Thursday, October 1, 2009

God is the Gospel Review - Pt 4

Piper begins Chapter 11 with these words:

The best news of the Christian gospel is that the supremely glorious Creator of the universe has acted in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to remove every obstacle between us and himself so that we may find everlasting joy in seeing and savoring his infinite beauty. The saving love of God is his doing whatever must be done, at great cost to himself, and for the least deserving, so that he might enthrall them with what will make them supremely happy forever, namely himself. Therefore, the gospel of God and the love of God are expressed finally and fully in God’s gift of himself for our everlasting pleasure. “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps 16:11)

In typical Piper fashion, he shocks us awake one last time with this cutting paragraph, which will be my final quote. If this doesn’t completely turn you off to the book, perhaps it will cause you to read it to see where he goes with this:
The God-centered love of God is foreign to fallen human beings, especially those hwo, like most of us, have been saturated for decades with doctrines of self-esteem. We have absorbed a definition of love that makes us the center. That is, we feel loved when someone makes much of us. Thus, the natural, human definition of love is making much of someone. The main reason this feels like love is that it feels so good to be made much of. The problem is that this feels good on wholly natural grounds. There is nothing spiritual about it. No change in us is needed at all to experience this kind of “love.” This love is wholly natural. It operates on the principles that are already present in our fallen, sinful, and spiritually dead souls. We love the praise of man. It feels good. Praise is to the ego what sex is to the body. It just doesn’t get any better—as long as we are spiritually dead.

The ground of natural love is finally me, not God. If you make much of me, I feel loved, because I am the final ground of my happiness. God is not in that place. He should be, but he is not. That is what it means to be unconverted and natural. The deepest foundation of my happiness is me (p 149)
Piper then goes on to talk about how unconverted people can ‘get religion’. There are plenty of churches that nurture this type of self-love, and even those that preach the truth twist the message in their heads to hear what they want to hear.
So it is possible even to see God as “in a sort, lovely” when we are not even genuine Christians. If he can be seen as a servant of our self-love, then we can see him as lovely. If he will make much of us, then we will be willing, up to a point, to make much of him. … The issue is: Where does the foundation of our joy lie? I s it ourselves or is it God? (p 150-151)

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