Stevie's Reviews > God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself

God Is the Gospel by John Piper
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's review
Apr 30, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: spiritual-kog
Recommended for: Lauren Petrick, Lynda Infante, Jordan Brooks, Tom Weiner
Read in April, 2009 , read count: 1

As usual, Piper hit a home run. I honestly prefer his preaching, but his writing is worthwhile also. I was challenged with the idea that God Himself is the ultimate end and ultimate good of the Gospel and nothing else.

Poignant Quotes:

And not one gospel blessing will be enjoyed by anyone for whom the gospel’s greatest gift was not the Lord himself.

When I say that God is the Gospel I mean that the highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gifts would be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoyment.

The gospel is the good news of our final and full enjoyment of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

The gospel is the good news that because God did not spare Christ, he will not spare any omnipotent effort to give us everything that is good for us.

They [the gifts, rewards, and miracles:] have come for one great reason: that you might behold forever the glory of God in Christ, and by beholding become the kind of person who delights in God above all things, and by delighting display his supreme beauty and worth with ever-increasing brightness and bliss forever.

God’s gifts are not the gospel…if God is treasured as the supremely valuable gift of the gospel, then all the other lesser gifts will be enjoyed as well.

Justification is not an end in itself. Neither is the forgiveness of sins or the imputation of righteousness. Neither is escape from hell or entrance into heaven or freedom from disease or liberation from bondage or eternal life or justice or mercy or the beauties of a pain-free world. None of these facets of the gospel-diamond is the chief good or highest goal of the gospel. Only one thing is: seeing and savoring God himself, being changed into the image of his Son so that more and more we delight in and display God’s infinite beauty and worth.

Forgiveness is simply a way to getting obstacles out of the way so that we can look at each other again with joy.

My point in this book is that all the saving events and all the saving blessings of the gospel are means of getting obstacles out of the way so that we might know and enjoy God most fully. Propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, imputation, sanctification, liberation, healing, heaven – none of these is good news except for one reason: they bring us to God for our everlasting enjoyment of him.

…in 2 Corinthians 4:4 the way Satan keeps people from seeing “the light of the gospel” is not by preventing preaching, but by preventing spiritual perception. The words of the gospel are heard. The facts are comprehended. But there is no “light.” What does this mean? It means that blinded persons consider the facts of the gospel but see no compelling spiritual beauty, no treasure, nothing supremely precious. They see facts.

If the glory of God in Christ were not given to us in the gospel for our everlasting seeing and savoring, the gospel would not be good news.

The greatest good in the gospel is the gift of seeing and savoring the glory of God in Christ forever.

In evangelism the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of sinners to see the glory of Christ who is faithfully preached in the gospel. If Christ is not preached and his glory not exalted, the Holy Spirit does not open our eyes, for there is no glorious Christ displayed for us to see. The Holy Spirit does not do his work apart from the gospel because his work is to open our eyes to see Christ displayed in the gospel, and until the gospel is preached Christ is not there to see.

One of the reasons that many Christians seem to have no thrill at being forgiven through the gospel is that they have not been brokenhearted over their sin.

What he [Jonathan Edwards:] is saying is that to bring people to the sorrow of repentance and contrition, you must bring them first to see the glory of God as their treasure and their delight.

If people are not awakened to the preciousness of God and the beauty of his glory in the face of Christ, the sorrow of their contrition will not be owing to their failure to cherish God and prize his glory.

The Christian never gets beyond the battle with indwelling sin. Life is not all joy above sorrow; life is a battle for joy in the midst of sorrow.

If Christ obliterated all demons now (which he could do), his sheer power would be seen as glorious, but his superior beauty and worth would not shine so brightly as when God’s people renounce the promises of Satan, trust in Christ’s blood and righteousness, and take pleasure in the greater glory of Jesus revealed in the gospel.

The truth I will try to unfold is that all the gifts of God are given for the sake of revealing more of God’s glory, so that the proper use of them is to rest our affections not on them but through them on God alone.

The gospel of Christ is the good news that at the cost of his Son’s life, God has done everything necessary to enthrall us with what will make us eternally and ever-increasingly happy – namely, himself.

How are they [tribulation, distress, etc:] benefits that are bought by the gospel? How are they part of the “all things” in Romans 8:32 and Philippians 4:13? The answer is that in the merciful sovereignty of Christ, empowered by his own blood, these suffering accomplish the greatest good of the gospel, a more pure and authentic and deeply satisfying seeing and savoring of God in Christ.

…the gospel is strange. Its goal is not my immediate ease. Its goal is my being so in love with Christ and so passionate about his glory that when my suffering can highlight his worth I will bear it “gladly.”

God wants you heart when you pray. God will not be a mere dispenser of gifts for those who have no delight in God himself.

…gratitude that is pleasing to God is not first a delight in the benefits God gives (though that will be a part of it). True gratitude must be rooted in something else that comes first – namely, a delight in the beauty and excellency of God’s character.

May he grant us to delight in him for who he is, so that all our gratitude for his gifts will be the echo of our joy in the excellency of the Giver!

Love gives us what is best for us, and what is best for us is knowing and enjoying God.

The highest act of love is giving of the best gift, and if necessary, at the greatest cost, to the least deserving. This is what God did. At the cost of his Son’s life, to the totally undeserving, God gave the best gift – the display of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.

The danger of eating is that we fall in love with the gift; the danger of fasting is that we belittle the gift and glory in our will-power.

…God himself is the ultimate good promised in the gospel. If we do not see and savor that greatest good above all others and in all others, we do not yet know why the good news is truly good.

“God himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption.” – Jonathan Edwards

Beholding the beauty of God has always been the supreme desire of those who know him best (Psalm 27:4).

Christian conversion is the spiritual awakening of our souls to the glory of God as the ground of our joy.

Love is doing whatever you need to do to help people see and savor the glory of God in Christ forever and ever.

We must have his character and likeness in order to know him and see him and love him and admire him the way we ought.

We become like him…mainly to have a nature that is fully able to be in awe of him as the one who has “first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18).


Do I want to be strong like Christ, so I will be admired as strong, or so that I can defeat every adversary that would entice me to settle for any pleasure less than admiring the strongest person in the universe, Christ?

Do I want to be wise like Christ, so I will be admired as wise and intelligent, or so that I can discern and admire the One who is most truly wise?

Do I want to be holy like Christ, so that I can be admired as holy, or so that I can be free from all unholy inhibitions that keep me from seeing and savoring the holiness of Christ?

Do I want to be loving like Christ, so that I will be admired as a loving person, or so that I will enjoy extending to others, even in sufferings, the all-satisfying love of Christ?

Becoming and beholding are a means to the end of delighting and displaying.

We exist by him, through him, and for him (Romans 11:36).

God’s highest act of love is giving us himself to love.

…the fight to become like Christ will be, as never before, a fight to see and savor Jesus Christ. When, for example, we try to help a teenage boy triumph over pornography, we will work and pray to help him see and savor the glory of Christ. We will not merely use accountability structures and filters and human reasoning. We will seek to saturate his mind and heart with the enthralling vision of the all-satisfying Christ. We will not assume it is easy.

Know and preach that God himself is the ultimate good of the Gospel!
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