Thursday, January 19, 2006

Book Review: God is the Gospel by John Piper

"The world needs nothing more than to see the worth of Christ in the work and words of his God-besotted people. This will come to pass when the church awakens to the truth that the saving love of God is the gift of himself, and that God himself is the gospel."

With these words, John Piper, noted author and pastor of The Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, ends his introduction to the book: God is the Gospel - Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself. Long a fan of Piper's writing it was with great anticipation that I began this brief (less than 200 pages), yet packed appeal to the believer to rediscover the true meaning of the Gospel. I was not disappointed.

While not long in length, is deep in theological truth so it is not a book to be read quickly. I read and re-read small sections at a time to get as much from it as possible.

Piper, as always is a theological jeweler, and no more so than here as he holds up the most precious gem of all the Gospel of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Piper first shows us the brilliance of this rarest of jewels and then focuses our attention upon each facet.

Soaked in Scripture, this book confronts the self-centered heart of modern believers and points them away from what the Gospel gives to them and points them once again to the Giver. Time and time again, Piper asks us do we love God for what He gives or because of who He is?

Not that Piper diminishes the tremendous blessings that are ours in Christ, but he reminds us that these must serve to bring us to God Himself or we have missed the gospel.

In successive chapters, Piper guides us through how each of the gifts of the gospel find there fullest expression in the Glory of Christ who is the image of the Father. Particularly good was the chapter on The Gift of God Himself Over and In all His Saving And Painful Gifts,
which contains a look at death (especially the section on John Owen) and suffering in light of God's ultimate purpose in revealing Himself to us.

In summing up his work Piper says this: "The point of this book is that the Christian Gospel is not merely that Jesus died and rose again; and not merely that these events appease God's wrath, forgive sin and justify sinners; and not merely that this redemption gets us out of hell and into heaven; but that they bring us to the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ as our supreme. all-satisfying and everlasting treasure. 'Christ...suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God' (1 Peter 3:18).

I highly recommend this book as an antidote to the "What has God done for me lately?" sickness that afflicts many 21st century Christians.

Note: I received this book in my role as reviewer for Mind and Media. This in no way influenced my review.

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