Saturday, March 31, 2007

God is the Gospel -- Chapter 11

  • The best news of the Christian gospel is that the supremely glorious
    Creator of the universe has acted in Jesus Christ’s death
    and resurrection to remove every obstacle between us and himself
    so that we may find everlasting joy in seeing and savoring his infinite
    beauty.
  • Beholding the beauty of God has always been the supreme desire of those who
    know him best.
  • We love the praise of man. It feels good. Praise is to the ego what
    sex is to the body. It just doesn’t get any better—as long as we are
    spiritually dead.
  • If God can be seen as the enabler of their self-exaltation,
    they will be happy to do some God-exaltation. If God is mancentered,
    they are willing to be, in a sense, God-centered.
  • whole systems of imitation Christianity can be built on distorted images of the love of God and the gospel of God. Jonathan Edwards learned this to his own
    heartache as he studied the permutations of hypocrisy in the fallout
    of the Great Awakening.
  • So it is possible even to see God as “in a sort, lovely” when we are
    not even genuine Christians. If he can be seen as a servant of our selflove,
    then we can see him as lovely. If he will make much of us, then
    we will be willing, up to a point, to make much of him.
  • Conversion is the spiritualdiscovery that being loved by God is not the divine endorsement of our passion for self-exaltation. In fact, being loved by God is the
    merciful destruction of that passion. And the destruction is not an
    end in itself. It is to make room for the supernatural experience of
    truly being loved by God—that is, being enabled by him to enjoy
    God-exaltation as an end in itself. Spiritual God-exaltation is not a
    means to the pleasure of self-exaltation.
  • heaven is a world in which all created things have become mirrors, and all of them are tilted to a 45 degree angle. Everywhere we look—in every creature—we see
    the reflection of God.
  • First, in letting Lazarus die in order to raise him from the dead
    his aim is to show the glory of God the Father and God the Son.
    Second, in this costly revelation of his glory he would be loving this
    family. From this I conclude that the primary way that Jesus loved
    this family was by doing what he must do to display to them in a
    compelling way his own glory.
  • Love is doing whatever you need to do to help people see
    and savor the glory of God in Christ forever and ever.
  • Jesus is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the highest virtue and the most loving act. He is God. Therefore the best gift he can give is the revelation
    of himself.
  • The love of Jesus drives him to pray for us, and then die for us, not that our
    value may be central, but that his glory may be central, and so that
    we may see it and savor it for all eternity. This is the greatest good
    in the good news of the gospel.
  • Do we feel loved by God because God makes much of us or because God, at great cost to himself, did all that needed to be done through Jesus Christ so that we
    might enjoy making much of him forever? It is a telling question.
  • A finite mind cannot fully know an infinite mind. Our finite capacities for pleasure cannot fully know all the joy there is to be had in an infinite fountain.
  • Consider some attributes of Christ that we might pursue,
    and ask these questions:
    • Do I want to be strong like Christ, so I will be admired as
    strong, or so that I can defeat every adversary that would
    entice me to settle for any pleasure less than admiring the
    strongest person in the universe, Christ?
    • Do I want to be wise like Christ, so I will be admired as wise
    and intelligent, or so that I can discern and admire the One
    who is most truly wise?
    • Do I want to be holy like Christ, so that I can be admired as
    holy, or so that I can be free from all unholy inhibitions that
    keep me from seeing and savoring the holiness of Christ?
    • Do I want to be loving like Christ, so that I will be admired as
    a loving person, or so that I will enjoy extending to others,
    even in sufferings, the all-satisfying love of Christ?
  • The question is not whether we will have all this glorious likeness
    to Christ. We will. The question is: To what end?
  • God is glorified in us when we are satisfied in him. Externally, Christ-exalting deeds flow from this enjoyment of Christ.

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