Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spectacluar Sins and their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

24 hours after John Piper's new book landed on my door step, I am reflecting on its content. This is an extremely helpful and needed book. I've never heard anyone say these kind of things before.

Basically, the point of the book is that sin and evil (no matter how spectacular) exist ultimately for the glory of Christ. Sin and evil serve God's purposes to make much of Jesus Christ. All things exist for Jesus Christ, including sin. God did not just know that sin would exist, He ordained it in order to fulfill His purposes.

Piper does a fantastic job of proving this Biblically. He leaves no doubt that this is the consistent teaching of God's Word.

Piper's aim is a pastoral one. He seeks to help us to be strong and stable whenever we face spectacular sin and evil in our lives.

He says, "I am writing this book to build a vision of God into our lives that will not let us down in the worst of times" (p. 14).

"The aim of this book is not to meet felt needs, but to awaken needs that will soon be felt, and then to save your faith and strengthen your courage when evil prevails" (p. 16).

"As a pastor, I do not think it is my job to entertain you during the last days. It is not my calling to help you have chipper feelings while the whole creation groans. My job is to put the kind of ballast in the belly of your boat so that when these waves crash against your life, you will not capsize but make it to the harbor of heaven--battered and wounded, but full of faith and joy" (p. 28).

"My prayer is that as these great historical vistas of God's sovereignty over sin take their place in your mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition--Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict. I pray that the Lord will weave cords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul" (pp. 97-98).

After stating his purpose and point, Piper walks through about 6 particular Biblical sins showing how they served God's ultimate purpose. The chapter titles and subtitles are worthy of pondering deeply.

The only critique I would offer is that I wish Piper would have included a discussion regarding the balance between being deeply grieved by sin and being firmly resolved that God ordains sin for His glory. How do we see sin as infinitely ugly and offensive to God and yet rejoice that sin serves God's purposes?

You can read the table of contents, the introduction, and chapter 1 at the WTS site. I would highly recommend this new book. It is just 120 pages, but packs a powerful punch.

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