God Isn’t Grateful
December 13, 2008 | By: John Piper
It is good news that we will never be thanked by God.
Not thanking us is a form of love.
We need to adjust our expectations of what it feels like to be loved by God compared to what it feels like to be loved by men.
“Why, then, does God not simply wipe Satan out? He has the right and power to do this. And Revelation 20:10 says he is going to do it some day. Why didn’t he cast him into the Lake of Fire the day after he rebelled? Why let him rampage through humanity for centuries?
The ultimate answer, as we saw last week, is that “all things were created through Christ and for Christ” (Colossians 1:16). The Son of God, Jesus Christ, will be more highly honored in the end because he defeats Satan through longsuffering, patience, humility, servanthood, suffering, and death, rather than through raw power. And the more highly honored the Son is, the greater the joy of those who love him.”
A wonderful, biblical, Christ centered theodicy. Time for reading is becoming increasing difficult to find recently, but I think I will pick up “Spectacular Sins” soon.
“Discernment is not created in God’s people by brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance. It is created by biblical truth and the application of truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to our hearts and minds. When that happens, then the brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance will have the strong fiber of the full counsel of God in them. They will be profoundly Christian and not merely religious and emotional and psychological.
The common denominator of those who follow the Antichrist will not be “charismatic.” It will be, as Paul says, “they refused to love the truth.”
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)
Our test for every Lakeland that comes along should first be doctrinal and expositional. Is this awakening carried along by a “love for the truth” and a passion to hear the whole counsel of God proclaimed?”
Following is a post by John Piper titled, The Wonder of ‘Idiotic’ Perseverance. At its conclusion, I journaled some thoughts……
“In his book, Passion, Karl Olsson tells a story of incredible patience among the early French Protestants called Huguenots.
In the late Seventeenth Century in… southern France, a girl named Marie Durant was brought before the authorities, charged with the Huguenot heresy. She was fourteen years old, bright, attractive, marriageable. She was asked to abjure (recant, deny) the Huguenot faith. She was not asked to commit an immoral act, to become a criminal, or even to change the day-to-day quality of her behavior. She was only asked to say, “J’abjure.” No more, no less. She did not comply. Together with thirty other Huguenot women she was put into a tower by the sea…. For thirty-eight years she continued…. And instead of the hated word J’abjure she, together with her fellow martyrs, scratched on the wall of the prison tower the single word Resistez, resist!
The word is still seen and gaped at by tourists on the stone wall at Aigues-Mortes…. We do not understand the terrifying simplicity of a religious commitment which asks nothing of time and gets nothing from time. We can understand a religion which enhances time…. but we cannot understand a faith which is not nourished by the temporal hope that tomorrow things will be better. To sit in a prison room with thirty others and to see the day change into night and summer into autumn, to feel the slow systemic changes within one’s flesh: the drying and wrinkling of the skin, the loss of muscle tone, the stiffening of the joints, the slow stupefaction of the senses-to feel all this and still to persevere seems almost idiotic to a generation which has no capacity to wait and to endure. (116-117)”
My thoughts after reading the aforementioned are thus: What is it that produces such resolute faith as that found in Marie Durant? Before we answer that somewhat rhetorical question, first tell me about that ‘wonderful plan’ that Jesus has for your life. So, tell me more about this Jesus who wants you to have ‘your best life now.’ Tell me about this Jesus (or was it Moses?) that said God wants to prosper you and make you wealthy if you are first obedient with that seed sowing thing and that 10% off the top thing. Tell me about this otherwise undemanding Jesus who will never ask you to do anything that would split or cause tension in your family. Tell me more about this Jesus who would not ask you to do anything you do not want to do. I have heard all the aforementioned and unbiblical assurances from well-meaning pastors.
In contrast, what is it about Marie Durant’s faith, or more clearly, what is it about the object of her faith, Jesus, that she proclaimed “resistez” to “j’abjure?” What is it about Christ that, even after counting the costs, she would declare “resistez?”
I believe Marie perhaps understood grace more clearly than do some in the church today, and I include myself in this indictment; I believe she better understood the true cost of the Cross. I believe she perhaps came to better understand the absolute horror and wretchedness of sin, and she better understood the absolute and, without Christ, unapproachable holiness and righteousness of God a bit better and a bit more profoundly than many American Christians. I believe she understood the deeper things of Christ that sadly seems to sometimes be held in contempt by the 10 mile wide and ankle deep, impatient, spectacle obsessed, you-can-have-your-best-life now, entertainment driven, culture accommodating and culture polluted, self-absorbed ‘attractional,’ seeker sensitive American evangelical church, be it mega or otherwise. I know, I know…………deep breath, Ron…………breath in….breath out………
In my gift for stating the blatantly self-evident, we do live in a Western culture that reeks of the scent of self-absorption, entitlement, and consumerism. It seems to rub off on the church sometimes. The problem is not, as some would claim, that the church is not relevant to contemporary, post-modern society, it is that she is so often indistinguishable from society; it is that the church, in some of its contemporary manifestations, sometimes likes to look at herself in the mirror a bit much. I believe the Gospel and the sermons Marie Durant heard proclaimed in her day and time was perhaps a bit more absolute in its Christ-centeredness and infinitely less man-centered than much of what is proclaimed from many American pulpits and stages.
I believe she understood better than many today that life is a vapor, that her treasure was not on earth, that her ultimate satisfaction was not some job, her family, or material assets. I believe she greatly valued the Creator over the created, that she grew to love the Giver of the gift and the Author of salvation more than the gift. Her Savior was not just a means to a temporal end. That all being said, I do, however, believe she did at times mourn over the loss of her earth-bound freedom. I believe that she, at times, mourned that she never had the opportunity to marry and have children who would perhaps gift her with grandchildren. I do believe that she counted those costs when she, in her heart, mind, and spirit, daily refused to recant her faith. Her treasure, she knew, was elsewhere and waiting for her, imperishable. I am humbled and convicted by her life of faith and devotion to the risen Messiah.
Recently, I have not had the time or inclination to write. I have, however, found words of others that resonate with me and I delight in sharing them. Following is a quote by John Piper that I found at ακολουθω Χριστω.
- It is profoundly wrong to turn the cross into a warrant for self-esteem as the root of mental health. If I stand before the love of God and do not feel a healthy, satisfying, freeing joy without turning that love into an echo of my self-esteem, then I am like a man who stands before the Grand Canyon and feels no satisfying wonder until he translates the canyon into a case for his own significance. That is not the presence of health but of bondage to self. The only ultimate love is the sacrificial act of God saving me to share God’s passion for the supremacy of God. Nothing glorifies him, or satisfies us, more.
-John Piper, “Taste and See,” pg. 45
Sometimes, when I find myself sprawled out on the couch and channel surfing, I will occasionally, out of curiosity, pause and briefly watch programing on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I find myself fascinated by the more egregious examples, the pulpit prostitutes, of the prosperity ‘gospel’ in much the way a bird may be fascinated by a snake. At best, TBN sometimes unintentionally endorses doctrinal error and confusion; at worst, they enable con games that prey on the credulous in the name of the ‘gospel.’
As an addendum, I truly desire to maintain an irenic, gracious tone as I ‘blog’, to be respectful, but sometimes, when I listen to millionaire ‘evangelists’…………….