Saturday, January 14, 2012

Passion 2012, Session 7

On the first night of Passion 2012, Louie said two shocking things about our Christian lives. He said:
1.) Before you trusted in Christ, you were not just "unchurched", your were dead. You didn't need to be "churched", you needed to be raised from the dead.
2.) Some of you made a decision for Jesus when you were little, signed a card, walked an isle, and the enemy is still on track with you to kill and destroy you. Your funeral may still be in motion!

There are a lot of "converts" who aren't Christian, with no saving faith. So the question is: What then IS saving faith?

John Piper says that faith is "Seeing and savoring the supremacy of Jesus Christ, which frees you from the slavery of sin for the sacrifices of love." Basically saying (and this is my take here) that when we see God as He really is and what He did for us through Jesus, we will consider Him infinitely valuable and will be drawn to Him. We will want to follow Him and will have no doubts that we can trust Him in all that He is for us and with all that He has for us, and we will put God's infinite value on display for everyone else to see as well.

Faith is a gift of true sight. Now think about the word gift. Doesn't that wreck the idea of free will?

Yes, it does. Consider it wrecked.

We tend to get our ideas of free will from a guy named Paladius, from way back in the day. Paladius did not believe in the doctrine of original sin (the idea that we are all born with a sinful nature because of the curse of Adam and Eve and, therefore, are dead and blind to the goodness of God). For Paladius, freedom is like the pendulum on a metronome...one side is sin, the devil and unbelief, the other side is good, God, and faith. For Paladius, freedom is being poised right in the middle, between good and evil. Obtaining within yourself the ability to choose which way you go.

No matter how great and equal it sounds to us, this is not what the Bible says that freedom is. The Bible tells us that we were all born with original sin. We were all born hating God, loving ourselves and exalting our sins and pride. We wanted nothing to do with God or His salvation, because we didn't believe that we needed it. We were spiritually dead and needed to be raised through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

Since we were born with original sin, we were locked down on the negative, satanic side of the pendulum and here's the thing, God doesn't raise us from the dead to be poised in the middle of that pendulum and give us the ability to make a decision whether to be godly or satanic. It wouldn't be a true awakening that way, because if we see God for who He truly is, we see Him as infinitely valuable; and if we see Him as infinitely valuable, then how could we ever choose to go back to that sin? How could we want to go back to death and hopelessness?

See, I had never taken into account the doctrine of original sin before, which basically changes the entire playing field of how we come to understand free will.

Freedom is being so in love with Christ that we do exactly what we want and it accords with His will. The more satisfied in Jesus, the more free you are.

So the question is: What would we see if we saw God in the way that He truly is? We would see His supremacy.

  • Supremacy of his Deity equal with God the Father, exact imprint of his nature, infinite, boundless in all ways.
  • Supremacy of his eternality: makes the mind of man explode with unsearchable thought, Jesus never had a beginning, he simply always was, sheer absolute reality.
  • Supremacy of his knowledge: it makes all libraries look like matchboxes, and makes all the Internet information look like a Farmer's almanac, it makes quantum physics look like a first grade reader.
  • Supremacy of his wisdom: never been perplexed by any complication, never been counseled.
  • Supremacy of his authority: over heaven and earth and hell...without his permission, no demon can move one inch...he changes times and season, he does all according to his will...no one can challenge him.
  • Supremacy of his providence: without him, nothing happens without being part of his design.
  • Supremacy of his word: it upholds the universe, holds together every being, atom and molecule and everything we haven't even yet dreamed of discovering.
  • Supremacy of his power: to walk on water, cleanse lepers, heal the lame, open the eyes of the blind, cause the deaf to hear, cause the dead to rise with a single word or a single thought.
  • Supremacy of his purity: he has never and will never sin...not even a bad attitude or thought.
  • Supremacy of his trustworthiness: he never breaks his word...not one promise falls to the ground.
  • Supremacy of his justice: he will render in due time, all of our accounts settled, either on the cross or in hell.
  • Supremacy of his patience: to endure our dullness and hold back his final judgement on this land.
  • Supremacy of his sovereign, servant obedience: he kept the Father's commandments perfectly and then embraced the excruciating pain of the cross willingly.
  • Supremacy of his meekness: his tenderness, he won't break or bruise
  • Supremacy of his wrath: one day, his wrath will explode on this planet with such fierceness that people will cry out for rocks and mountains to fall on them and crush them lest they have to see the wrath of the Lamb.
  • Supremacy of his grace: gives life to the spiritually dead, awakens faith in hell-bound haters of God, justifies the ungodly with his own righteousness.
  • Supremacy of his love: he willingly dies for you and me...sinners, while we were against him.
  • Supremacy of his inexhaustible gladness: in the fellowship with the trinity...infinite power and gladness that has always existed. At the heart of the universe, is the gladness of the trinity...a joy so great that it had to be shared and so it explodes into existence a universe so that everything could bear witness to its creator.
The crazy thing is that if God granted you eyes to see this supremacy, you would only see the outskirts of all that He is!

The really great thing about this is that when we see God as infinitely valuable, we will see sin and temptation as the stupid, little, suicidal monster it really is and be progressively free from it. Little souls give lusts big power. Big hearts give little lusts little power, because they look little. When you see the magnitude of your treasure, your heart swells to wrap itself around it.

So the root of your salvation (seeing God for who He is for us in Jesus) glorifies God privately and the fruit of salvation (proclaiming God and living for Him) glorifies Him publicly.

Those of us who have been freed from sin have a duty to help other people see the freedom that comes through Christ in the way that we should live our lives to glorify and magnify God.

Okay wow, John Piper is probably the most difficult person to condense into a blog post, but there it is. Hopefully I can get my head around all of it sometime in the near future. And I don't know about you, but I'm going to try to be more conscious of what my life looks like, whether it's reflecting what I believe about God or not.

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