Tuesday, March 6, 2007

God is the Gospel -- Chapter 4

  • In other words, in the ministry of the gospel through
    Paul the eyes of the spiritually blind are opened, light dawns in the
    heart, the power of Satan’s darkness is broken, faith is awakened,
    forgiveness of sins is received, and sanctification begins.
  • God uses weak, afflicted clay pots to carry “the surpassing power”
    of “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.”
  • More than any part of the Bible that I know of, the connections
    between 2 Corinthians 4:4 and 6 shed light on the ultimate
    meaning of good in the term good news.
  • The gospel would not be good news if it did not reveal the glory of Christ for us to see and
    savor. It is the glory of Christ that finally satisfies our soul. We are
    made for Christ, and Christ died so that every obstacle would be
    removed that keeps us from seeing and savoring the most satisfying
    treasure in the universe—namely, Christ, who is the image of God.
  • Satan is not mainly interested in causing us misery. He is mainly interested in making
    Christ look bad. He hates Christ. And he hates the glory of Christ.
    He will do all he can to keep people from seeing Christ as glorious.
    The gospel is God’s instrument for liberating people from exulting
    in self to exulting in Christ. Therefore Satan hates the gospel.
  • Thus 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that Satan blinds people to keep them
    from seeing “the light of the gospel.” He has more than one way to
    do this. One way, of course, is to prevent the preaching of the gospel.
  • But in 2 Corinthians 4:4 the way Satan keeps people from seeing
    “the light of the gospel” is not by preventing preaching, but by preventing
    spiritual perception. The words of the gospel are heard. The
    facts are comprehended. But there is no “light.”
  • If you are blind, someone may persuade you that the sun is bright.
    But that persuasion is not what Paul is talking about. When your
    eyes are opened—that is, when God says, “Let there be light”—the
    persuasion is of a different kind.
  • But the point here is this: the glory of God in Christ, revealed through the gospel, is a
    real, objective light that must be spiritually seen in order for there
    to be salvation. If it is not seen—spiritually tasted as glorious and
    precious—Satan still has his way, and there is no salvation.
  • The glorious person who once walked the earth is now unseen.
    All his decisive acts are in the invisible past. We do not have any
    videos or recordings of Jesus Christ on earth. What we have linking
    us with Christ and with his cross and resurrection is the word of
    God, and its center, the gospel.
  • Therefore, when the gospel is preached in its fullness, and by
    God’s mighty grace Satan’s blinding power is overcome, and God
    says to the human soul, “Let there be light!” what the soul sees and
    savors in the gospel is “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.”
    That is the aim of gospel preaching.
  • So we must hold fast to two truths, not just one, even if they
    seem to be in tension. First, we must hold fast to the truth that the
    spiritual light Paul speaks about in verse 4 actually streams from the
    events of the gospel of Christ. The other truth is that God creates
    this light in the heart. It is not caused by human preaching. It is
    caused immediately by God.
  • The real, bodily face of Jesus matters. It signifies
    that he was a real human being and that he was a person
    revealed in real, historical, physical life.
  • His glory is the glory ofGod because Jesus Christ is God. The glory of the only Son—not the creature-sons, like us, but the divine Son—is the glory of the Father
    because they are of the same essence, the same divine Being.
  • There is a glory of the Father and a glory of the Son, but
    they are so united that if you see the one, you see the other. They
    do not have the same roles in the work of redemption, but the
    glory manifest in each of their roles shines from them both. No one
    knows the glory of the Son and is a stranger to the glory of the
    Father. And no one knows the glory of the Father and is a stranger
    to the glory of the Son.
  • Confessing Christ, the Son of God, results in God the Father’s coming to us and
    manifesting himself to us.
  • There is no possibility of knowing God or having a saving relationship
    with God without knowing and trusting the Son.
  • The gospel is the light of the glory of Christ who is the image of
    God. It is the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ. This is
    what makes the gospel good news. If the glory of God in Christ were
    not given to us in the gospel for our everlasting seeing and savoring,
    the gospel would not be good news.
  • Calvin says it with the kind of amazement it
    deserves: “They do not see the midday sun.”12 That is how plain
    the glory of God is in the gospel.

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