What is the purpose of grace?
Primarily, to restore our relationship with God. When God lays the foundation of this restored relationship, by forgiving our sins as we trust his Son, he does so in order that henceforth we and he may live in fellowship. And what he does in renewing our nature is intended to make us capable of, and actually to lead us into, the exercise of love, trust, delight, hope and obedience Godward—those acts which, from our side, make up the reality of fellowship with God, who is constantly making himself known to us. This is what all the work of grace aims at—an ever deeper knowledge of God, and an ever closer fellowship with him. Grace is God drawing us sinners closer and closer to himself.
How does God in grace prosecute this purpose?
Not by shielding us from assault by the world, the flesh and the devil, nor by protecting us from burdensome and frustrating circumstances, nor yet by shielding us from troubles created by our own temperament and psychology; but rather by exposing us to all these things, so as to overwhelm us with a sense of our own inadequacy, and to drive us to cling to him more closely. This is the ultimate reason, from our standpoint, why God fills our lives with troubles and perplexities of one sort and another: it is to ensure that we shall learn to hold him fast. The reason why the Bible spends so much of its time reiterating that God is a strong rock, a firm defense, and a sure refuge and help for the weak, is that God spends so much of his time bringing home to us that we are weak, both mentally and morally, and dare not trust ourselves to find, or to follow, the right road.
Taken from J.I. Packer’s Knowing God
– photo from http://www.crossway.org