Bearing Burdens and Racial Reconciliation

racial-reconciliation-1920x1000In light of the tragedies surrounding Alton Sterling and Philando Castile on July 5 and July 6,  I was asked by my pastor to write an article to our congregation that we might take more steps in understanding the racial narrative and how White Christians can better display the gospel toward their African American brothers and sisters. Here is what I wrote.

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I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

(Ephesians 4:1, ESV)

By now we all have heard of the shootings by law enforcement that resulted in the deaths of two African American men, Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, LA and Philando Castile of St. Paul, MN, on July 5 and July 6 respectively.  These two men are just a small, but no less significant, part of a larger narrative of systemic injustice against African-Americans.  As a multi-ethnic church with a considereable number of African-American members and visitors, we must understand the impact these types of tragedies have and know how to respond. Particularly to my white brothers and sisters, but certainly not limited to you, I offer a few suggestions on how to respond.

First, do not ignore the data confirming systemic injustice and do not minimize or ignore the very real pain and hurt of those who have been affected by these types of tragedies.  As gospel Christians, we should be compelled to weep with those who weep.

Second, if you desire to understand the racial narrative more clearly, how to interact with your African-American brothers and sisters from a gospel centered perspective and why we collectively suffer in the types of tragedies, talk to us and take advantage of many resources available. Here are a few resources. I pray they are helpful.

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“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.” – 1 John 3:14 ESV

In Him,

David Robinson

 

*image courtesy of veritascolumbus.com
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God Is Not Aimless

aimlessOne of the things my wife and I are committed to is continuing to date each other. Every week, usually on Friday evenings, we make it a point to spend time away from the “to do” list and away from others.  As self-avowed amateur foodies, we like to try different types of cuisine and Austin has a wide variety to choose from.  Some dates are more formal and some are casual, even including Austin’s famous food truck culture. With all of these choices, we’ve often found ourselves indecisive about what we want to eat and I’ve been known to drive without knowing where we’re going. Logic finally kicks in and I usually stop driving aimlessly and pull over in a parking lot so we can finalize our decision.

Aimlessness is costly because it is wasteful and counter-productive resulting in fruitlessness.  I think all of us can agree with that because we intuitively know that life is to be lived with purpose and usually when one loses that sense of purpose apathy, depression or despair kicks in.  I think we intuitively know this because we were created by God who is purposeful in all that He does.  If we truly believe that God is committed to carrying out His purpose in the world, we can be confident, despite what happens, that all things are working together for good in our lives.

A Case of Aim from the Beginning

Recently, I began re-reading the Bible, starting in Genesis, and immediately I was struck by the order in which He created creation.  Genesis 1 details God’s creative activity in six days.  However, what’s intriguing about this account is the order or structure of creation. There is a pattern of form and filling in Genesis 1. Here is what I mean:

  •  Day 1 corresponds with Day 4 | Creation of day and night on Day 1 and then the creation of the sun and moon to fill the day and night skies on Day 4.
  • Day 2 corresponds with Day 5 | Creation of sky and sea on Day 2 and then the creation of birds to fill the sky and fish to fill the sea on Day 5.
  • Day 3 corresponds with Day 6 | Creation of dry land, plants, and sea and then the creation of animals and man to fill these places on Day 6.

creation

In the very first chapter of the Bible, we learn that God is not aimless, but purposeful in His sovereign activity of creation. This truth should begin to shape our understanding of the character of God.  In fact, the rest of the Bible continues to reveal that God is purposeful.  

God’s Aim in Our Pain

However, I strongly suspect that isn’t where we struggle to believe and understand that God is purposeful.  We struggle to understand God’s purposefulness when we see the painful effects of sin in the world and how it painfully affects our own lives.  When we experience or hear of tragedies abroad or closer to home, we often question their purposes which, at times, causes us to question the sovereignty and the goodness of God.  Our theology seems to come unraveled when pain or disappointment invades our lives.  But why don’t we struggle to believe that all exists to glorify Him when all is going well? Is it impossible to believe that God even uses sin and its painful effects to glorify Himself?  Why do we commend God in times of pleasure and condemn Him in times of pain? We do this when we interpret life from our vantage point and not from God’s. That’s idolatry, not theology.  

James 1:2-4 and 1 Peter 1:6-7 reminds us that the trials we experience are given to us by God to prove, strengthen and perfect our faith.  God’s ultimate goal for us is that we would be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) and the process of being conformed or sanctification sometimes happens by experiencing trials and pain.  Trials and pain provide the occasion for us to remind ourselves of truth and respond accordingly as children of God. Oftentimes, these trials expose just how unholy we naturally are. C.H. Spurgeon said, “Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil and let us see what we are made of”.  

In seeing our unholiness, we ought to desire to be more holy. In that way, God’s aim in our pain and trials is that we would continually turn to Him for sanctifying and sustaining grace. When we turn to Him, we are declaring that He is sufficient to remove our pain or sustain us in it and in that He is glorified! God’s aim in our pain is not only our sanctification, but ultimately our joy and His glory as we are driven to Him (Psalm 16:11).   Do you believe that pain is God’s tool for your joy and His glory in your life? We must continually fight to believe in the goodness of God (Psalm 106:1), the sovereignty of God over all things – good and bad (Daniel 4:35, Psalm 115:3), and the good promises of God for His children (2 Corinthians 1:20).

God’s Aim in Our Pleasure

If pain is a tool that drives us to God for joy, what about pleasure?  What is God’s aim in our pleasure? Are the pleasures we experience meant to drive us to God?  Resoundingly, “yes!”  All of the legitimate pleasures we experience emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, materially and physically are pointers.   James 1:17 reminds us of the source of every good gift (material and immaterial) and 1 Timothy 6:17 reminds us that He aims for us to derive joy from what He’s given. Earthly pleasures are meant to be pointers to an eternally pleasing God!  The gift reflects the heart of the Giver. However,  sin prevents us from seeing the greater value of the Giver over His gifts. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is given that we might see rightly!  Psalm 16:11 says –

You make known to me the path of life;

   in your presence there is fullness of joy;

   at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Psalmist tells us that  lasting pleasure and the fullness of joy are ultimately found in God. If earthly pleasures are pleasurable, yet fading, how much more should we seek to experience ultimate unfading pleasure by being with Christ?!  

God’s Aim in His Pleasure

Have you ever wondered what brings God the most pleasure? It’s Him! Dr. John Piper writes: “God’s own glory is uppermost in his own affections. In everything he does, his purpose is to preserve and display that glory. To say his glory is uppermost in his own affections means that he puts a greater value on it than on anything else. He delights in his glory above all things” (Desiring God, p. 43).  For God to find joy or pleasure in anything above Himself, He would be an idolator giving glory to something or someone lesser.  Since nothing greater exists than God, He finds ultimate delight and pleasure in Himself because He is the sum of all perfection and glory!  If God finds ultimate delight in Himself, how much more should we do the same?  

God’s aim in all that He does is that He be glorified by, in and through His creation, which is the whole aim of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.  God’s aim is His own glory, and rightly so!

Grace & Peace,

d.

The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference

imageOn June 27-29, 4,000 women from 38 different countries gathered for The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference in Orlando, FL. Over the course of these days, the book of Nehemiah was preached, discussed and applied by several keynote speakers including D.A. Carson, John Piper, Tim Keller, Else Fitzpatrick, Trillia Newbell, Carolyn McCulley, Noel Piper, Talitha Piper, Blair Linne, Paige Brown, Kristi Anyabwile and Rosaria Butterfield.

Conference Messages

Enjoy!

Grace & Peace,

d

Cerebral Preaching & The Heart

Should preaching aim more at our minds or our affections? While the answer may seem obvious to some, it’s not quite so obvious to others. One reason that it might not seem obvious is because there may not be an understanding of what preaching is nor the aim of preaching.  If preaching is thought more of in terms of style, then preaching might only be associated with our arousing our affections. If preaching is thought more of in terms of content, then preaching might only be associated with informing our minds.

Let me press us a bit further.

Should we regard preaching as vocal exuberance devoid of biblical exposition? Think whooping and hollering here.  Or should we regard preaching as merely a conveyance of biblical truth devoid of affection? Think academic presentation here.

Both are poor examples of preaching and here’s why. All preaching is to convey accurate biblical information to our minds. Think Romans 12:1-2 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We need biblical instruction for growth and worship. All preaching should arouse the emotions because the subject of the Bible is God’s grace extended to rebels through Jesus Christ. God is matchless in His essence and perfections (love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, benevolence, etc.) and Jesus is the exact imprint of His nature. Is this not worth being excited about? Think Psalm 16:11, Luke 24:32 and Acts 2:37.  If we are preaching the truth of God and Christ, there will be affections because God is not boring!

So preaching should affect BOTH the mind and our affections.

“And he (Jesus) said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

(Matthew 22:37 ESV)

Respected pastors and theologians John Piper, Voddie Baucham and Miguel Nunez discuss this topic.

 

Grace & Peace,
d.

First Things First

We are living in a time where meaning and the way we live are largely determined by the pleasures derived through our senses. We’re driven by the pleasures gained through seeing, tasting, touching, smelling, hearing and even our emotions.  Experiencing legitimate pleasure certainly is not wrong, for this is how the LORD created us and deemed it good! I certainly love the smell and taste of good food. I enjoy hearing fine melody and receiving a warm embrace and a loving kiss from my attractive wife.  The LORD is very gracious and loving to allow us to enjoy His creation in these ways. However, these things are not meant to drive us to pleasure for pleasure sake, but instead to the Creator of those things. They’re merely avenues, not the destination. The things that lead to our experience of pleasure and pleasure itself are meant to lead us to God.  God is ultimate and in His presence is the epitome of joy and pleasure. David writes in Psalm 16:11:

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

The reason why we don’t go to God for joy and pleasure is because we don’t perceive Him as the incomparable majestic holy being that He is. Therefore, we really don’t know Him as we should. We have other loves. We have other loves of infinitely lesser value. We have a greater affection for our other loves.  We simply desire God too little.

So what do we do?

We need greater affection for God. I believe this comes by studying and meditating on Him as revealed in the Scriptures. I believe right theology leads to passionate doxology. We need a greater sense of awe concerning God.  We first must understand who God is.

At the end of his pastoral ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church, John Piper preached a series titled “Thirty Year Theological Trademarks” and it was transcribed into an e-book titled Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks for a Lifetime.  Unsurprisingly and necessarily, Piper’s foundation was the nature and character of God.  Before we can live as God intended, we must first know God. He is the objective starting point for everything.  In the first chapter, God Is, Piper unpacked just that – who God is.  Piper’s desire for the listener / reader was to ponder how God revealed Himself to Moses as I AM and His eternal nature. Piper writes –

1. God’s absolute being means he never had a beginning. This staggers the mind. Every child asks, “Who made God?” And every wise parent says, “Nobody made God. God simply is. And always was. No beginning.”

2. God’s absolute being means God will never end. If he did not come into being, he cannot go out of being because he is being. He is what is. There is no place to go outside of being. There is only he. Before he creates, that’s all that is: God.

3. God’s absolute being means God is absolute reality. There is no reality before him. There is no reality outside of him unless he wills it and makes it. He is not one of many realities before he creates. He is simply there as absolute reality. He is all that was eternally. No space, no universe, no emptiness. Only God. Absolutely there. Absolutely all.

4. God’s absolute being means that God is utterly independent. He depends on nothing to bring him into being or support him or counsel him or make him what he is. That is what the words “absolute being” mean.

5. God’s absolute being means rather that everything that is not God depends totally on God. All that is not God is secondary, and dependent. The entire universe is utterly secondary. Not primary. It came into being by God and stays in being moment by moment on God’s decision to keep it in being.

6. God’s absolute being means all the universe is by comparison to God as nothing. Contingent, dependent reality is to absolute, independent reality as a shadow to substance. As an echo to a thunderclap. As a bubble to the ocean. All that we see, all that we are amazed by in the world and in the galaxies, is, compared to God, as nothing. “All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness” (Isaiah 40:17).

7. God’s absolute being means that God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot be improved. He is not becoming anything. He is who he is. There is no development in God. No progress. Absolute perfection cannot be improved.

8. God’s absolute being means that he is the absolute standard of truth and goodness and beauty. There is no law-book to which he looks to know what is right. No almanac to establish facts. No guild to determine what is excellent or beautiful. He himself is the standard of what is right, what is true, what is beautiful.

9. God’s absolute being means God does whatever he pleases and it is always right and always beautiful and always in accord with truth. There are no constraints on him from outside him that could hinder him in doing anything he pleases. All reality that is outside of him he created and designed and governs as the absolute reality. So he is utterly free from any constraints that don’t originate from the counsel of his own will.

10. God’s absolute being means that he is the most important and most valuable reality and the most important and most valuable person in the universe. He is more worthy of interest and attention and admiration and enjoyment than all other realities, including the entire universe.

Meditate on these ten realities. They are profound and they are biblical. These reasons, and there are infinitely more, ought to cause us to consider how great God is. There is no one or nothing more truthful and exhilarating than God!

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

(Psalm 63:1-8 ESV)

Grace & Peace,

d.

 

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die |reason 4|

To Achieve His Own Resurrection From The Dead

Key TextsHebrews 13:20-21

The fourth reason Piper mentions why Jesus came to die was to achieve his own resurrection from the dead.

Jesus’s death accomplished His resurrection. Does that sound strange?  This rings of antinomy, yet there is a beautiful harmony in it.  However, to fully understand and appreciate the significance of this, we have to consider the nature of God, the Law and its demands.  God is the essence of all that is holy and perfect.  Consider the wisdom of Elihu’s words when he was counseling Job in Job 37.

 “Hear this, O Job;
    stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
15 Do you know how God lays his command upon them
    and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
16 Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
    the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,…

Notice Elihu’s words at the end of verse 16. He calls God perfect. Now let’s consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 5.

48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

There shouldn’t be any question about the perfection of God. So since God is perfect, all that He does and says is perfect. His works and His words are a reflection of His nature. There is no incongruity with God.  Psalm 19:7 declares:

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple,…

The law of the Lord is perfect. This reference of the law is the Law given to Israel through Moses, the Torah (Genesis – Deuteronomy). In these revelatory teachings, God discloses Himself to His covenant people and how they were supposed to live as His witnesses in the world.  God’s purpose was to display His glory through His people as they lived according to His word.  There were rewards for obedience to God’s Law and there were consequences for disobedience to God’s Law (Deuteronomy 28).  To put it simply, the rewards for obedience were life and prosperity (not in ways we think of today) and the consequence for disobedience were being forsaken and death.

The Law rewarded life and prosperity for those who would perfectly obey it and it demanded death for those who violated it (Romans 6:23). The penalty of disobedience was severe because of the One it ultimately violates. Remember, God’s word (law) is a reflection of Himself. So to not do what God commands or to do what is prohibited is to sin against God himself and to defame Him.

What’s significant about Jesus is that He met all of the demands of the Law.  This is why He came to earth. He said in Matthew 5:17:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

(1) He perfectly obeyed the Law (positive satisfaction)

(2) He died as if He’d broken the Law (negative satisfaction)

In His living and dying, the Law of  God has been forever fulfilled never needing to be accomplished again. God is satisfied forever with the work of Christ. This is why reconciliation and favor with God is predicated on faith alone in Christ alone.

In matters of Christ’s death accomplishing His resurrection, Christ’s substitutionary death accomplished the penal requirement of God satisfying His wrath. Therefore, God raised Him from the dead vindicating His righteousness.  Christ died that He would be raised to display the full measure of the glory of  God!

Next Reason: Jesus came to die to show the wealth of God’s love and grace for sinners.

Grace &  Peace,

d.

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die |reason 3|

To Learn Obedience and Be Perfected

Key Texts – Hebrews 2:10; 5:8

The third reason Piper mentions why Jesus came to die was to learn obedience and be perfected. At first glance this might sound a bit strange if you’re familiar with the fundamental doctrines of Christ. For the Scriptures declare that He never sinned and He is the Perfect Sacrifice for mankind. So how can we make sense of what it means for Christ to learn obedience and be perfect? Piper defines these issues in the negative, telling us what they don’t mean, and in the positive, telling us what they do mean.

Piper said learning obedience doesn’t mean that Christ had to learn to stop disobeying. For if Christ ever disobeyed the Father, He would not be our Perfect Sacrifice and He would be just like the rest of us – rebels. Piper goes on to say that Christ wasn’t getting rid of defects when the Scriptures say He was being made perfect through suffering. Rather, Christ was fulfilling all righteousness so that He could stand in our stead before the Father. Though Christ is by nature righteous because of His deity, as a man He practically fulfilled the Law, which we failed to do. There had to be a human to fulfill the Law of God for man to be accepted by God. Man must be seen as righteous before the Father. This is what Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Jesus even spoke of His purpose to fulfill the Law in Matthew 5:17 and Luke 24:44

As a man, Jesus did what Adam failed to do – obey God. Adam brought condemnation into the world and Christ brought redemption. (Romans 5:12-21) Jesus is the Last Adam.

As a Son, Jesus did what Israel failed to do – obey God. Israel failed to be a light to the nations as God’s son, but Christ, the Son of God, is the light of the world. (Hosea 11:1-4, Matthew 3:17, John 8:12) Jesus is the True Israel.

This is all leading up to what Piper said at the end of the chapter: If the Son of God had gone from incarna­tion to the cross without a life of temptation and pain to test his righteousness and his love, he would not be a suitable Savior for fallen man” (25).

Christ learned obedience and was perfected to propitiate the Father’s wrath and make us acceptable before Him. What love is this?!?

Grace & Peace,

d.

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die |reason 2|

To Please His Heavenly Father

Key Texts – Isaiah 53:10, Ephesians 5:2

The second reason Piper mentions why Jesus came to die was to please His heavenly Father. Some might ask how can the death of the Beloved Son in whom the Father was well pleased (Matt. 3:16-17) be pleasing to the Father? Shouldn’t the Father take delight in Christ’s obedience to His will like parents delight when their children obey their loving statutes? This should raise the question – Was it the Father’s will for His Son to die? Did the Father sovereignly purpose the death of His Son? The answer is a resounding yes! One of the key texts tells us:

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;…

(Isaiah 53:10a, ESV)

But why did the Father purpose to crush His only Son and take delight in His death? I would argue that it wasn’t merely the death of Christ that pleased the Father, but rather it’s what His death accomplished. Some of those accomplishments are: the satisfaction of God’s wrath for our sin, forgiveness of sin, reconciliation to God, worship of God, the witness of the church, the proclamation of the gospel, missions, restored relationships, repentance of sin, peacemaking, etc. As great as all of that is, the main reason why the Father was pleased with the death of His Son was because it was a means of displaying God’s glory to the seen and unseen realms.

Jesus’ death was the means by which the love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, justice, righteousness, sovereignty and holiness of God could be seen in a very unique way at the same time – at the cross. Ponder that. Though believers are the beneficiaries of God’s grace, the ultimate reason for the Father crushing the Son was to bring glory to Himself, but He is no egoist! Jesus willfully and obediently offered His life as a substitutionary sacrifice to save sinners for the glory of God. Jesus delighted in bringing glory to the Father.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

(John 4:34)

And this is why it pleased the Father to crush His Son.

It is only through that lens that we can understand how Christ’s life was a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2b cf Exodus 30:1-10).

For a further treatment on Jesus’ death being pleasing to God, read The Pleasure of God in Bruising the Son in The Pleasures of God, also by John Piper.

Next Reason: Jesus came to die to learn obedience and be perfected.

Grace & Peace,

d.

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die |reason 1|

To Absorb the Wrath of God

Key TextsGalatians 3:13, Romans 3:25 and 1 John 4:10

Piper strategically starts off the book stating this reason – Jesus came to die to absorb God’s wrath.  This is no small thing and is loaded with several important implications.  The implications are  (1) God is holy and righteous (2) He has been offended (sinned against) (3) God is just and therefore He must judge offenses (4) He is loving, gracious and merciful to send Jesus to absorb His wrath (5) Christ loved the Father and sacrificed His own life as a guilt offering, though He is sinless (6) God’s wrath is satisfied by the death of His Beloved Son.

These 6 implications provide a shell of the gospel, but also much more than that.  These 6 implications help us to see something about the three parties involved  – God the Father, man, and God the Son – Jesus Christ.  Two things we see about God are He is wrathful and He is loving. We see man is a sinner. We see Christ is loving, perfect, and God’s ordained Sacrifice for sin.

It seems reasonable for Piper to begin here because the world’s biggest problem is sin.  It is imperative that we know that we are naturally rebellious to God and worthy of His eternal wrath.  Yes, God is full of wrath.  Piper makes mention that sin is no light thing and it is not light because of whom we sin against – Sovereign God.  Sin is great because God is great.  One of the terrible tragedies of sin is that it blinds us to the perfections of God and the beauty of Christ.  We are all born with sin-stained views of God and of ourselves. The stain of sin hides the true essence of God from us and blinds us to our own sin.  Sin is exceedingly sinful.

However, God is also love and in love He sent His Son to rescue rebels from His wrath. God poured out His just wrath against sin on His Son, the Sinless One.  This is the meaning of John 3:16 and Romans 5:8.   He sent His one and only Son to soak up His wrath for the sins we commit.  God pouring out His wrath on Christ exhibits His justice (sin must be dealt with) and His gracious and merciful love (He sent Christ to stand in our place to absorb His wrath) toward those who place their faith in Christ.  Those who admit their rebellion (sin) and accept God’s provision of righteousness (Jesus Christ) by faith, their unrighteousness is atoned for in Christ’s death and Christ’s righteousness is imputed or credited to that person. It’s the great exchange! (See 2 Corinthians 5:21)

But we cannot fail to mention one important issue. Behind every act that God does is a reason.  That reason is to glorify Himself. In sending Christ, the Father is drawing attention to many of His excellencies – His justice, His holiness, His righteousness, His patience, His love, His mercy, and His grace.  Though believers are the beneficiaries of salvation, the chief end of salvation is the glory of God! (See Romans 11:36)

Next Reason:  Jesus came to die to please His heavenly Father.

Grace & Peace,

d.

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die |intro|

Last night, my wife and I started going through John Piper’s Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die.  The main reason why I thought this book was worth reading, thinking about and discussing is that it focuses on the implications of the gospel.  When we hear the word “gospel” we probably tend to think of the good news that God has graciously, mercifully and lovingly reconciled sinners to Himself through Jesus Christ sparing us from His eternal wrath. We are right to think and rejoice over these truths. However, there is much more to the death of Christ than our justification. In other words, there is more to our salvation than our positional standing before God. There are practical results that flow from the Cross of Christ that are meant to be demonstrated in the life of each believer. In other words, the gospel is not only the power for salvation, but also for sanctification.  There is much more involved in the death of Christ than we often think of and Piper’s desire is to help us grasp that in these 2-3 page chapters. In his own words, Piper said,

“I have gathered from the New Testament fifty reasons why Jesus came to die. Not fifty causes, but fifty purposes. Infinitely more important than who killed Jesus is the question: What did God achieve for sinners like us in sending his Son to die?” (17).

That last sentence is the focus of the book.

I also think this book is fitting to read considering that the holiday season is near, which always poses the temptation to get us caught up into its commercialization and materialism traps.  It’s battle reading.  It’s also reading designed to increase our affections for our Savior as we consider the bounty of His work.

My aim is to provide thoughts about each chapter as they’re read.

Desiring God currently offers this book as a free downloadable PDFFree Book

Grace & Peace,

d.