God is the Gospel–John Piper

Posted: July 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

After reading “Don’t Waste Your Life” again, I decided to pick up another Piper book and begin reading.  At our church we are dealing with “10 Marks of a Healthy Church:  What a Healthy Church and It’s Members Look Like.”  This last week we dealt with the issue of the gospel.  A healthy church has a biblical understanding of what the gospel is.  So I decided to read something that would challenge me to think more deeply on this issue.  “God is the Gospel” by John Piper has challenged me to think hard about the ultimate goal of the gospel and am glad to dive into it once again.

The premise of “God is the Gospel” is that the ultimate ends of the good news of Jesus Christ is that through faith in Him, we get God.  That is, through our faith in Jesus Christ we are restored to a right relationship with the very one we were created to love and enjoy forever.  All the details of the gospel are merely means to remove the obstacles to that loving relationship.  Let me explain.

Justification, propitiation, forgiveness, and reconciliation are great ways to talk about, and explain, what happens through faith in Jesus.  Romans 5:1 tells us that we are “justified through faith.”  That is part of the gospel.  We are declared not guilty and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us (justification).  That removes the obstacles of legal guilt and unrighteousness that separate us from God.  Since we are sinners  the wrath of God is aimed right at us.  The picture of propitiation mentioned in 1 John (see also Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17) describes the removal of God’s wrath from the sinner and placed on Christ.  The wrath of God towards the elect is satisfied on the cross.  Through faith we are friends and no longer enemies…Jesus bore the wrath for us…obstacle removed!  Forgiveness operates the same way.  We have offended God by sinning against Him (Psalm 51:4, Romans 3:23).  There is relational tension that exists.  John Piper uses the analogy of a husband and wife.  The husband wakes up and trips over a pile of laundry left there by his wife.  He makes a hateful comment as the wife gets out of bed.  The tension is thick in the air.  There is no peace between them.  As the husband repents and apologizes, acknowledging his error, the wife forgives and the relationship is healed.  Those who are children of God through faith in Jesus (John 1:12) are “forgiven” (1 John 2:12).  The tension is removed and the relationship restored.

I mentioned in the list above the idea of reconciliation.  I believe this to be the picture that embraces, in part, all others.  Justification, propitiation, and forgiveness issue forth into reconciliation.  All those pictures, all those things that really do take place when one comes to faith in Christ, are all means to be reconciled to God.  Paul, in Romans 5:10, talks about being “reconciled” to God while we were enemies.  God, through Jesus, brings us back to Himself.  That is the end of the gospel.  We are brought back into loving, intimate, and eternal relation to God.  God is the gospel!

John Piper goes to great lengths to show this from the Bible.  It is his belief, and mine, that we can say right, true, and helpful things about the gospel and fail to talk about its ultimate goodness.  We can talk about deliverance from hell, eternity in heaven, and a thousand other benefits and miss the ultimate end.  We can miss God.  The good news is that Jesus came to live, die, and rise again to pay the penalty of sin, bear the wrath of God, and fulfill the covenant of works in the place of sinners.  But He did this, not simply so you could go hang out with your family in heaven instead of hell.  He did this, primarily and most importantly, to bring you back into loving relationship with His Father. 

Exult in the truth that through Jesus Christ you get God.  Enjoy Him today.

  1. Amelia Baker says:

    ¨God is the Gospel¨ is, outside of the Bible, the single most impactful, influential, life-changing book I´ve ever read. I absolutely LOVE it. Good thoughts, friend.

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