The Foolishness of God in the Cross is Wiser than the Wisdom of the World

The foolishness of God in the cross is wiser than the wisdom of the world.  The righteousness that avails before God is being claimed by the crucified and resurrected Christ.  It is not like accomplishing something but like dying and coming to life.  It is not like earning something but more like falling in love.  It is not the attainment  of a long-sought goal, the arrival at the end of a process, but the beginning of something absolutely new, something never before heard of or entertained…

Grace says, “Believe it” and everything — EVERYTHING! — is already done.  It is the creative Word of God.  If that doesn’t work then nothing will…The theologian of the cross knows that the love of God creates precisely out of nothing.  Therefore the sinner must be reduced to nothing in order to be saved…[This] is the hope of the resurrection.  God brings life out of death.  He calls into being that which is from that which is not.  In order that there be a resurrection, the sinner must die.  All presumption must be ended.  The truth must be seen

– Gerhard Forde

as quoted by Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 148

This is How the Kingdom of Christ is Advanced

With the Reformation, Luther revived Augustine’s insights.  The kingdom of Christ advances exclusively through the Spiritual sword: the Word of God.  It is embraced by faith, rather than being coercively imposed by force.  In earthly affairs, unbelievers often excel believers.  We build temporal cities by our works, but receive the kingdom of Christ through preaching and sacrament.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 251

Satan’s Favorite Haunt Is Not What You Likely Think…

As Ephesians 6  – the key spiritual warfare passage – makes explicit, Satan focuses his efforts on extinguishing or corrupting our faith in Christ.  That is why all of the weapons he lists for the believers’ struggle have to do with the objective Word of the gospel rather than on our own cleverly devised, if superstitious, technology.  Satan’s favorite holiday is not Halloween but Christmas and Easter – in fact, every Lord’s Day when Christ gathers his people to himself.  He  foments external persecution an internal corruption of God’s Word and the believer’s faith.  The Antichrist himself will assume his throne not in a capital of secular power but in the sanctuary of God (II Thessalonians 2:4).  From Genesis to the Gospels, Satan’s favorite haunt is not wild parties and seances, but God’s courtroom, where he can accuse believers night and day.  That is why it is so significant that Christ cast Satan out of heaven by his victorious ascension.  It means that in heaven  where our salvation is determined – there is no prosecutor, but only a defense attorney for the people of God.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 176-177

How to Have Spiritual Prayers

But when you saturate you mind with the Christ-exalting Word of God and turn it into prayer, your desires and your prayers become spiritual.  That is, they are shaped by the Holy Spirit into God centered, Christ-exalting prayers.  The glory of Christ, and the name of God, and the spiritual well-being of people and the delight you have in knowing Jesus – these become your dominant concerns and your constant requests.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 166

How to Become a Pharisee

Without prayer we will try to fulfill the Word in our own strength and think we are succeeding and so become proud Pharisees; or we will realize we are not succeeding and will give up in despair.  Those are the only alternatives for those who try to live the Word of God without the Spirit of God – that is, those who try to separate the discipline of meditation from the dependence of prayer.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 149

Dependence of Prayer on Meditation and Vice Versa

Prayer without meditation on the Word of God will disintegrate into humanistic spirituality.  It will simply reflect our own fallen ideas and feelings – not God’s.  And meditation, without the humility of desperate prayer, will create proud legalism or hopeless despair.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 149

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