Thursday, March 09, 2006

What makes Good News good? Part one

So last Friday I mentioned how i'd listened to this sermon, and how much of God's glory in the Gospel i'd heard through it. I'm going to try now to blog some thoughts on it, broken up into five chunks, as Piper preached it.

Disclaimer: everything that Piper said was, i believe, gold. Any heresy or half truth you read in the following post is totally of my own making.

What is the highest, best, final good of the Good News?
2 Cor 3:17-4:7
Gospel means good news. But why? What is the good part of the Good News? Is it justification by faith? That's pretty cool, pretty good news. Something we could never earn given to us because of our faith, that we are counted as part of the promise to Abraham because of our faith. Or maybe forgiveness or the removal of God's wrath against us? You'd have to admit that's good news? Sure. But the best, final 'good'? Salvation from Hell? Eternal life in Heaven? All these things are good. All of them are wonderful Gospel truths. But are they the ultimate good of the Good News? Or do they simply point us toward something else? Some better, higher good? Man, there's a lot of questions there eh?

Well, i think that it makes sense to say that surely there is something good, beyond those pieces of good news that makes them good. That is to say, that those things are means to an end, and the end is the only thing that makes sense of the means.

Piper then takes us to 2 Cor 4:4 and 6 for the answer. There are several parallels between these two verses that seem to paint for us a picture of the ultimate good of the Good News. The first one of these is the mention of light in both verse, light in verse 4 corresponds with light in verse 6. The second is knowledge and gospel. This is why we must teach, why we must proclaim. Without teaching there will be no knowledge, without knowledge of the Gospel, how will anyone be saved? The third is the glory of Christ, and the glory of God. So the Gospel, knowing the Gospel, hearing it, learning it enables us to see the glory of God revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. Isn't that great! That's what the gospel does...helps us to see God in the face of Jesus. That's when people get saved, when they see that glory in the face of Christ, when they see that He reflects the glory of the Father. Isn't that great? And that's what we have. Talk about treasure in jars of clay!

So how does this fit in with the earlier claim that the Good News of the Gospel is something else other than justification or forgiveness or anything else one might care to mention. Because the glory of God satisfies us. Nothing else. We were made for a perfect relationship with Him. Unless we are justified, we can not see the glory of God in Heaven which will satisfy us forever. Unless God's wrath is removed, we will not be able to enter that perfect relationship with Him for which we were created. Jesus will satisfy all our desires. He will fill our every hole when we see Him on glory. But the only way we will see Him in glory is if we are forgiven, and justified. That's why Christ had to die, to give us the best thing he possibly could...HIMSELF! Without the good things mentioned earlier we would never be able to come into a relationship with Him, and without Him at the end of them, nothing of the other good things would make sense. Heaven isn't just a continuation of life on earth with no end. It's not just a place for Christians to hang out. John 17:3 tells us that eternal life is knowing Christ. So it would make no sense for Christ to die for anything else except for the gift of Himself.

And that is what i believe makes the Good News good. That because of our forgiveness etc we can have an eternal relationship seeing and savouring Christ, and that Christs gift of Himself is the only logical conclusion to the other great gifts of the Cross.

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