Friday, February 19, 2010

Book Quote: Character of God

From Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris (pages 47-48):

I was in Austin, Texas, listening to John Piper preach at Louie Giglio's Passion conference in 1998....

Then Piper asked what the basic riddle of the universe really is. Is it the question, why is there suffering in the world? No, said Piper, not for the person with a biblical mind-set. The question for this God-centered person is, why is there any goodness for a sinner like me? How can God--a holy and righteous God--pass over the sins of man? Why doesn't he wipe us out?

I was ashamed to admit the question never kept me up at night. I had a small view of God's holiness and righteousness and an inflated view of my worth and value.

Piper continued to press the question, how can God be good and forgive sinners? He used the hypothetical illustration of a failed attempt by terrorists to destroy the White House and kill the president. If the terrorists are brought to trial and the judge forgives them, gives them a vacation, and sends them on their way, what will other nations assume about this judge? They'll think he is crazy or has been bought off. Or at least assume he has no respect for the law.

So it is with God's glory, Piper explained. If God passed over sin and brought no punishment, what else could we assume about his character except that he was less than perfect?

Then Piper pointed to the Cross. On Calvary, God displayed his justice and his love. He was glorified in the death of his Son...."Do you love the Cross because it makes much of you?" he asked. "Or do you love it because it enables you to enjoy an eternity of making much of God?"

I left Austin with an unsettling thought that has never left me. If I love the Cross only for what it does for me, I will have reduced it to a monument to myself. But the greatest glory of the Cross is what it tells me about God. A God of justice and mercy. A God who loved helpless sinners like me so much that he came to die so we could be free to know and worship him for eternity.

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