In Hearing Was the Seeing

The fundamental reason that the Word of God is essential to joy in God is that God reveals himself mainly by his word.  And seeing this revelation of God is the foundation of our joy.  As it was in the days of Samuel, so it is today (I Samuel 3:21).  When it says, “The LORD appeared,” it says something amazing.  God was seen not with the eyes of the head, but with the eyes of the heart, for God is “the king of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God” (I Timothy 1:17).  And though it may seem strange, this seeing at Shiloh happened “by the word of the Lord.”  As the Word was heard, the Lord was seen.  In the hearing was the seeing.  The spiritual hearing of God’s Word becomes the spiritual seeing of God’s glory.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 95

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If the Heart be Filled with the Cross of Christ

The cross of Christ be glorified and rejoiced in; this his heart was set upon; and these were the effects of it – it crucified the word unto him, made it a dead and undesireable thing.  The baits and pleasures of sin are taken all of them out of the world…If the heart be filled with the cross of Christ, it casts death and undesireableness upon them all; it leafves no seeming beauty, no appearing pleasure of comeliness, in them.

– John Owen, On Indwelling Sin in Believers

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 94

He Is No Fool…

Where do missionaries (who, like all of us, are sinners) get the courage to face the spears of those they love and not use firearms in their hands, but rather die?  They get it from the superior satisfaction that they have in Christ above all that this earth can offer, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  Yes, especially if what we cannot lose is the all-satisfying glory of Christ.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 92

We Never Outgrow the Gospel

Hearing the word of the cross, and preaching it to ourselves, is the central strategy for sinners in the fight for joy.  Nothing works without this.  Here is where we start.  And here is where we stay.  We never outgrow the gospel.  Here we see the glory of Christ more clearly than anywhere else.  Indeed the gospel is “the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (II Corinthians 4:4).  If seeing Christ is the key to savoring Christ – and it is! – then here is where we must linger.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 91

We Have Gathered Like Eagles ‘Round the Carcass

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.  Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate…The onlyman who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ…We…have gathered like eagles round the carcass of cheap grace, and there we have drunk the poison which has killed the life of following Christ

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 90

No One Knows the Terror of Those Days

A whole flood of blasphemies, both against God, Christ, and the Scriptures were poured upon my spirit to my great confusion and astonishment…My heart was at times exceeding hard.  If I would have given a thousand pounds for a tear, I could not shed one…Oh, the desparateness of man’s heart…I feared that this wicked sin of mine might be that sin unpardonable…Oh, no one knows the terror of those days but myself.

One day I was passing into the field…this sentence fell upon my soul.  The righteousness is in heaven.  And…I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, was my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, he [lacks] my righteousness, for that was just before him.  I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, “The same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8).  Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed.  I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations fled away; so that from that time those dreadful scriptures of God [about the unforgivable sin] left off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.

– John Bunyan

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 86-87

Martin Luther on God’s Righteousness

I began to understand [that] the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith.  And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely. the passive righteousness with which [the] merciful God justifies us by faith…Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.

– Martin Luther

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 87