Thursday, January 12, 2006

Affix your focus on the glory of Christ

In God is the Gospel John Piper, in Chapter 6, talks about “The Glory of Christ in Evangelism, Missions and Sanctification” and this is one of the places were the concept Piper is writing on touches the church by impacting the people that fill her.

By looking at 2 Cor 3:18 three things are revealed that impact the church. First is that the pathway to Christ-likeness is “beholding the glory of the Lord”, beholding is becoming (page 90). God changes us by enabling us to see the glory of Christ. This helps us see that it is not our smarts or presentation that reveals Christ to others but God who does this. This does not mean we are to be lackadaisical about sharing our faith but that in the end it is God that reveals His glory and not us.

Secondly on page 92 the process of sanctification and the dynamics of transformation is shown to be intimately tied to what we admire and fix our attention on. This lets the church see the importance of discipleship and not simply convert making. The road of sanctification is one that relies on being focused on the beauty of Christ and not ourselves and our needs.

Thirdly, the transformation that comes from beholding the glory of Christ in the Gospel does not happen in one moment but over time, incrementally (page 93). The process of discipleship is a journey not a sprint. But what is also seen in this is that there is change and not simply stagnation. We are encouraged by the fact that change is not instantaneous but also convicts that change is an integral part of the Christian walk.

These three insights help us see the importance of the gospel in everyday life. If we simply see the gospel as the benefits we get and not God Himself then we will affix our focus on those benefits and in the end on ourselves. The end result is narcissism, the narcissism that appears to permeate the church. Having a correct view of the Gospel also affects how we portray the Gospel to people on a regular basis. The concept of cross bearing is replaced with self aggrandizement when man is made much of instead of making much of Christ.

I pray that we become a church that’s focus in on Christ and His glory and not ourselves. That we truly be being conformed to His likeness by affixing our gave on His beauty constantly. That we be the Church God desires.

1 comment:

RevyRev said...

As a point of personal testamony; being shown in Scripture that the christian needs to see the Glory of Christ in the gospel every day and every moment in sancitification was perhaps the most life changing realities I encountered post-conversion. Piper deserves most of the credit for showing this to me clearer than anyone else. I remeber several years ago reading Piper's mantra printed on the back of my copy of The Pleasures of God saying something like "to see Him is to be changed by Him". Indeed!

I can see how Scripture shows us this in dozens of ways. O how i wish it is understood and expressed more clearily in evangelicalism. To explain sanctification any other ways seems to miss the main point and the main means to how God changes us from glory to glory.

What a powerful reality!