 para 3)?
Ans: a) Through His Son Jesus Christ God is saving His church to glorify and enjoy Him forever.
- b) God is bringing about a new world-order in which there will be no evil.
- c) The believer knows his knowledge is limited and his timing may not be God’s, but he does know that indeed God is patient and at all times He is indeed all-powerful and all-good.
Q 12 For the believer what is the short answer for the practical problem of coping with the evil of the world and overcoming it (p 66 para3)?
Ans: a) The believer knows that in this world he is kept by God’s power (1 John 4:4), and
- b) The present situation is temporary bearing no comparison to the glory in God that is coming (2 Cor 4:17), and
- c) Nothing can separate him from the love of Christ, the love of God (Rom 8:35-39).
Ch. 5 Sin
Q 1 Why is the subject of sin a truly vital knowledge (p 69 para 1)?
Ans: It is needed to be able to understand
- your fellow man
- the world we live in
- the Bible (the love of God, the meaning of salvation, the message of the gospel).
Q 2 What is sin, its negative and ‘positive’ aspects (its omission and commission) (p 70 para 2 – p 71 para 2)?
Ans: Negative: Failing to reach God’s standard, failing to obey His authority, ignoring Him, shrugging off the first commandment to love Him with all our powers.
Positive: Putting oneself in the place of God as the centre of reference in all life’s decisions; being hostile to God, at enmity to Him; destructive actions (Rom 1:26-31; Gal 5:19-21; 2 Tim 3:2-4).
Q 3 a) How does the knowledge of sin come and b) why is this part of God’s plan of mercy (p 76 para 2 – p 78 para 1)?
Ans: a) This knowledge comes through the law (written in our conscience or God’s written/spoken law), which identifies sin, stirs up disobedience and condemns sin (Rom 7:7ff.).
- b) By inducing self-despair the law teaches us to look away from ourselves and look to Christ to be forgiven (Gal 3:24)
Q 4 Sin works relentlessly within every person to produce its horrific effects. What is a) the one thing that overcomes this and b) what would be good for us to pray (p 79 para 3)?
Ans: a) Divine grace.
Ch. 6 The Devil
Q 1 When can there be a confident diagnosis of demon possession in an unbeliever? (p 82)
Ans: When the disintegration of personhood is accompanied by a recognition from that person of Jesus’ identity and authority and a hostility towards Him.
Q 2 Why is the Christian life not a bed of roses, but a battlefield? (p 82)
Ans: Because each one of us is personally at war with the devil since he has declared war on each of us. (Eph 6:11ff.)
Q 3 What is the first rule of success in war? (p 82)
Ans: Know your enemy, which is the purpose of this study.
Q 4 Why is it hard to have right thoughts about the devil? (p 83)
Ans: Because right knowledge about the devil can only come from the revelation God has given in Scripture; the extent of the devil’s badness can only be seen when what is good is known, ‘and we know what good is only when we know what God is.’
Q 5 Into what two yawning chasms of error can people topple when thinking about Satan? (p 83f.)
Ans: We can take Satan too seriously with the devil becoming the main theme of our theology, or by not taking him seriously enough, a characteristic error of modern times.
Q 6 What was the root of the mistake of early monks and hermits who withdrew from ordinary life in order to fight the devil full time? (p 83)
Ans: Unbelief, since they did not trust that God would keep them safe in the world (John 17:15).
Q 7 What two bad effects are there as a consequence of not taking the devil seriously enough and how can this error be avoided? (p 84)
Ans: It fools people into not seeing the danger that they are objects of Satan’s attacks, ‘and it dishonours Christ by robbing the cross of its significance as a conquest of Satan and his hosts (cf. Col 2:15).’
Q 8 What words indicate the character and aim of the strategy with which the devil attacks us? (p 84f)
Ans: 1 ‘Satan’ (the Hebrew word for ‘adversary’; ‘your adversary the devil’ (1 Pet 5:8)). 2 ‘Devil’, which means slanderer (see Rev 12:10). 3 One of the angels that sinned (2 Pet 2:4) and ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (Eph 2:2). 4 Disguised as an ‘angel of light’ who deceives (2 Cor 11:14), whose domain is darkness – intellectual, moral and spiritual (Col 1:13; cf. Lk 22:53) 5 A serpent (Gen 3:1; Rev 20:2), a dragon (Rev 12; 20:2), a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8). ‘This indicates his cunning, hatred, ferocity and cruelty against the people of God.’ 6 The tempter (Matt 4:3; 1 Thes 3:5). 7 The evil one (John 17:15). 8 A liar and a murderer (John 8:44).
Q 9 How does Packer describe the unimaginable badness of Satan and his myrmidons (followers)? (p 85)
Ans: ‘more cruel, more proud, more scornful, more perverted, more destructive, more disgusting, more filthy, more despicable, than anything our minds can conceive’.
Q 10 Satan’s power is ‘exceedingly great’. What are some aspects of his power and work? (p 86)
Ans: 1 Can manipulate physical events (2 Thes 2:9; cf. Job 1:12). 2 Suggests to the mind wrong thoughts (Mat 4:3ff.). 3 Can inflict disease (Lk 13:16) and death (Heb 2:14). 4 Imprisons people in spiritual darkness and unbelief, ‘now at work in the sons of disobedience’ (Eph 2:2), keeping them blind to God’s truth (2 Cor 4:4) and out of line with God’s will, until the time comes to end their lives and so fix their eternal state as one of pain, grief and loss.’ 5 His power is over the whole world (1 John 5:19; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). He is its ‘god’ (2 Cor 4:4).
Q 11 In reference to the devil, why did the Son of God come into the world (1 John 3:8) and in what three ways did He do this? (p 87)
Ans: He ‘came to destroy the works of the devil’ (1 John 3:8). He did this by 1 healing and exorcisms (Lk 11:17-22; 13:16), 2 by prayers (Lk 22:31f; John 17:15) and 3 by His atoning death (Col 1:13f., 2:15).
Q 12 How does Satan tempt, what are some of his tools? (p 88)
Ans: By schemes, i.e. deceit (Eph 6:11; cf. 2 Cor 11:3), using ‘’the world’ (external stimuli) and ‘the flesh’ (inordinate desire within us)’ and ‘seemingly innocent wishes and wants (cf. Gen 3:6; Luke 4:2f.)’. He can use ‘well-meant advice from our friends (cf. Mat 16:22f.)’ and his servants ‘playing the part of pastors and theologians (2 Cor 11:13-15)’. He has one hundred and one ways of beguiling us into ‘[w]rong beliefs about God (e.g. resentment and despair, cf. 2 Cor 12:7)’ and ‘wrong conduct in the sight of God (cf. 1 Cor 7:5)’.
Q 13 Why is ‘living the Christian life like playing a piece of music on the piano’ and why does this require watchfulness on our part? (p 89)
Ans: The notes have to be right and the style (tempo, rhythm, volume, expression) has to be right. So love should be with wisdom, love of truth with love of people, zeal without error, orthodoxy with righteousness, conscientiousness without morbidity and despair, concern for what is right and true not in just selective areas. ‘If we watch against Satan at one point in the battlements of our living, he will try to break in at another’.
Q 14 What is the Christian’s only security against the attacks of Satan? (p 89)
Ans: To put on the whole armour of God (Eph 6:11-18) and then we will be able to recognize and resist Satan’s attacks and not fear them.
Q 15 Why do we not need to fear the outcome of the fight with Satan? (p 90)
Ans: Because 1 ‘God is always overruling when Satan tempts’ (1 Cor 10:13) and will soon crush Satan under His servant’s feet (Rom 16:20) and 2 Satan will flee when we resist him; ‘we are promised victory every time we stand and give battle’ (Jam 4:7). ‘Resist him firm in your faith… And … the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you. To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.’ (1 Pet 5:9-11)
Ch. 7 Grace
Q 1 According to J. I. Packer, no ‘need in Christendom is more urgent than’ this need. What is it? (p 92)
Ans: A renewed awareness of what the grace of God really is.
Q 2 According to Dr Norman Snaith, nothing impressed the apostle Paul more than what fact about God? (p 93)
Ans: Grace – the Hebrew word chen: ‘God’s love for men was a free gift from God, entirely undeserved on men’s part, depending only upon God’s will.’
Q 3 The NT word grace (in Greek charis) covers the meaning of two more OT terms, ’ahabah and chesed. This last word is rendered in English translations as mercy, loving-kindness, steadfast love. What is the thought behind these two words? (p 93f.)
Ans: Election love (the love whereby God chose His people – ‘spontaneous, selective, unconditional, unevoked, undeserved love (cf. Deut 7:7f.; 9:4f.; Hos 11:1-11))’ and covenant love (‘God’s resolute loyalty to whom He has pledged Himself.’) In the NT love and grace are virtual synonyms.
Q 4 Grace in the NT is not an impersonal force, but it’s primary and fundamental reference is to what? (p 95)
Ans: To God’s love – and from this flows the divine giving of gifts for service and His favour in the transformation of men’s lives.
Q 5 Why was grace a wonder to NT writers? (p 95)
Ans: ‘Their sense of man’s corruption and demerit before God, and of the reality and justice of His wrath against sin, is so strong that they find it simply staggering that there should be such a thing as grace at all – let alone grace that was so costly to God as the grace of Calvary.’
Q 6 For grace Paul several times uses the metaphor of wealth. What are the four focal points of Paul’s analysis of these riches of God’s grace? (p 96)
Ans: Redemption, regeneration, election and preservation.
Q 7 What does redemption mean for the Christian? (p 96)
Ans: A costly rescue from the jeopardy of guilt before God.
Q 8 What is regeneration? (p 96f.)
Ans: A co-quickening with Christ (Eph 2:1, 5f. Rom 6:4ff. Col 2:12; 3:1ff.) that overcomes our spiritual death which is our natural state (Eph 2:1; Col 2:13)
Q 9 What is meant by election in the NT? (p 97)
Ans: It ‘is God’s eternal, unconditional choice of guilty offenders to be redeemed and regenerated (called and justified, Rom 8:30) and so brought to glory (Eph 1:3-12)’, a choice made in Christ; it is ‘the election of grace’ (Rom 11:5).
Q 10 What is meant by preservation? (p 97)
Ans: It is God’s protection ‘in Christ those whom He has united to Christ by faith through the Spirit’. (Phil 1:6; Rom 8:30; John 10 27f.)
Q 11 What is legalism? (p 99)
Ans: It is the attempt to find righteousness through Christ and by adding works of law or religion. It is the magnification of the law so that it crowds out grace.
Q 12 What part does law-keeping play in justification? (p 100)
Ans: No part. Justification is by faith alone – in and through Christ alone, and so by grace alone.
Q 13 What is meant by antinomianism? (p 100)
Ans: It is the error of turning the grace of God into lawlessness or sensuality (Jude 4). It loses sight of the law as the rule of life.
Q 14 What is the false assumption of both legalism and antinomianism? (p 100)
Ans: It is that the one purpose of the keeping the law is to gain righteousness before God.
Q 15 What is the final answer to antinomianism? (p 100)
Ans: The moral law expresses the will of God for man; it was given to guide us in the life of godliness, it is a rule of conduct. Grace does not give us freedom to break the law but sets us free from the dominion of sin that we might joyfully, willingly keep the law (Rom 6:11-23).
Q 16 What teaching is the parent of joyful assurance and tireless energy in the service of the Saviour? (p 101)
Ans: The doctrine of free and sovereign grace that humbles the pride of the self-righteous legalist and condemns the laxity of the antinomian (Eph 2:8-10). The one who is most conscious of the love shown loves most (Luke 7:40ff.).
Q 17 When would the world see a great deal more practical godliness from us as Christians? (p 102)
Ans: If we knew more about God’s grace. The one who is most conscious of the love shown loves most.
Q 18 To live ‘not under law but under grace is the Christian’s supreme privilege.’ Why is this so? (p 102)
Ans: Because it is to live one’s whole life before God determined by His electing, redeeming and protecting love.
Q 19 In what three basic ways is the life of grace a life of freedom? (p 102f.)
Ans: It frees a man from the hopeless necessity of trying to please God by a prefect life, it frees him from sin’s dominion because of his union with Christ, dead and risen, and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit; and it frees from the bondage to fear.
Q 20 How does pride, our natural disposition deal with failure, and how does the humility of the man who knows he is forgiven different to this? (p 102)
Ans: Pride refuses to admit failure at all or refuses to try again, while ‘the humility of the man who lives by being forgiven know no such inhibitions.’ Daily his shortcomings are forgiven and his joy restored, and he forgives his fellow Christian countless times since he knows that his own life with God is a matter of being forgiven countless times.
Q 21 ‘The Christian life is free from bondage to fear. […] So when fears flood his soul, as they do the soul of every normal person from time to time,’ how does the Christian drive back these fears? (p 103)
Ans: He drives them back by reminding himself of the grace of God: he is God’s child, adopted, dearly loved, secure, with eternal joy awaiting; he knows that nothing can separate him from the love of God or take him from his Saviour’s hand, and that ‘nothing can happen to him which is not for his long-term good, making him more like Jesus and bringing him ultimately closer to God.’
Ch. 8 The Mediator
Q 1 What is a mediator? (p 105)
Ans: He is the man in the middle who in the cause of justice, peace and goodwill represents both sides of a conflict to one another in order to find a basis for restoring their friendship.
Q 2 What crystallizes into a phrase the sum and substance of the Bible’s message? (p 105)
Ans: There is a mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5).
Q 3 What is the Bible’s main theme? (p 105)
Ans: The mediation between God and men by which a new and everlasting covenant has been established.
Q 4 What is the basic trouble with our human condition? (p 106)
Ans: Sin and the consequent alienation from God.
Q 5 (a) What predicament of men does modern literature depict, and (b) why is its acute observations and analysis still shallow, rather than profound? (p 106)
Ans: (a) Estrangement from other men and from himself, men that feel alone, caught in a meaningless vortex, with problems of integrity, loss of identity and loss of communication. (b) But this estrangement is caused by estrangement from God. Richard Baxter: ‘he wants not friends that hath Thy love.’
Q 6 In the OT there were two classes of mediator. What did these two classes seek to maintain? (p 107)
Ans: Prophets spoke in God’s name and so maintained communication between God and men; priests offered sacrifices and so maintained fellowship between men and God.
Q 7 He who believes in Christ receives twin gifts through the mediation of Christ. (a) What are these gifts and (b) what is the consequent result of Christ’s mediation? (p 108)
Ans: (a) Justification and the giving of the Spirit. (b) Brings men out of bondage to sin and law into a glorious freedom of the sons of God.
Q 8 How could Abraham, David and many more OT saints know the joy of justification and assurance of pardon (Rom 4:1-8) even before Christ came? (p 108)
Ans: Sins committed before the incarnation were (so to speak) put on Christ’s account (Heb 9:15; Rom 3:25).
Q 9 What was it that Jesus, as the Mediator, came to do, and that only He, as the God-man, could do? (p 109f.)
Ans: He came to (a) reveal God to men, (b) redeem men from sin and (c) restore men to God.
Q 10 How is the Mediator’s work done? (p 111)
Ans: The Mediator ‘fulfilled His mission by taking on the threefold office of prophet, priest and king’.
Q 11 Jesus primary office is that of king (Acts 2:36; Heb 1:3). His kingdom is to be universal and all-embracing (Mat 28:18; Eph 1:22). How does Christ execute the office of a king? (p 112)
Ans: By ‘subduing us to Himself, in ruling and defending us, in restraining all His and our enemies’ (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q 26). ‘His dominion is thus our security as He leads us home to God along the path of cross-bearing discipleship.’
Q 12 What are two aspects of Christ’s office as priest? (p 112f.)
Ans: (1) He offered up Himself as a sacrifice and so satisfied divine justice and reconciled us to God. (2) Before God the Father He continually intercedes for us.
Q 13 Why can the believer approach the utterly holy God with confidence? (p 113)
Ans: By ‘tasting death’ – dying on the cross, shedding His blood – Christ has made purification for all sins forever (Heb 9:23; 10:12, 14, 17). So access to God is not barred (Heb 10:19-22) and sin’s penalty will not be inflicted on the believer.
Q 14 What do we know about Christ’s intercession for believers? (p 113)
Ans: It is ‘that heavenly activity, of whatever kind, whereby He makes sure that all who come to God through Him, pleading His name, trusting Him for forgiveness, access, grace to help in time of need, and ultimate glory, will not be disappointed.’ We can ‘rejoice that in whatever precise form [the intercession] takes, it is certainly and infallibly efficacious.’
Q 15 How is it possible to hear the voice of Jesus today? (p 114)
Ans: By His written word and the Holy Spirit. Men will hear the voice of Jesus as the Spirit of Christ works with God’s written word.
Q 16 In the Gospels everything is aimed at highlighting (a) what theme and (b) how do they do this? (p 115)
Ans: (a) The mediation of Christ between God and man. (b) By presenting the account of Jesus life (birth through to ascension), by the healing and feeding miracles that picture the grace that heals and feeds our souls, by explicit teaching, by giving quoted fulfillments of Scripture, and by the writer’s (in John’s case) explanatory comments.
Q 17 Why does Packer say the Gospels are the most enriching books in the world? (p 115)
Ans: They give a rich picture of the man Jesus Christ our Mediator that we can see with more understanding as we read them with the theological explanations of the epistles.
Ch. 9 Reconciliation
Q 1 What great affirmation in 2 Corinthians sums up the content of the gospel? (p 117)
Ans: ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.’ (2 Cor 5:18)
Q 2 What does ‘reconcile’ mean? (p 117)
Ans: A turning of enmity into friendship.
Q 3 In comparing the reconciliation between man and man and the reconciliation between man and God, what is the difference in who takes the initial step in the reconciliation process? (p 118)
Ans: Between man and man the initial step is taken by the offending party; between man and God it is God, the injured party, who takes the initiative. (2 Cor 5:19)
Q 4 In the estrangement of God and sinners it seems clear that the estrangement is mutual: man is hostile to God, and man is also the object of God’s displeasure or wrath. What verses support this? (p 119)
Ans: Col 1:21; Rom 8:7; Rom 5:10; Eph 2:3
Q 5 Why is the wrath of God against the sin of all men ‘not a fitful flicker, but a steady blaze’? (p 119)
Ans: God’s wrath is an aspect of His consistent righteousness as the just Judge of all the earth.
Q 6 How does James Orr define the biblical idea of the wrath of God? (p 119)
Ans: The wrath of God is ‘an energy of the divine nature called for by the presence of daring and presumptuous transgression, and expressing the reaction of the divine holiness against it in the punishment or destruction of the transgressor. It is the “zeal” of God for the maintenance of His holiness and honour, and of the ends of His righteousness and love, when these are threatened by the ingratitude, rebellion and willful disobedience or temerity of the creature.’
Q 7 What is the dark backcloth against which the gospel of reconciliation is expounded? (p120)
Ans: The backcloth is the bad news of God’s judgement, His active wrath; God is opposed to men in His holiness; man is under the rule of sin and also under the wrath of God.
Q 8 Reconciliation means peace-making. How is the reconciliation between God and man achieved? (p 120)
Ans: 1. Through sacrifice, through the blood of Christ (Col 1:20). 2. By propitiation – the turning away of God’s wrath (Eph 2:16; Rom 5:9-10) 3. By means of judicial exchange or substitution: Christ became sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him; He became a curse for us that we might be redeemed. (2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13)
Q 9 What is the connection between reconciliation and propitiation? (p 120)
Ans: Propitiation is the turning away of God’s wrath from man. It is brought about by the reconciling, pacificatory effects of the cross: through the blood shedding of Christ peace was made between God and men, the enmity between them is destroyed and God’s wrath is turned away from them.
Q 10 What background teaches us the meaning of the message of the mercy of God and love of God? (p 121)
Ans: The background: ‘God quenched and put away His own just wrath against us by sending His own Son to atone for our sins in the darkness of Calvary.’ (Rom 5:6, 8; 1 John 4:8-10)
Q 11 When and how can a person possess reconciliation? (p 121)
Ans: Reconciliation is received by faith and not by working and earning it; it is received by believing and taking it, by receiving a living Saviour, not by resting in a theory of atonement.
Q 12 According to James Denney and J. I. Packer, what does the NT mean by ‘faith’? (p 121)
Ans: ‘If a man with the sense of his sin on him sees what Christ on His cross means – …to abandon Himself to the sin-bearing love which appeals to him in Christ, and to do so unreservedly, unconditionally and forever.’
Q 13 a) What differing roads did Richard Baxter refer to when he wrote, ‘God breaketh not all men’s hearts alike’? (p 123)
Ans: Conversion experiences are different, God draws men to Himself by different routes.
- b) These differing roads converge to Christ at what point? (p 123)
Ans: ‘[A]t the point of realizing that one is out of step and out of fellowship with God, and has no hope but in the reconciliation that Christ Himself brings.’
Q 14 Where is the only place where the life of knowing God starts? (p 123)
Ans: The receiving of reconciliation: ‘the sense of need for a new relationship with God, the exclusive trust in Christ to bring it about, the resting of all hope henceforth on Him, the risen Lord.’
Ch. 10 Faith
Q 1 With regards to faith what position do the letters to the Romans and Galatians develop and defend? (p 125)
Ans: ‘that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law’ (Rom 3:28)
Q 2 Which one word is the rock on which the Western church split in the 16th century?
Ans: ‘alone’. Sola fida – by faith alone.
Q 3 According to Rome, only what type of faith is required for salvation? (p 126)
Ans: ‘Implicit faith’ – uncomprehending assent to whatever it may be that the Roman church holds.
Q 4 a) What is missing in the Roman Catholic analysis of faith and b) what is the difference between faith according to Rome and according to the Bible? (p 126)
Ans: a) What is missing is the required exercise of trust. b) ‘Faith, according to Rome, is just trusting the church as teacher; but according to the Bible, faith means trusting Christ as Saviour’.
Q 5 In the Bible faith or believing involves what two things, and what is the object of this faith? (p 126)
Ans: Faith involves both credence and commitment -and its object is variously described as God, Christ, God’s promise, Jesus’ Messiahship and Saviourhood, the reality of the resurrection, the apostolic witness.
Q 6 What is the nature of biblical faith? (p 126)
Ans: ‘It is a responsive apprehension of God and His saving truth; a recognition in the facts put forward of God’s answer to one’s own otherwise hopeless need; a realization that the word of the gospel is God’s personal address, and Christ’s personal invitation, to oneself, the hearer; a reliant outgoing of the soul in trust and confidence towards the living God and His living Son.’
Q 7 What Sunday school acrostic expresses the point that Christian faith is not just credence, but rather confident trust? (p 127)
Ans: F-A-I-T-H -‘Forsaking All, I Take Him.’
Q 8 J. C. Ryle wrote that saving faith is the hand, the eye, the mouth and the foot of the soul. What did he mean? (p 127)
Ans: The hand grasps the saving outstretched hand of Christ, the eye looks up to the healing uplifted Christ, the mouth receives Christ Who is the bread of life, the foot runs to Christ as a strong tower, a hiding place and a refuge – and so is safe.
Q 9 Is faith which works miracles necessarily a saving faith, and is saving faith always accompanied by a faith that works miracles? (p 128)
Ans: No (cf. 1 Cor 12:9) and no (cf. Matt. 7:22f.)
Q 10 Where does faith in Christ start? (p 128)
Ans: Where the gospel ‘is heard or read, and the realization dawns that this is the very truth of God.’
Q 11 If we desire that others should come to faith, what should we do? (p 129)
Ans: We should pray that God would open their eyes, for it is only because God, in His mercy, opened our eyes that we came to faith.
Q 12 a) For what two reasons did our evangelical ancestors insist so strongly that salvation is by faith alone? b) In relation to these two emphases, describe the faith that saves. (p 129)
Ans: a) To safeguard the glory of Christ as Saviour and to safeguard the genuineness of faith – this real self-despair and entire confidence in God’s mercy. b) Faith is ‘letting oneself fall into the open arms of Christ’ and so linking oneself to Christ, becoming a person in Christ; faith ‘is an exclusive, wholehearted trust, a complete going out of oneself to put one’s entire confidence in God’s mercy.’
Q 13 a) What are some blessings Paul mentions in Romans 8 and b) what is the instrument that makes it ours? (p 129)
Ans: a)No condemnation, no separation (1, 35 ff.); being a son and an heir (14ff.); hope of resurrection and glory (11, 23, 30); ‘the strength and comfort of the Holy Spirit’ (15ff. 23, 26ff.); ‘eternal security and assured triumph through God’s almighty love’ (28-39) b) Faith, by uniting us to Christ, makes all this ours.
Q 14 How does true faith speak and what Scriptural warrant does it have to speak like this? (p130)
Ans: ‘Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked come to Thee for dress, Helpless, look to Thee for grace.’ ‘To one who does not work but trusts Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.’ (Rom 4:5)
Q 15 What is the moral dynamic of unparalleled power in the believer’s life – and how does it work? (p 131)
Ans: The moral dynamic is faith working through love, constrained by the love of Christ and the knowledge of the debt of gratitude owed to God. ‘Christian doctrine is grace, and Christian conduct is gratitude.’
Q 16 With regards to holiness, what is the paradoxical truth? (p 131)
Ans: There ‘is no ‘holiness teaching’ in the Bible that will so completely and powerfully transform a man’s life as the gospel of justification by faith alone.’
Q 17 Where is the life of faith lived? What does this mean? (p 131)
Ans: It is lived ‘not on the beds of ease but on the battlefields’. It constantly fights against the world, the flesh and the devil, strengthened by God through prayer ‘for faithful obedience through thick and thin and energetic refusal to be crushed by strain, perplexity or discouragement.’
Q 18 What does the letter to the Hebrews say about faith? (p 132)
Ans: 1. It is ‘being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see’. 2. It honours and pleases God by taking Him at His word. 3. It approaches God boldly through Christ for help and strength and endurance of hostility from within and without. 4. It interprets trouble as God’s fatherly discipline and ‘rejoices to think of it as proving one’s sonship to God and preparing one for peace and pleasure to come.’ 5. It takes courage from past example of saints living by faith. 6. It produces faithfulness to God, patience and endurance, battling against temptations to unbelief, apathy and disobedience.
Q 19 How can weak faith be made strong and little faith be made great? (p 133)
Ans: 1. By looking hard at the objects of faith: the promises of God in Scripture; the unseen realities of God and our life with Him and our hope of glory; ‘the living Christ Himself, once on the cross, now on the throne.’ 2. By recalling times when God has helped in the past.
Q 20 According to Packer, what may be ‘the best prescription for invigorating feeble faith’? (p 133)
Ans: 1. Lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely. 2. Run with perseverance the race set before us. 3. In all this look to Jesus, His endurance and joy and His place now at the right hand of the throne of God. 4. Lift drooping hands and weak knees. 5. Do not refuse to obey our God who has spoken. (Heb 12: 1-3, 12, 25)
Ch. 11 Justification
Q 1 What does justification mean to Paul? (p 135)
Ans: God’s act of cancelling the sins of ungodly sinners freely and reckoning righteousness to them ‘by His grace, through faith in Christ, on the ground, not of their own works, but of the representative righteousness and redemptive, propitiatory, substitutionary blood-shedding of Jesus Christ on their behalf.’
Q 2 In a court of law what is the opposite of justification? (p 135)
Q 3 According to the church Rome, what is justification primarily? How does this differ to the biblical teaching? (p 136)
Ans: Rome has maintained ‘that God’s act of justifying is primarily, if not wholly, one of making righteous, by inner spiritual renewal.’ The Bible teaches that justification (reckoning/counting/imputing righteousness) is not a work done within man but a legal pardon of sin and the legal bestowal of a righteous man’s status.
Q 4 What is the only way for justification to be just? (p 137)
Ans: For the justified, God’s law must be satisfied.
Q 5 What double demand does the law make? (p 137)
Ans: The law requires that sinners fully obey its precepts, as God’s creatures, and fully endure the penalty, as transgressors.
Q 6 How is the double demand of the law satisfied? (p 137)
Ans: Christ was obedient to God the Father till death and by God’s will bore the penal curse of the law in man’s place (Gal 3:13), so making propitiation for man’s sins (Rom 3:25).
Q 7 Why is the imputing (reckoning/counting) of Christ’s righteousness to believers not an arbitrary legal fiction as is sometimes alleged? (p 138)
Ans: Because believers are united by faith to Christ who kept the law representatively; believers are in a real union with Christ and ‘in Christ’ (Gal 2:17) they are justified.
Q 8 On what must believer’s assurance of present and future salvation rest? (p 138)
Ans: ‘My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.’
Q 9 What is the means by which righteousness is received and justification given? (p 139)
Ans: Faith in Christ. Sinners are justified by/through faith. Faith is not the ground of justification. It is rather the empty hand that by receiving Christ, receives righteousness.
Q 10 The apostle Paul writes that Abraham’s faith ‘was counted to him as righteousness’ (Rom 4:5, 9, 22). Does this not mean that the ground of a believer’s justification is faith? (p 139)
Ans: No. Romans 4 is discussing the means of justification, not the grounds. Romans 3 and 5 discusses the ground of justification. Because of Christ’s righteousness ‘the righteousness of God’ (righteousness from God (Phil 3:9)) is bestowed on believers as a free gift (Rom 3:21-22; 5:17).
Q 11 Paul wrote that ‘one is justified apart from works of the law’ (Rom 3:28) and James wrote that Abraham was ‘justified by works’ (James 2:21). Why is this not a contradiction? (p 141)
Ans: Paul uses the word ‘justify’ to mean God’s act of accepting man as righteous. James speaks of ‘being justified’ in the sense of man’s works giving evidence of a true faith which secures acceptance with God.
Q 12 What is a sinner’s first problem before God and how does the gospel of justification solve this problem? (p 142)
Ans: The sinner’s first problem is to get right with God’s law otherwise he cannot get right with God. The gospel of justification shows how the condemning voice is silenced forever: through faith alone in Christ.
Ch. 12 Regeneration
Q 1 Regeneration is a picture-word. What does it picture? (p 143)
Ans: It denotes a re-generation, a second birth, a new beginning of life.
Q 2 According to reformed theologians how are regeneration and faith related? (p 144)
Ans: Regeneration, a work of God, is the cause of faith.
Q 3 With respect to renewal, what in the OT did God promise to give to His people? (p 145)
Ans: To give a new heart and a new spirit in them, ‘to circumcise their hearts by writing his laws upon them, and so to bring them to know, love and obey Him’ (Deut 30:6; Jer 31:31-34; Ezek 36:25-27).
Q 4 How are regeneration and renewal (sanctification, the renewal of the inner man every day (2 Cor 4:16)) related in the Christian life? (p 145)
Ans: Regeneration is the initial act by which renewal is begun.
Q 5 According to John, what is the new birth (John 1:13; 3:3-8; 1 John 3:9)? (p 145)
Ans: The new birth is a drastic change made by God on fallen human nature so that a man comes ‘under the effective dominion of the Holy Spirit and makes him responsive to God.’ It is all of God and none of man, ‘a free act of God, not prompted by any human merit or exertion (cf. John 1:12-13; Titus 3:3-7), but wholly a gift of divine grace.’
Q 6 Why does a person need regeneration? (p 146)
Ans: Without regeneration there are no spiritual activities within man, and nobody would believe. The ‘man without the Spirit [i.e. the unregenerate] does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Cor 2:14, NIV). Jesus told Nicodemus: ‘Do not marvel that I said to you, “You [plural] must be born anew”” (John 3:7).
Q 7 What are some outward evidences of regeneration as given in 1 John? (p 146f)
Ans: Repentance, faith and good works: believing rightly in Jesus Christ (5:1), doing righteousness (2:29), not living a life of habitual sin (1:8-10; 3:9; 5:18), overcoming the world (5:4), and loving fellow Christians (4:7).
Q 8 Why can we say that regeneration was a reality in OT times? (p 147)
Ans: ‘Had there been no regeneration in Old Testament times, there would have been no faith, and Hebrews 11 could never have been written.’
Q 9 What is the common reformed definition of regeneration that corresponds to John’s idea of the new birth? (p 147)
Ans: It ‘is a secret work of the Spirit upon the sinner, inscrutable as the blowing of the wind, but manifesting itself at once by faith in Christ and a life of obedience and love.’
Q 10 According to T. C. Hammond, what is the relationship between regeneration and conversion? (p 148)
Ans: God turns us inwardly (regeneration) and we exhibit an outward turn in our life (conversion), now alive to God and united to Christ.
Q 11 What are four marks of a regenerate person that correspond to the natural action of a newborn child? (p 148f)
Ans: (1) The ‘baby cries instinctively; and the born-again person instinctively prays, crying to God in dependence, hope and trust as a child to his father’ (Gal 4:4f; Rom 8:15). (2) The baby sucks, ‘and the born-again person also feels a hunger for spiritual food – first milk and then the meat of God’s revealed Word (1 Pet 2:2; Heb 5:12-14; 1 Cor 3:2).’ (3) The baby moves about, develops and explores – and the born-again person starts moving in the spiritual realm, ‘sorting our priorities, reshaping his life in light of his new allegiance’, ‘zealous for good works’ (Titus 2:14). (4)The baby rests and ‘the born-again person rests in the knowledge that God’s everlasting arms are underneath him, and is able to spend his days, whatever pressures they bring, without panic and in peace’ (Ps 127:2; 131:2).
Q 12 What does childlikeness towards God mean? (p 149)
Ans: Simple trust, responsiveness and dependence on God.
Q 13 What are some fruits of regeneration that John pinpointed? (p 149)
Ans: Docility ‘before God which grasps and holds apostolic faith’, ‘concern to please God which expresses itself in renouncing sin and practising righteousness’, ‘ and the appreciation of God’s saving love which begets self-sacrificing love of fellow-Christians in imitation.’
Q 14 When would the Christian world be a very different place? (p 149)
Ans: If God would make us simple enough to see and, having seen, never to lose sight of what regeneration is: It is ‘no more (and no less!) than the work of God in our hearts which leads to the gospel being wholeheartedly received.’
Ch. 13 Election
Q 1 In Paul’s hands how does the truth of election build up Christians? (p 152)
Ans: This truth of election ‘becomes a motive and mainspring of worship and assurance and holy living.’
Q 2 What do we have to be careful about in the teaching of election? (p 152)
Ans: The truth of election should make believers ‘humble, confident, joyful and active’ but it ‘can be held and propagated in a way that makes them instead proud, presumptuous, complacent and lazy.’ We should also be careful not to ‘desire any other knowledge of predestination [election] than that which is expounded by the word of God.’ (Calvin)
Q 3 What does the verb ‘elect’ or ‘choose’ mean? (p 153)
Ans: It ‘expresses the idea of picking out, or selecting, something or someone from a number of available alternatives.’
Q 4 What does it mean that God’s gracious election is free and unconditional (Rom 11:5f)? (p 154)
Ans: God’s election is of grace and this excludes any merit in man absolutely. ‘God owes sinners no mercy of any kind, only condemnation; thus it is no injustice if He does not resolve to bless them, but it is a wonder of free grace when He does.’
Q 5 a) What is the Bible’s answer to the question, “Lord, why did You choose me?”? b) What should this lead us to do? (p 154)
Ans: a) God chose me because He in His mercy was pleased to, because of His ‘good pleasure which He purposed in Christ.’ (Eph 1:9) b) This ‘is the end of the matter. At this point, therefore, [we] should stop asking questions, and start to’ worship and give God thanks.
Q 6 Where in the Bible do we see that God chooses people before the existence or birth of the persons chosen? (p 154)
Ans: Eph 1:4; Jer 1:5; Rom 9:10-13.
Q 7 In what three connections does the idea of election appear in the Bible? (p 155)
Ans: (1) God’s selecting of Abraham and his family to be His covenant people (Isa 41:8f). (2) His selecting of particular people of His covenant community for particular service (Moses, Aaron, the priests, the kings, the Messiah, the apostles). (3) Selecting of certain people to bring them to salvation.
Q 8 Does God discriminate? Explain (p 155). How is this part of the mystery of election? (p 156).
Ans: God does discriminate for He selects some and not all. ‘Part of the mystery of election is that God never appears to have chosen all whom He might have chosen. Thus He impresses upon us that His choice is absolutely free, and teaches us to value the grace that has come to us personally.’
Q 9 ‘All the blessings that flow from election are enjoyed in and through [Christ].’ What are some of these blessings? (p 156)
Ans: Redemption from sin, sonship to God, the indwelling Spirit, the inheritance prepared for believers (Eph 1:5, 7, 13, 11).
Q 10 There is an inheritance prepared by God for His children. How is this defined? (p 156)
Ans: This inheritance involves being with Christ and being like Christ, carrying His image, sharing His glory and seeing Him as He is. (John 17:24; Rom 8:17; 2 Thes 2:14; I John 3:2)
Q 11 What are some elements of the saving work of Christ when viewed in the light of election? (p 157)
Ans: ‘Christ’s heavenly ministry of drawing sinners to himself (John 12:32), interceding for them (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25) and preserving them for glory (2 Tim 4:17f).’
Q 12 If the elect are going to be saved, why is there a need to evangelize? (p 158)
Ans: (1) God has not only chosen whom He will save, but also by which method He will save them – by sending someone to tell the gospel. (2 Thes 2:13-14) (2) The ‘grounds on which the Bible tells us to offer Christ to the world have nothing to do with election. […] We are not to speculate whether our unconverted friends are elect or not.’ (3) ‘[E]lection, so far from undermining evangelism, undergirds it, for it provides the only hope of its succeeding in its aim’ (Acts 18:9-11 with 1 Cor 1:9).
Q 13 Why are we to call on everyone to turn to God and trust in Him? (p 158)
Ans: (1) Everyone ‘is sinful and guilty, and needs Him (Rom 3:19-26; Acts 4:12). (2) ‘He is a perfect and sufficient Saviour for everyone who trusts Him (John 3:16; Acts 13:39; Rom 1:16; Heb 7:25). (3) ‘He graciously invites everyone who needs Him to come to Him and find peace (Mat 11:28f; John 6:37: Rev 3:20).’ (4) ‘God positively commands that everyone who hears the gospel should repent and believe on Christ’s name (Acts 17:30; 1 John 3:23).’
Q 14 Why are we to evangelize and what is our constraint? (p 158f)
Ans: We are to evangelize because Christ has commanded us (Mat 28:19) and our constraint is His love (2 Cor 5:14).
Q 15 Why should we not speculate if our unconverted friend is elect or not? What should we rather do? (p 159)
Ans: Whether our friend is elect or not is none of our business. We ‘are to look simply to their need of Christ, and to do all we can in honest Christian compassion to meet that need by our witness and our prayers.’
Q 16 Why should we be neither surprised nor worried when we cannot see how two things, which God has said about Himself, can mesh? (p 159)
Ans: When compared to God we are like very small children in our understanding and knowledge. ‘[W]e may be sure that most of what God Himself knows to be true regarding His own ideas, plan, values, priorities and judgements of possibilities is unknown to us.’
Q 17 Within which related framework is the particularity of election found – and what implications has this? (p 160)
Ans: The particularity of election is set within the framework of God’s general goodwill and not in opposition to it – and so ‘we are to invite all people to trust Christ, just as Christ Himself did’ (Mat 11:28), ‘and, like Christ, we are to look to God to identify His elect by bringing them to faith’ (John 6:35-45).
Q 18 According to Rom 8:30 whom does God call?
Ans: The elect: ‘those whom he predestined he also called’.
Q 19 How did Paul know the election of the Thessalonians? (p 161)
Ans: He knew it ‘from their faith, hope and love, the transformation in their lives which the gospel had brought about’ (1Thes 1:3-6). ‘Election is known by its fruit in a person’s life.’
Q 20 How can we be more sure of our election? (p 161)
Ans: Peter exhorts us to the qualities of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. The more these qualities ‘appear in our lives, the more sure of our election we are entitled to be.’ (2 Pet 1:5-11)
Q 21 The faithful Christian’s knowledge of election does not allow him to become complacent (2 Pet 1:3-10), but rather what is the result of this knowledge? (p 161)
Ans: This knowledge of his election awakens awe in the Christian as he sees ‘the greatness of God in whose hand we all are’; it humbles him for all that he has is from God; and it gives him great joy. He knows that ‘his salvation is all of God, and that he is safe in God’s hands for ever.’ ‘Whom he predestined … called … justified he also glorified.’
Ch. 14 Holiness and Sanctification
Q 1 What is the general idea of the words ‘holiness’ or ‘sanctification’? (p 163)
Ans: The general idea is separation or being set apart.
Q 2 The word groups formed from ‘sanctify’ or ‘holy’ are used in what four connections in the Bible? (p 163)
Ans: ‘They denote (i) the nature of God; (ii) the duty of man; (iii) the work of grace in and upon the Christian and the church; (iv) the state of future glory.’
Q 3 ‘Christian people seeking holiness have become self-centred, small-minded and conceited, through thinking too much about themselves and too little about God.’ How can we help to avoid this? (p 164f)
Ans: In all our thoughts about sanctification relate them to God’s holy character, ‘which we are called to reflect, and to His holy law, by which we are commanded to live.’
Q 4 What does the Bible mean by calling God ‘holy’? (p 165)
Ans: The ‘God-ness’ of God, all that sets Him apart from man, ‘all that is distinctive and transcendent in the revealed nature and character of the Creator, all that bring home to us the infinite distance and difference that there is between Him and ourselves.’
Q 5 What is meant by God’s ‘name’? (p 165)
Ans: God’s revealed nature.
Q 6 What is meant that ‘God is sanctified’ (Is 5:16 RV)? (p 166)
Ans: His holiness is revealed (cf. Ezek 38:23)
Q 7 How can men ‘sanctify God’ (Num 20:12; 27:14; Is 8:13)? (p 166)
Ans: By honouring His revelation in reverently doing His will.
Q 8 Peter exhorts Christians to ‘sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord’ (1 Pet 3:15, RV) or ‘in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy’ (ESV). What does this mean? (p 166)
Ans: To sanctify the Lord (honour Him as holy) is to let Him rule over our lives.
Q 9 What does God’s call for holiness (Ex 22:31; Lev 19:2; 1 Pet 1:15-16) mean for the Christian? (p 167)
Ans: It is a call for family likeness, for a son of God to be like his Father (Ex 4:22; Rom 8:14ff.).
Q 10 Christ showed that food in itself does not defile a person (Mk 7:18-23). What is it that defiles a person? (p 168)
Ans: An unclean heart.
Q 11 What purpose was there in God’s commandments regarding ‘unclean’ meats and ‘unclean’ created things? (p 168)
Ans: Partly, it seems, to keep Israel separate from other nations and partly as object lessons ‘to impress upon His people the fact that in His eyes defilement was a real and serious thing, and cleansing from it was all-important.’
Q 12 What is the positive side of holiness? (p 168)
Ans: It is to remain loyal to God and to show in our living His qualities of faithfulness, gentleness, goodwill, kindness, patience and uprightness.
Q 13 What does being ‘of the world’ mean? (p 169)
Ans: It is ‘being controlled by what preoccupies the world, the quest for pleasure, profit and position’ (1 John 2:16).
Q 14 How does a holy person evaluate material things or things of this world? (p 169)
Ans: He will not centre his life on things, neither undervaluing the good things that the Lord provides, nor centering his heart on them. His treasure is with God and in God (Mt 6:19-21). In him there will be a cheerful disregard of the world’s scale of values and a ‘straightforward, single-minded, spontaneous ardour’ of love for God.
Q 15 Detachment from the world in the sense of ungodly goals must be balanced by what? (p 169)
Ans: A commitment to help needy people in the world.
Q 16 What does Packer mean when he wrote that holy people ‘are not restful company’? (p 170)
Ans: They are too much alive to be restful because they keep on praying and striving to ‘pour themselves out in love for others. The Christ of the Gospels, and the Paul of Acts and the Letters, are the models here. […] Scriptural holiness is in fact the most positive, potent and often passionate quality of life that is ever seen.’
Q 17 Holiness, or sanctification, is set forth in the NT as a gracious gift of God (1 Cor 1:30; Eph 5:25f; 1 Cor 6:11; Heb 10:10). What are the two aspects of this gift? (p 171)
Ans: 1. The relational or positional aspect: ‘God sanctifies sinners once and for ever when He brings them to Himself, separating them from the world, delivering them from sin and Satan, and welcoming them into His fellowship’. This is a once-for-all benefit starting at conversion (Acts 26:18). 2. The recreative and progressive aspect: This ‘is the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in the believer throughout his earthly life whereby he grows in grace (1 Pet 2:2; 2 Pet 3:18; Eph 4:14f.) and is changed more and more in mind and heart and life into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Rom 12:2; 2 Cor 3:18; Eph 4:23f.; Col 3:10; John 17:17; 1 Thes 5:23; Eph 5:26).
Q 18 Why is the hymn that speaks of ‘Holiness by faith in Jesus, Not by effort of our own’ drawing a false antithesis? (p 171)
Ans: In the recreative and progressive aspect of sanctification ‘God calls for our co-operation, as He ‘works in [us] to will and to act according to his good purpose’ (Phil 2:13, NIV). He summons us to ‘mortify’ our sins (put them to death) through the Spirit (Rom 8:13), and to devote ourselves to the practice of ‘good works’. Holiness ‘is by faith in Jesus – all our strength for holiness must be drawn from Him by faith and prayer, for without him we can do nothing (John 15:5ff.). But equally holiness is by our effort; for when we have knelt to acknowledge our weakness and ask for help, we are then to stand on our feet and strive against sin (Heb 12:4), resist the devil (Jas 4:7), and fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12; cf. Eph 6:10-18). Holiness is no more by faith without effort than it is by effort without faith.’
Q 19 In heaven we will be unable to sin again, and this will be our freedom and our joy. With this hope before us, what should we now do? (p 172)
Ans: Daily to ‘strive … for holiness without which no one will see the Lord’ (Heb 12:14).
Ch. 15 Mortification
Q 1 How long is a Christian committed to fight against the world, the flesh and the devil? Where does mortification come into this? (p 174)
Ans: The commitment is to a lifelong fight. Mortification is the Christian’s assault on the flesh.
Q 2 The Greek verbs ‘put to death’ in Col 3:5 and Rom 8:13 are in the aorist and present tense respectively. What does this imply? (p 174)
Ans: The present tense implies that mortification must be continuous, the aorist implies that mortification will be successful once it is commenced.
Q 3 What is the result of treating sinful habits as friends rather than enemies? (p 175)
Ans: The habits drain a person of energy and deaden.
Q 4 Mortification is war. What steps are involved in effective warfare? (p 175ff)
Ans: We must know our enemy, our objective, our superiority, and how to use our resources.
Q 5 What is the starting point of mortification? (p 175)
Ans: It is recognizing that we don’t just fight sins, but we are fighting sin.
Q 6 Sin is the root of all sins. What is sin? (p 176)
Ans: Rather than dependence on God, thankful worship and obedient fellowship with our Maker, sin is the assertion of autonomy in defiance of God.
Q 7 What is repentance and how does it express itself in the convert? (p 176)
Ans: It is a ‘change of mind’ in which the believer takes Christ as his master and example and resolves that ‘he will no longer be the self-asserting, God-resisting person that he was.’
Q 8 What does John Owen compare sin to? (p 176)
Ans: Since it is active all through life, sin is like ‘a living person, called the “old man”, with his faculties and properties, his wisdom, craft, subtlety, strength.’
Q 9 Sin is at war with us (Rom 7:23; 1 Pet 2:11), it is seeking our ruin. What is the only way to preserve ourselves? (p 176f)
Ans: It is to fight back by mortification.
Q 10 What is the objective in mortification? (p 177)
Ans: Mortification means to ‘put to death’. The objective is ‘to drain life out of sin’ so ‘that it never moves again.’
Q 11 How does sin die, and how long does mortification take place? (p 177)
Ans: Sin dies by putting it to death. In this world though it may be weakened sin never dies, and so mortification is a lifelong work.
Q 12 What type of discipline is mortification and to what can it be compared? (p 177)
Ans: It is a painful but effective discipline. It can be compared to cutting off a hand or tearing out an eye (cf. Mat 5:29-30), and yet it gives a Christian such relief and encouragement as he sees sins which once ruled him overcome by the power of the Spirit of God.
Q 13 What does it mean that in regards to mortification we must know our superiority? (p 178)
Ans: Because he is a new creation in Christ, united by the Spirit at conversion to Christ, the Christian can now expect success when he meets sin.
Q 14 With regards to overcoming sin, what does it mean that ‘the Spirit has implanted a new life principle’ in the believer? (p 178)
Ans: The believer has been ‘born again’, ‘born of God’ (Jam 1:18; 1 Pet 1:3; 1 John 5:18); he has been given a ‘new heart’ and a ‘new spirit’ (Ezek 36:26) so that he now loves God and His word and His people. His life is now characterized by delight in God’s law in the inner person and a great distaste for sin. The reigning power and dominant impulse in his life is no longer sin but this new life principle.
Q 15 What does it mean that the Spirit has dealt a ‘death-blow’ to sin? (p 178f)
Ans: When a person is regenerated in Christ the power of sin is broken. Sin no longer has dominion over him (Rom 6:14). Sin’s reign has ended, and the believer’s part is to hasten its end by putting it to death.
Q 16 The Spirit takes up residence in the heart of the believer (Rom 8: 9-11; 1 Cor 6:19). What effect does this have on indwelling sin? (p 179)
Ans: Now each moment the Spirit gives life from Christ (Col 2:19) and bears His fruit in the life of the believer (Gal 5:22). He makes men willing and able to overcome sin and work for God’s good pleasure (Phil 2:13).
Q 17 In our conflict against sin what are three prime rules for fighting wisely and using our available strength? (p 179)
Ans: 1. Grow. Feed our new nature on God’s truth and exercise it in worship, witness, obedience and active service to God. 2. Watch. Shun temptations. Ruthlessly starve all that feeds sin. 3. Pray, for in prayer and in looking to His promises we obtain grace from God to help us in our time of need (Jam 4:2; Heb 4:16).
Q 18 Our happiness, in the sense of contentment with the way things are, flows as a byproduct of what? (p 181)
Ans: It flows from the development of character and holiness as God deals with us, as we practice putting to death sin and watch and pray to starve the life out of particular ‘passions of the flesh that wage war against the soul’ (1 Pet 2:11).
Q 19 What must be added to the experiences of God’s love (John 14:21-23) in order that habits of moral failure are replaced with the moral image of Jesus? (p 181)
Ans: Maintaining our first repentance by daily consecration to walk worthy of our calling and seeking character ‘by self-knowledge, self-discipline, self-watch and self-distrustful prayer in the face of temptation’.
Q 20 Regular exercise is needed to maintain good physical health. How is good spiritual health, Christian character, maintained? (p 182)
Ans: By the regular exercise of imitating Christ and putting to death sin (Col 3:3-11).
Ch. 16 Fellowship
Q 1 Why does Christ rebuke the Laodiceans (Rev 3:17), and why may He rebuke us in similar terms? (p 184)
Ans: For complacently supposing that we have all we need while in fact we may be in a state of spiritual bankruptcy. ‘He would surely rebuke us in similar terms for talking so smugly about the happy fellowship we have when in fact lack of fellowship is one of our most glaring shortcomings.’
Q 2 What idea is expressed by the Greek word translated ‘fellowship’ in our English Bibles? (p 184)
Ans: The idea of sharing or having something in common with somebody else.
Q 3 From 1 John 1:3 what is one precise definition of who a Christian is? (p 185)
Ans: A Christian is one who is in fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
Q 4 What is the God-appointed aim of Christian fellowship (Heb 10:24f.)? (p 185)
Ans: The aim is the deepening of fellowship of each Christian with their Redeemer.
Q 5 What are some of the many aspects of the fellowship Christians have with the Father because of the redemption that the Father has brought about through the Son? (p 186)
Ans: Now as God’s redeemed sons day by day to thankfully take the gifts our Father gives: the daily forgiveness and cleansing of sins as we repent, the daily reassurance from His promises and revelations of Himself in His word, the daily handing over to the Father our fears, failures, cares – and responding to our Father’s summons to give our hearts to Him, to yield ourselves to Him, to take our Saviour’s yoke upon us and learn from Him, to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Prov 23:26; Rom 6:13; Matt 11:29; Luke 9:23).
Q 6 How is Christian fellowship an expression of both love and humility (Rom 1:11, 12)? (p 187)
Ans: Christian fellowship springs from a desire to help others and is coupled with a sense of personal weakness and need. There is the desire to encourage, and be encouraged, to do good, and receive good, to know God better by mutually sharing what God has taught each individually.
Q 7 Why does Packer say that ‘Christian fellowship is a means of grace that we neglect to our poverty and at our peril’? (p 188)
Ans: In this fellowship a Christian is refreshed and fed, he is strengthened in his grasp of divine things as he tries to communicate them to others. As believers share their struggles and triumphs they are helped to pray for one another. Many times Paul asked Christians to pray for him (Rom 15:30; 2 Cor 1:11; Eph 6:19; Col 4:3; 1 Thes 5:25; 2 Thes 3:1f; Philem 22; cf. Heb 13:18) and James instructed believers to ‘confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed’ (5:16).
Q 8 In what ways is Christian fellowship a test of life? (p 188)
Ans: If ‘we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another’ (1 John 1:7). Fellowship is enabled if we are open before fellow-Christians, and this is an indicator that we are open and sincere in our daily dealings with God.
Q 9 Why can it be said that fellowship is a gift of God? (p 188f)
Ans: Fellowship is enabled by the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 13:14), and the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to a Christian. It is through Him that the Father and Christ are made known in Christian fellowship. We should prayerfully depend on the Holy Spirit to be able to mutually help one another enjoy this fellowship
Q 10 What is the aim of Christian fellowship and how should we seek to achieve it? (p 189)
Ans: The aim of fellowship is fuller acquaintance with our one Lord. It is achieved by means of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 13:14) as a Christian prayerfully depends on Him.
Q 11 When does fellowship become a reality? (p 189)
Ans: Christ has promised ‘where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am among them’ (Mat 18:20). This may be in formal or informal settings as Christians seek to help one another know God better, e.g. in preaching, in prayer together, at a meal, or when a husband and wife are together.
Q 12 What hinders fellowship? (p 189)
Ans: At least four things: self-sufficiency (where a person may not see that we need one another for spiritual help), formality (where there is a shrinking from intimacy), bitterness (Heb 12:15), and elitism (an attitude of superiority that can produce cliques and exclusion).
Q 13 What is the difference between a secular, social idea of fellowship and a biblical, Trinitarian idea of fellowship? (p 191)
Ans: In the secular idea there is the enjoyment of one another’s company; in the biblical, Trinitarian idea there is also the desire to help one another come closer to the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.
Q 14 Christian must seek fellowship as a means of grace for the health of their own souls and of all members of the body of Christ? How did Puritans seek fellowship? (p 191)
Ans: They would ask God for a friend with whom they could keep up rich prayer partnership; they would set up groups for regular conversations about divine things.
Q 15 Why do Christians, all Christians of every age, need Christian fellowship, and what does this imply? (p 190f.)
Ans: God has not made us spiritually self-sufficient. Without this fellowship we will remain feeble. We should treasure fellowship and strive to reinstate it as a means of grace for all believers.
Ch. 17 Death
Q 1 For our outlook on life to be healthy, what should we face? (p 194)
Ans: The fundamental reality that for us death will eventually intervene to stop this life.
Q 2 What is death? (p 195)
Ans: In life spirit and body are united, in death they are separated.
Q 3 Does death mean personal annihilation? How does the OT picture the result of death for a person? (p 195f.)
Ans: No, not personal annihilation. The OT pictures the dead going down to a place called Sheol (or Hades in Greek NT). But Sheol is not the final dwelling for those who have died (cf. Daniel 12:2f.).
Q 4 Why does it seem clear that the ‘second death’ does not mean annihilation, the cessation of being? (p 196)
Ans: 1. When Paul writes that unbelievers ‘will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord’, 2 Thes 1:9, ‘destruction’ means not annihilation, but ruin. 2. The insistence of NT texts that for those who are not saved the punishment (e.g., ‘fire’, the undying ‘devouring worm’) is eternal. To say this is pointless if all that is meant is extinction. 3. Matt 25:46 says that the saved will go ‘into eternal life’ and those who are not ‘will go away to eternal punishment.’ Since the life is endless, so the punishment must be endless. 4. As the devil ‘will be tormented day and night forever and ever’ (Rev 20:10), so also for those who are not true to God ‘the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest day or night’ (Rev 14:10, 11). The eternity of retribution is similar in both cases.
Q 5 Why is physical death a fearful prospect for Christless men? (p 197)
Ans: For those without Christ death is not extinction but an endless hell with the unending pain of the final second death.
Q 6 What is a similarity between physical death and spiritual death? (p 197)
Ans: In physical death there is the separation of body and spirit; in spiritual death there is a separation of a person from God and His favour and the joy of fellowship with Him (Eph 2:1; 4:18; 1 John 5:12).
Q 7 What is Paul referring to when he speaks of Christ delivering many who are His from the death resulting from Adam’s sin (Rom 5:12ff.)? (p 198)
Ans: For the Christian Christ justifies and so restores the life of a living relationship with God.
Q 8 The world usually sees physical death just as a closing of a door on a person’s earthly life, an ending. How does the NT look on physical death? (p 198)
Ans: The NT also sees death as a beginning in which the door is open to one’s destiny and the reaping of what one has sown (cf. 2 Cor 5:10; Gal 6:7).
Q 9 Why did OT saints shrink from the prospect of death (cf. Ps 88:10-12; 115:17)? Now that Christ has come, where are these saints? (p 199)
Ans: The NT seems to hint that OT saints were in Sheol until Christ came, and now they have fellowship with God in the heavenly city (cf. Heb 11:40 with 12:18-23).
Q 10 The Lord Jesus predicted that ‘to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away’ (Luke 19:26). How is this prediction fulfilled in the destinies of those who have received Christ and of those who have not? (p 199)
Ans: Those who have Christ will have increasing joy with Him (Luke 23:43; Phil 1:23; 2 Cor 5:6-8); those without Christ will experience in intensified form ‘the spiritual darkness of a self-willed and self-centred existence’ that they have chosen (cf. John 3:19), and this will prove to be an existence of anguish and no joy (Luke 16:25).
Q 11 Why can it be said that the doctrine of eternal punishment is not arbitrary, not unreasonable? (p 199)
Ans: In effect this doctrine shows that God grants our choice of the spiritual condition we want to be in – either to be with God or to be without.
Q 12 How should the truth of eternal punishment affect us in how we live? (p 199f.)
Ans: We should have ‘a quickened sense of the shortness of our time, and of the eternal significance of the present moment.’
Q 13 What answer can be given to the assertion that the eternal punishment of the rejected would mean that God is needlessly cruel, while, on the other hand, annihilation is just? (p 200)
Ans: Scripture affirms that God’s judgement of the godless is indeed just (cf. Luke 12:47f; Rom 2:5-16) and this will result in praise to Him (cf. Rev 16:5-7; 19:1-3).
Q 14 Why can it be said that, from one point of view the mastering of death is the central theme of the gospel? (p 202)
Ans: In the gospel there is, as John Owen put it, ‘the death of death in the death of Christ’.
Q 15 Why can a person who has become a Christian see that that the dread of physical death (Heb 2:15) has been abolished? (p 202f.)
Ans: Christ has taken upon Himself death’s sting (1 Cor 15:55f.), and so because of Christ the Christian knows that he is forgiven, that nothing can separate him from the love of God (Rom 8:38f.), and that to die is to be with Christ, which ‘is far better’ (Phil 1:23).
Q 16 For the Christian what does death mean in terms of fellowship with Christ and with God through Christ? (p 203)
Ans: However difficult it may be physically, death will mean a journey into joy, into a closer fellowship with Christ and with God through Christ.
Q 17 Why is, ‘Are you ready to die?’ an appropriate pastoral question? (p 204)
Ans: The secret to living to the full and inner peace is to be realistically prepared for death, to be ‘packed up and ready to go.’
Q 18 Each day we live could be our last. How then should we live? (p 205)
Ans: Be prepared. ‘Be wholly committed to Christ’s service every day. Don’t touch sin with a barge pole. Keep short accounts with God. Think of each hour as God’s gift to you to make the most and best of.’ Like Paul, fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith. To faith add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. Then there will be no falling, and we will receive a rich welcome into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet 1:5-7, 10f.).