Thursday, January 19, 2006

God Is The Gospel

"My point in this book is that all the saving events and all the saving blessings of the gospel are means of getting obstacles out of the way so that we might know and enjoy God most fully. Propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, imputation, sanctification, liberation, healing, heaven - none of these is good news except for one reason: they bring us to God for our everlasting enjoyment of him....And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It's a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don't want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel....Each of Jesus' deeds and words and attitudes was glorious, but it is the way they come together in beautiful summation - I called it an exquisite array - that constitutes his glory. But the climax of the glory of his life on earth was the way it ended. It was as if all the darker colors in the spectrum of glory came together in the most beautiful sunset on Good Friday, with the crucified Christ as the blood-red sun in the crimson sky. And it was as if all the brighter colors in the spectrum of glory came together in the most beautiful sunrise on Easter morning, with the risen Christ as the golden sun shining in full strength. Both the glory of the sunset and the glory of the sunrise shone on the horizon of a lifetime of incomparably beautiful love. This is what Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 4:4 when he spoke of 'the glory of Christ.' It is the glory of a person....Imagine being able to enjoy what is infinitely enjoyable with unbounded energy and passion forever. This is not our experience now. Three things stand in the way of our complete satisfaction in this world. One is that nothing here has a personal worth great enough to meet the deepest longings of our hearts. Another is that we lack the strength to savor the best treasures to their maximum worth. And the third obstacle to complete satisfaction is that our joys here come to and end. Nothing lasts. But if the aim of the gospel - the aim of Jesus in John 17:26 and the aim of Paul in 1 Timothy 1:11 and 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 - comes true, all this will change. If God's pleasure in the Son becomes our pleasure, then the object of our pleasure, Jesus, will be inexhaustible in personal worth. He will never become boring or disappointing or frustrating. No greater treasure can be conceived than the very Son of God. Moreover, our ability to savor this inexhaustible treasure will not be limited by human weaknesses. We will enjoy the Son of God with the very enjoyment of his omnipotently happy Father. God's delight in his Son will be in us, and it will be ours. And this will never end, because neither the Father nor the Son ever ends. Their love for each other will be our love for them, and therefore our loving them will never die." (John Piper, God Is The Gospel [Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2005], pp. 47, 65, 102)