God is the Gospel — by John Piper (a book review)

So I’ve nev­er writ­ten a book review before but I thought it might be a good thing to start on this blog. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet and only real­ly cov­er the main idea(s) of the books and what ques­tions they have brought up for me in appli­ca­tion. I hope that I’ll read one or two books while at bible col­lege this year so you might get a few reviews.

I picked up this book “God is the Gospel” from our book­shelf last week, first­ly because I want­ed some­thing to read that would be thought-pro­vok­ing, and sec­ond­ly because it looks small and thus I hoped I would be able to fin­ish it with­out get­ting stuck in the details (like I have mul­ti­ple times in oth­er books such as the Cross of Christ). As it turned out this book was both thought-pro­vok­ing and easy to fin­ish so it got points on both accounts.

Piper’s main argu­ment in this book as I read it was that the gospel is not sim­ply the facts of God cre­at­ing the world, peo­ple rebelling against him and God send­ing his son to die to make us right with him, but rather that the good news is that in know­ing and hav­ing faith in these facts we can see and know the glo­ry of God. Thus the ulti­mate aim of the gospel is to draw us into Gods pres­ence so that we can expe­ri­ence His glory.

One of the key ideas Piper has “would you be hap­py in heav­en if Jesus/God was­n’t there” with the answer of course being no. In the gospel Piper argues, we don’t just have the chance to get into heav­en, but we are giv­en a life of being with, ador­ing and wor­ship­ping God himself.

Piper says that the goal of the gospel is not our ease or wealth or safe­ty in this age, but our depen­dence on Christ and our delight in his glo­ry. So, the love of God is giv­ing us the gift of him­self that we can trea­sure him. Love may mean doing what­ev­er is need­ed to help us see and savor the glo­ry of God in Christ. This says some­thing about suf­fer­ing in that there may be times when God is lov­ing us by allow­ing us to suf­fer because He knows it will bring Him glory.

I did­n’t find this con­cept very new, although it did chal­lenge me to con­sid­er how I present the Christian faith to oth­ers and how I live my life in view of this.

Some of the appli­ca­tion ques­tions that have arisen for me include:
— Do I expect God to love me by car­ing about my attrib­ut­es or can I under­stand God’s love as the gift of him­self so that I may trea­sure him?
— When peo­ple around me suf­fer, should I be pray­ing that their suf­fer­ing con­tin­ue until God is glo­ri­fied in it?
— Do I love oth­ers by tru­ly seek­ing that they can expe­ri­ence the glo­ry of God or am I more focused on lov­ing them by mak­ing them feel good about themselves?
— How does this type of love change the way I love my husband?

I haven’t read any of Piper’s oth­er books, how­ev­er from the way he quotes them in this one I sus­pect some of the ideas are sim­i­lar. I would rec­om­mend this book as a good review of the good news we have in Jesus and a fair­ly easy read. I think it is suit­ed to a Christian read­er who wants to under­stand their faith bet­ter, not real­ly for the non-Christian who wants to know what Christians believe.

Incidentally, if you’re inter­est­ed, you can down­load the book here

About Gillian