Posts Tagged ‘John Piper’
I’ve been reading and highly recommend to all John Piper’s e-book for advent…Here is an excerpt from today’s reading about the meaning of Christmas. You can find the book here.“This is what needs to be said today about the meaning of Christmas.
“…he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil…”
In dying, Christ de-fanged the devil. How? By covering all our sin. This means that Satan has no legitimate grounds to accuse us before God. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33). On what grounds does he justify? Through the blood of Jesus (Romans 5:9).
Satan’s ultimate weapon against us is our own sin. If the death of Jesus takes it away, the chief weapon of the devil is taken out of his hand. He cannot make a case for our death penalty, because the Judge has acquitted us by the death of his Son!
“…and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”
So we are free from the fear of death. God has justified us. Satan cannot overturn that decree. And God means for our ultimate safety to have an immediate effect on our lives. He means for the happy ending to take away the slavery and fear of”
Excerpt From: Piper, John. “Good News of Great Joy.” Desiring God, 2012. iBooks.
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I’ve been looking for love all over the place and discovered it yesterday on The shelves of our local B&N store – John Piper’s new book called Love Your Enemies. It is actually a re-publication of his doctoral dissertation and taught me the wordparaenesis (why can’t we just say ‘command’?). Desiring God has kindly offered a free download, which you can find here.
Here is what Piper says about the command to love our enemies – what I think of as ‘the otherwise impossible love,’ since there’s no way we could obey this command in our own strength.
“Our only hope for loving our enemy is to be a new creation in Christ. And our only hope for being a new creation in Christ is to be reconciled to God through the death of his Son. ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself’ (II Cor 5:17–18).
The only hope that we might love our enemy is that God loved us when we were his enemy. ‘If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life’ (Rom 5:10). This is the great root of the good tree we are becoming: ‘Forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave you’ (Eph 4:32).
Turn the other cheek—seventy times seven (Mt 18:22). Love does not keep an account of wrongs (I Cor 13:6). ‘Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them’ (Rom 12:14).
Jesus is the great example here, and the inimitable substitute: ‘When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly’—that’s the example (I Pt 2:23). And ‘he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness’—that’s the substitution (I Pt 2:24).
What he has done for us is the ground for what he does in us. We can become a good tree only because he was cursed for us on a horrible tree (Gal 3:13).” John Piper, Love Your Enemies
As I mentioned last week, one of the many benefits I enjoy of studying the Bible in community is searching for scholarly answers to questions raised in our discussion. Last week, a question arose regarding Satan’s ways. I found the so clear and well-thought-out, not to mention scriptural, but I pasted in the last part about how to relate to evil here.
How to Relate to Evil by John Piper
So I close with the urgent and practical question: How then should we relate to evil? How should we think and feel and act about Satanic evil—the death of little Zach at the attack of a pit bull? The deaths of three more miners trying to save their buddies? Five hundred dead in the Peru earthquake? The evil you confront in your own lives? Here is my summary answer. Eight things to do with evil. Four things never to do.
Expect evil. “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
Endure evil. “Love bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7; cf. Mark 13:13).
Give thanks for the refining effect of evil that comes against you. “Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Romans 5:3-5).
Hate evil. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
Pray for escape from evil. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
Expose evil. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
Overcome evil with good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
Resist evil. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
But, on the other hand:
Never despair that this evil world is out of God’s control. “[He] works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).
Never give in to the sense that because of random evil life is absurd and meaningless. “How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! . . . For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever” (Romans 11:33, 36).
Never yield to the thought that God sins, or is ever unjust or unrighteous in the way he governs the universe. “The Lord is righteous in all his ways.” (Psalm 145:17).
Never doubt that God is totally for you in Christ. If you trust him with your life, you are in Christ. Never doubt that all the evil that befalls you—even if it takes your life—is God’s loving, purifying, saving, fatherly discipline. It is not an expression of his punishment in wrath. That fell on Jesus Christ our substitute. “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6).
John Haskins depicts the joy of a "holiday by the sea."
“12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Col. 3:12-14
A good blogger doesn’t ask people to read more than a paragraph or two. I’m not a good blogger today:).
I’ve been revisiting my tattered copy of John Piper’s Desiring God, in which he calls us to revisit an essential but often left-out part of the Westminster Catechism: “What is the chief end of [humankind]?” “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Piper asks us to reconsider how enjoying God glorifies God, and begins by quoting the following portion of C.S. Lewis’ great sermon, The Weight of Glory. I promise you the challenge here is worth the five minutes it will take you to read it. I even broke one long paragraph up into shorter sections:). Read it and ask yourself — what can I learn about glorying God by enjoying God?
If you asked twenty good men to-day what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love.
You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point.
I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.
If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory