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