As I was sorting through our things recently, one book I came across was John Piper’s “God is the Gospel.” I had read it a few years ago and remembered I loved it, so I wanted to re-read it.
It was a great encouragement to me, but even more a lot of what he said resonated with me as I thought about my devos during Csehy 2014 – my hall’s verse was 1 Peter 3:18, “for Christ suffered once for sins… that He might bring us to God” with focus on our being brought to God. Around the same time, I started having some issues with the gospel-centered camp. I’ve never been able to articulate those very well without feeling like I’m pushing aside the gospel.
But Piper finds that balance very well when he reminds us again and again that the point of the gospel is to bring us to God.
You should read the book for yourself, but I want to put some quotes below, to explain more of what I mean, pique your interest, and encourage you more and more towards God – since our eternal life is ultimately knowing Him (John 17:3)! I was certainly challenged in that even as I nodded my head so much in agreement – how much am I savoring God versus just rejoicing in His gifts? How much do I praise Him simply because of who He is, as opposed to how those attributes benefit me?
“The price Jesus paid for the gift and the unmerited freedom of the gift are not the gift. The gift is Christ himself ast he glorious image of God – seen and savored with everlasting joy.” – 14
“The precious gospel events and gospel blessings… do not suffice to make the gospel good news.” – 37
“[The essential parts of the gospel] are not the final good of the gospel and would not prove to be good for us at all if the unmentioned supreme good were not seen and embraced. That good is God himself seen and savored in all his glory. Focusing on the facets of a diamond without seeing the beauty of the whole is demeaning to the diamond.” – 37
“Until the gospel events of Good Friday and Easter and the gospel promises of justification and eternal life lead you to be hold and embrace God himself as your highest joy, you have not embraced the gospel of God. You have embraced some of his gifts. You have rejoiced over some of his rewards. You have marveled at some of his miracles. But you have not yet been awakened to why the gifts, the rewards, and the miracles have come. They have come for one great reason: that you might behold forever the glory of God in Christ, and by beholding become the kind of person who delights in God above all things, and by delighting display His supreme beauty and worth with ever-increasing brightness and bliss forever.” – 37-38
“What makes all the events of Good Friday and Easter and all the promises they secure good news is that they lead us to God… Everything… in the gospel is meant to display God’s glory and remove every obstacle in him (such as his wrath) and in us (such as our rebellion) so that we can enjoy him forever.” – 42
“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.” – 162