Without this divine knowledge, how could we help feeling either exalted or dejected? The Christian religion alone has been able to cure these twin vices, not by using the one to expel the other according to worldly wisdom, but by expelling both through the simplicity of the gospel. For it teaches the righteous that they still bear the source of all corruption which exposes them throughout their lives to error, misery, death and sin; and [yet] it cries out to the most ungodly that they are capable of the grace of the Redeemer. Thus making those whom it justifies to terrible, yet consoling those whom it condemns, it so nicely tempers fear with hope through this dual capacity…Grace and sin! It causes infinitely more dejection than mere reason – but without despair, and infinitely more exaltation than natural pride – but without puffing us up [Pensees 208]
– Blaise Pascal as quoted by Tim Keller, in the forward to Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; location 138
Even the ordinary wisdom of the world can be useful. The problem comes when we forget that we are fallen children of Adam and that we cannot fix our deepest moral crisis. For that, we need Good News, not good advice. We need God’s unfailing promises, not more purposes and programs. Suzie Ormand’s financial advice and Jake’s home gym can help me improve my life, but nothing they say can transfer me from death to life.
Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 131-132
The gracious purposes to which the Lord makes sense and feeling of our depravity subsurvient, are manifold. Hereby his own power, wisdom, faithfulnes and love, are more signally displayed: his power, in maintaining his own work in the midst of so much opposition, like a spark burning in the water, or a bush unconsumed in the flames; his wisdom, in defeating and controlling all devices which Satan, from his knowledge of the evil of our nature is encouraged to practise against us.”
– John Newton
as quoted by Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 506
These two – the Spirit’s power and direction – correspond to two ways that the Word of God functions in our prayer. The power of the Spirit is offered in promises of God’s Word, and we experience it by faith in the promise. The direction of the Spirit is embodied in the wisdom of God’s Word, and we experience it by being saturated with that wisdom. So if we would “pray in the Holy Spirit” we should, like Mueller, pray the Word of God, trusting the promises and absorbing the wisdom.
– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright 2004; p. 167
On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself…So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of what righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness, will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom, will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy, will be condemned as the most miserable impotence.
– John Calvin
as quoted by Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 37
To submit to the Father of our spirit denotes] an acquiescence in His sovereign right to do what He will with us as His own; a renunciation of self-will; an acknowledgement of His righteousness and wisdom in all His dealings with us; a sense of His care and love, with a due apprehension of the end of His chastisements; a diligent application of ourselves unto His mind and will, or to what He calls us to in an especial manner at that season; a keeping of our souls by persevering faith from weariness and despondency; a full resignation o ourselves to His will, as to the matter, manner, times and continuance of our afflictions.
– John Owen
as quoted by Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p.226
Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.
– John Calvin
as quoted by John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page