God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love As the Gift of Himself
Every now and then, a book comes along that will dramatically enrich your life. This was one of those books for me.
When Piper says that God is the gospel, what he means is that Ã¢ÂÂthe highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gift would be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoymentÃ¢ÂÂ (p. 13). In other words, the point of the gospel is not just that weÃ¢ÂÂre justified, but that justification allows us to be restored to fellowship with God! That the gift of justification (or redemption or imputation or expiation etc.) is ultimately the gift of being enabled to fellowship with God himself who is the giver of all gifts and without whom no gift would be good.
Piper exposes the man-centredness of a gospel which exists to elevate man; which brings joy in the gifts of the gospel while paying little attention to the gift of the gospelÃ¢ÂÂGod. Ã¢ÂÂWe are willing to be God-centred, it seems, as long as God is man-centredÃ¢ÂÂ (pp. 12, 13).
First, this book glows with God-centred, gospel-saturated, joy-filled theology. ItÃ¢ÂÂs not shallow or sappy. It is rich and deep; theological and accessible; practical and devotional.
Second, if youÃ¢ÂÂre not familiar with PiperÃ¢ÂÂs theology and writing, this is probably an ideal introduction to his ideas. Though Desiring God is probably his defining work, it is fairly long and heavy. This book is quite accessible to the average layperson and will, I feel, give the reader a fairly good idea of what Piper believes. Chapter eleven could be viewed as a brief primer on Christian hedonism.
Third, this book helped me see clearly that the gospel is not the end, but rather the means to the end of glorifying God. It therefore helped me to understand more clearly how God and his gospel relate to each other and how to avoid preaching ChristÃ¢ÂÂs gospel without preaching the Christ of the gospel.
Fourth, Piper exposes the hypocrisy of those who preach that the cross proves the value of man. He quotes Jonathan Edwards: Ã¢ÂÂThey are pleased in the highest degree, in hearing how much God and Christ make of them. So that their joy is really a joy in themselves, and not in GodÃ¢ÂÂ (p. 137). Piper rebuts this Hillsong-style gospel decisively.
I could give a dozen moreÃ¢ÂÂ¦
Honestly, I have few concerns with this book at all, hence the five star rating. However, IÃ¢ÂÂll point out a few minor things that raised questions for me.
First, there seems to be some confusion on p. 155 surrounding manÃ¢ÂÂs creation in the image of God and the effect of the curse on that image. Piper seems to suggest that our growth into the image of Christ in sanctification is directly related to our creation in the image of God in Genesis 1. This seems to me to confuse two separate issues.
Second, Piper suggests in reference to 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 that Ã¢ÂÂThe glory of God shone in the historical, bodily face of JesusÃ¢ÂÂ (p. 70). I tend to think the term Ã¢ÂÂfaceÃ¢ÂÂ here is synecdoche.
IÃ¢ÂÂd be hard pressed to find even a minor third down. Those who know me well recognise this as little short of miraculous as I tend to be a very critical reader. But Piper is precise and he has laid out his words carefully.
After reading the introduction to this book, I scribbled the following: Ã¢ÂÂBreath-taking! Sweet water to a thirsty soul. Amen! Amen! AmenÃ¢ÂÂ¦ AmenÃ¢ÂÂ¦ Amen.Ã¢ÂÂ
I read this book with tears of delight. I hope you will do the same.
February 6, 2012
This book will bring us back to understand that Jesus Christ Himself is the gift of the Gospel.
September 11, 2009
God IS the Gospel! This is an awesome book exulting the glories of God in Jesus the Lord! To any true Christian, this book is an awesome read. However, to the tares among the wheat, the goats among the sheep, it should be a warning: IS GOD YOUR HIGHEST DELIGHT?
December 26, 2007
Count your blessings, name them one by one, but often we end up gloating over all those blessings and gifts. In God is the Gospel, John Piper calls us to move past those blessings and make God Himself the foundation of our gladness, to become besotted with the glory of God in the face of Christ. Consider this pertinent question asked by Piper: have we shifted with the world from Gods love in the gift of Himself, to Gods love as the gift of a mirror in which we like what we see? God is the Gospel is formatted into a series of meditations which lead deeper and deeper into the subject. Consider the Gospel, what it means, how it is absorbed. Take time to really look at God, at the glory of Christ who is the image of God. Contemplate on the Holy Spirit. Look deeply into evangelism and missions and the gladness of God. Take time for Christ-exalting contrition. Accept God as He presents Himself, whether in pain or joy. Then, after reflecting on all this, be ready to sacrifice and sing. Baptist pastor and noted author, John Pipers carefully considered, Bible-based, lucid, engrossing style aims his audience at God. God is the Gospel is a book you may find hard to lay down. It forces you to your own meditations as you discover each facet. Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com
January 13, 2006