Wednesday, July 29, 2009

God is the Gospel

So I've just finished reading God is the Gospel, by John Piper.

What an amazing experience it was for me. It seems that anything I would have ever wanted to say about the God-centeredness of God (and therefore the God-centeredness of people) has been said in that book. It's very refreshing when someone makes the point you were trying to make, and with stunningly greater precision and conciseness than you could have dreamed of.

So beyond an unqualified recommendation, I give a strong exhortation: read this book. It's worth the money to have a physical copy, without question. But you can also read it online for free at the Desiring God website.

I'm thinking about reproducing some passages from the book in a future post here and there. But there was a particular section that dealt with the Greatest Commandment and its being the foundation of the Second, which was much of what I was concerned with at the start of this blog. Here's what Piper says about that, from page 162:
We exist by Him, through Him, and for Him (Rom 11:36). The ultimate and greatest good of the gospel is not self-admiration or self-exaltation, but being able to see the glory of God without disintegrating, and being able to delight in the glory of Christ with the very delight of God the Father for His own Son, and being able to do visible Christ-exalting deeds that flow from this delight.

So being like God is the ground of seeing God for who He is, and this seeing is the ground of savoring and delighting in the glory of God with the very delight of God, which then overflows with visible displays of God's glory.
That summarizes my thoughts very nicely.

The following is one expression of the thesis of the book, and, I believe, captures his thinking (not to mention the essence of the Gospel) quite well. From page 147 (emphases mine):
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).
Little else comes to mind aside from, "Amen."

In the video below, Piper discusses two implications of discovering and receiving the truth that God is the Gospel, the first personal, and the second pastoral.

So again, I strongly encourage you to read this book and have your understanding shaped by Scripture presented through Piper, Edwards, Calvin, Owen, and others about what the supreme passion of God is in all things, and therefore what our supreme passion should be in all things.

This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture:
truly to know Jesus Christ,
and the infinite riches that are comprised in him
and are offered to us by him
from God the Father.

- John Calvin -
(See here, p. 70.)

For Christ also died for sins once for all,
the just for the unjust,
so that He might bring us to God.

- 1 Peter 3:18 -


Monica said...

"If God promises us a good thing He must bring us through suffering to get it. Suffering is the only way that you can see some things about God that are most precious."

Wow. I never thought about that before. I feel that the encouragement to suffer is SO beneficial for our souls! And you can really see how only a heart that's been changed can be excited at the perspective of suffering because it is "the way you can see some things about God that are most precious." and THAT is exciting!

Mike Riccardi said...