I offer you a bunch of quotes from a good book: J.I. Packer’s Knowing God. It’s taken me a really long time to get through the book, but I suspect that has more to do with the state of my emotions and spiritual stubbornness than it has to do with the quality of the book.
“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 forever,” (31).
“There is unspeakable comfort – the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates – in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.
There is, certainly great cause for humility in the thought that he sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow humans do not see (and I am glad!), and that he sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which , in all conscience, is enough). There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, he wants me as his friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given his Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose,” (42 – emphasis/underlining mine).
“…you can have all the right notions in your head without ever tasting in your heart the realities to which they refer; and a simple Bible reader and sermon hearer who is full of the Holy Spirit will develop a far deeper acquaintance with his God and Savior than a more learned scholar who is content with being theologically correct,” (39).
“… interest in theology, and knowledge about God, and the capacity to think clearly and talk well on Christian themes, is not at all the same thing as knowing him,” (26).
“If we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate and dismiss them as very poor specimens,” (21).
“It is not for us to imagine that we can prove the truth of Christianity by our own arguments; nobody can prove the truth of Christianity except the Holy Spirit, by his own almighty work of renewing the blinded heart. It is the sovereign prerogative of Christ’s Spirit to convince men’s consciences of the truth of Christ’s gospel; and Christ’s human witnesses must learn to ground their hopes of success not on clever presentation of the truth by man, but on powerful demonstration of the truth by the Spirit,” (71).
“Christians will tell you, if you ask them, that the Word of God has both convinced them of sin and assured them of forgiveness,” (116).
“The grace of God is love freely shown toward guilty sinners, contrary to their merit and indeed in defiance of their demerit. It is God showing goodness to persons who deserve only severity and had no reason to expect anything by severity,” (132).
“Our sins have been punished; the wheel of retribution has turned; judgment has been inflicted for our ungodliness – but on Jesus, the lamb of God, standing in our place. In this way God is just – and the justifier of those who put faith in Jesus,” (188).
“But when you realize that God has taken you from the gutter, so to speak, and made you a son in his own house – you, a miraculously pardoned offender, guilty, ungratful, defiant, perverse as you were – then your sense of God’s ‘love beyond degree’ is more than words can express,” (215).