Sunday, March 18, 2007

God is the Gospel -- Chapter 8

  • One surprising way to see that God is the gospel is by penetrating
    into the soul of gospel-awakened contrition. Those who have
    dealt deeply with their own sin in relation to the gospel know the
    paradox that the good news of forgiveness awakens the pain of
    remorse as well as the joy of release.
  • Only an artificial joy does not pass through sorrow for sin on its way to the thrill of being
  • One of the reasons that many Christians seem to have no thrill
    at being forgiven through the gospel is that they have not been brokenhearted
    over their sin. They have not despaired. They have not
    wrestled with warranted self-loathing. They have not grieved over
    their sin because of its moral repugnance, but have grieved only
    because of guilt feelings and threats of hell.
  • God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.1 Which means that
    you never have to choose between your greatest joy and God’s greatest
  • If the great good of the gospel is savoring the glory
    of God in the gospel, how can it also produce sorrow? By asking
    this question we put our previous conclusions to the test. If we are
    on the right track about God and the gospel, the result should be
  • True sorrow over sin is shown by the gospel to be what it really is—the result
    of failing to savor “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”
    (2 Cor. 4:6).
  • The sweetness of seeing God in the gospel is a prerequisite for godly sorrow
    for so long scorning that sweetness.
  • One of the reasons for dealing in this chapter with the nature and
    foundation of Christian contrition is that it enables me to caution
    against triumphalism. I am aware that when I use the language of
    prizing and treasuring and delighting and cherishing and being satisfied
    by the glory of God in the face of Christ, it could sound to
    some as if all brokenness and suffering and pain and sorrow have
    been left behind. That is not true.
  • The Christian never gets beyond the battle with indwelling sin.10 Life is not all joy above sorrow; life is a battle for joy in the midst of sorrow.11 The banner that flies
    over my life and over this book is Paul’s paradoxical maxim in
    2 Corinthians 6:10, “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”
  • In fact, God is so intentional about revealing the glory of the crucified
    Christ in the gospel, and producing Christians who are conformed
    to Christ’s self-emptying love (2 Cor. 3:18), that not only
    does he make the cross the central revelation of his glory in this age,
    but he also leaves Satan in the world to magnify the power and wisdom
    and beauty of meekness.
  • Have you ever wondered why God does not simply snuff Satan
    and his demons out of existence now?14 It is strange that God, with
    total sovereign rights over Satan, his archenemy, would allow him
    to do so much harm. God has the right and power to throw him into
    the lake of fire. God will one day do away with Satan altogether
    (Rev. 20:3, 10). That will be no injustice to Satan. Nor would it be
    unjust for God to do it today. So why doesn’t he, in view of how
    much misery Satan causes?
  • Why then does God tolerate Satan? We find the key in remembering
    that Satan hates the gospel. “The god of this world [Satan]
    has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing
    the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4). This is a
    clue to why God gives Satan so much leash. God’s aim is to magnify
    the glory of Christ through the gospel.
  • If Christ obliterated all demons now (which he could do), his sheer power would be seen as
    glorious, but his superior beauty and worth would not shine so
    brightly as when God’s people renounce the promises of Satan, trust
    in Christ’s blood and righteousness, and take pleasure in the greater
    glory of Jesus revealed in the gospel.
  • So let us preach and live the gospel so as to display Christ. Let
    us take up arms and defeat the devil by being bold and glad in the
    superior glory of the Son of God! I do not say it is easy. It is very
    costly. The path of love that leads from the cross of Christ to the
    glory of Christ is a road of sacrifice. Christ’s superior beauty over
    Satan and sin is seen best when we are willing to suffer for it. One
    of the greatest blows against the power of darkness comes from the
    blood of martyrs. “They have conquered him [Satan!] by the blood
    of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not
    their lives even unto death” (Rev. 12:11). This is the kind of life that
    grows from seeing God as the gospel.

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