Knowing God

“We must know God to know our duty; we must know Christ to know the way of performing it; we must know God, therefore, in the perfections of his nature, and Christ in the sufficiency of his mediation. We must know God in his ravishing goodness, his affrighting justice, his condescending mercy, his adorable wisdom, his unshaken veracity; we must know him as offended by sin, as pacified by Christ. Without the one, we shall not be humbled; without the other, we shall not approach to him. We must know him in his precepts, else how can we obey him? in his promises, else how can we trust him? We must know Christ in his offices, as an atoning priest, as an instructing prophet, a protecting and governing king. We must know him in his transaction with his Father, descent to the world, we must know him upon the cross and upon the throne, and the ends of both his states . . . . ‘Know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.’ How else can we be ‘conformed to his death,’ or have confidence in his life? We must know him in his nature, without which we cannot have a knowledge either of the truth or efficacy of his satisfaction.”

Stephen Charnock, Works, Volume 4, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1985 reprint, p. 25

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