Monday, March 19, 2007

God is the Gospel -- Chapter 9

  • all the gifts of God are given for the sake of revealing
    more of God’s glory, so that the proper use of them is to rest our
    affections not on them but through them on God alone.
  • The spotless lamb, Jesus Christ, who was slain for our sins, was foreknown before the foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1:20). Because of this, God gave us grace
    in Christ before the ages began (2 Tim. 1:9). Therefore, Paul says,
    “God predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:5).
    This predestination was God’s purpose to adopt us and make us
    holy and blameless before him in love.
  • The glory of grace is the glory of God acting graciously.
  • The ultimate aim of the incarnation was that through Christ people would see the
    Lordship of Christ and the glory of God. The whole story of Christ’s
    incarnate life and death and resurrection was the brightest beam of
    glory that has ever shone down from the brightness of God.
  • The focus of reconciliation is that we now may enjoy the presence of God without
  • Whether one thinks of the work of Christ as accomplishing reconciliation
    or propitiation or penal satisfaction or redemption or justification
    or forgiveness of sins or liberation, the aim of them all is
    summed up in the ultimate gift of God himself.
  • There is no sure evidence that we have a new heart just because we want to escape hell. That’s a perfectly natural desire, not a supernatural one. It doesn’t take a new heart to
    want the psychological relief of forgiveness, or the removal of God’s
    wrath, or the inheritance of God’s world. All these things are understandable
    without any spiritual change. You don’t need to be born
    again to want these things.
  • It is not wrong to want them. Indeed it is folly not to. But the evidence
    that we have been changed is that we want these things
    because they bring us to the enjoyment of God.
  • The gospel of Christ is the good news that at the cost of his Son’s
    life, God has done everything necessary to enthrall us with what will
    make us eternally and ever-increasingly happy—namely, himself.
  • There is an ironclad connection between Christ’s victory over death and our victory
    over death. “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead
    dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give
    life to your mortal bodies” (Rom. 8:11). “God raised the Lord and
    will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor. 6:14; cf. 2 Cor. 4:14).
  • “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). Notice the
    present tense. We have, not just will have, eternal life. This is real and
    precious and permanent. “I give them eternal life, and they will never
    perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
  • The gospel has unleashed the omnipotent mercy of God so that thousands of other gifts flow to us from the gospel heart of God. I am thinking of a text like Romans 8:32: “He
    who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will
    he not also with him graciously give us all things?” This means that
    the heart of the gospel—God’s not sparing his own Son—is the guarantee
    that “all things” will be given to us.
  • God takes “all things” and makes them serve our ultimate good. It doesn’t mean we get everything our imperfect hearts want. It means we get what’s good for us.
  • The gospel gift of God’s love is better than life.
  • I take him (Paul) to mean that because of the truths
    of Romans 8:28 and 8:32 God takes every hardship and makes it
    serve us, including death.
  • This is all very strange. Because of the gospel, God promises to “give
    us all things” with Christ (Rom. 8:32). The “all things” turns out to
    include not just pleasant things but terrible things like tribulation, distress,
    persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, and death.
    These are all gospel gifts purchased for us by the blood of Christ.
  • The aim of the gospel is not an easy life. It is deeper knowledge of God
    and deeper trust in God.
  • This goal is not our ease or wealth or safety in this age, but our dependence on Christ and our delight in his glory.
  • Faith is not saving faith if it tries to trust Christ for the wrong things. So this makes
    clear that trust per se, without reference to what we trust him for, is
    not the essence of a saving relationship to Christ. Something else
    must be present in faith if it is to be saving faith that honors Christ
    rather than just using him. Saving faith must have a quality to it that
    tastes what is Christ-exalting and embraces it.

No comments: