John Piper recently spoke at a meeting of the American Association of Christian Counselors in Nashville, TN. Much of his speech centered on material available in his thought provoking book “Desiring God.” The section below is an excerpt from his speech and was a good word for me to hear today. I have underlined the crucial last sentence for your reflection. Read carefully.
“Here is the devastating warning from Jonathan Edwards 250 years ago:
True saints have their minds, in the first place,
inexpressibly pleased and delighted with the sweet ideas of the
glorious and amiable nature of the things of God. And this is the
spring of all their delights, and the cream of all their pleasures. . .
. But the dependence of the affections of hypocrites is in a contrary
order: they first rejoice . . . that they are made so much of by God; and then on that ground, he seems in a sort, lovely to them.2
This is my concern. Do we make clear to people over and over again that
yes, they should feel loved because Christ died for them; and yes, they
should feel loved because they are undeserving and he loves them
anyway; and yes, they should feel loved because their sins are forgiven
and God’s wrath is removed through Christ; but to what end? Died for
while undeserving. Forgiven. Wrath removed. But to what end?
And just at this point, I wonder if many of our people are left
thinking that what it means to be loved by God simply that he affirms
their desire to be made much of. “Christ died for me to make much of
me. He rescued me while undeserving to make much of me. He forgave me
to make much of me. He removed his wrath to make much of me.” Oh how
gloriously good this feels! What a precious gospel! And it’s all merely
natural. There’s nothing supernatural about it. It looks like recovery
and healing! It works. But at root, it is not “to the praise of the
glory of his grace.” It’s all to the praise of the glory of his
affirmation of me.
So my second implication is that feeling loved by God means feeling
glad that God not only crushed his Son for me, but that he is now
crushing every vestige of desire in my life that competes with the
pleasure of the praise of the glory of his grace.“