Wednesday, September 30, 2009

God is the Gospel Review - Pt 3

This entire section was such a blessing and I found it very difficult to ‘pull out’ a quote because the entire section is quote-worthy.
The creation of the material world, including our bodies with all five senses, was God’s idea. He did not do it mainly as a temptation to idolatry, but mainly as a display of his glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). That is the purpose of a million species of animals and plants, and a million galaxies. “Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 4:4). Yes, if the thanksgiving is rooted in the sight of the glory of the Giver who is more to be admired than all his gifts, and supremely to be enjoyed in all his gifts (p 138).
It was also very special because by God’s providence, our family rented the Disney DVD Earth during the week I read this section, and as we watched this documentary (secular yet strangely missing all of the ‘millions of years ago’ allusions to evolution), we were enraptured by the majestic and spectacular images of God’s handiwork in creation. We were truly glorying in Christ for giving us such a planet to enjoy!
All the enticements to God that are not God are precious and precarious. They can lead us to God or lure us to themselves. They may be food or marriage or church or miracles. All of these blessings bring love letters from God. But unless we stress continually that God himself is the gospel, people will fall in love with the mailman—whether his name is forgiveness of sins or eternal life or heaven or ministry or miracles or family or food (p 143).
Piper then exposits Habakkuk 3:17-18 and Psalm 63:1-3 and Psalm 73:24-26 to illustrate this God-centered focus. He includes my favorite Augustine quote, “He loves Thee too little who loves anything together with Thee which he loves not for Thy sake (p 144)”. Finally, he brings in Jesus and Paul.
Jesus put it like this: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37). Jesus must be the supreme treasure of our lives, if we are true disciples of Jesus. Jesus died for us and rose again to make it possible for us to see him and savor him above all things with everlasting joy. This is the great good the gospel is meant to accomplish.

Therefore those who are permeated most deeply by the gospel speak like the apostle Paul: “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:7-8).
Piper ends the section with an amazing Jonathan Edwards quote (imagine Piper quoting Edwards?!?):
The redeemed have all their objective good in God. God himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption. He is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; he is the portion of their souls. God is the wealth and treasure, their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honor and glory. They have none in heaven but God; he is the great good which the redeemed are received to at death, and which they ar to rise to at the end of the world. The Lord God, he is the light of the heavenly Jerusalem; and is the ‘river of water of life’ that runs, and the tree of life that grows, ‘in the midst of the paradise of God’. The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will forever entertain the minds of the saints, and the love of God will be their everlasting feast. The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things; they will enjoy the angels, and will enjoy one another: but that which they shall enjoy in the angels, or each other, or in anything else whatsoever, that will yield them delight and happiness, will be what will be seen of God in them (p 145).

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Here is my testimony: mike