Saturday, December 09, 2006

What Jesus Demands from the World

I have been reading through John Piper’s new book: What Jesus Demands from the World as a devotion for the last few weeks and it has been a very worthwhile time. Piper does a great job of balancing the concept of demands with the truth that not only is it God that makes demands on us He is also the one that enables us to follow those demands. This follows much in line with the great quote of Augustine who prayed: “give what you command, and command what you will.”

I think to have a correct understanding of the law and its place for the believer can only be seen as it should be when we come to the understanding that we are incapable of doing anything pleasing to God without His enablement.

So when Jesus commands something there is an essence where we do need to feel helplessness so that we rightly fully realize we can do as commanded by Christ but only under His power. Once we understand this then and only then can we do as we are commanded without it being legalistic or simply doing for the sake of doing.

As I read Demand #33 - Love Your Neighbor with the Same Commitment You Have To Your Own Well Being – Piper goes away from the usual seeker friendly interpretation of Matt 22:39 which is to use this as a reason to love oneself so that one can love others. Piper revels what is true of all human nature and that is we do not need to learn to love ourselves as we all do that no matter what. The call of this passage is to take that self love we already have and turn it on its head by instead loving others as we love ourselves. Of course as I said above all of this is predicated on us being children of God as this is where the power comes to love as Christ commands us to love.

I suggest this book to everyone and not simply to read it as a book that you read all at once, even tough you can do that, but take it bit by bit and ponder all that is revealed. If you can not afford the book or simply want it in electronic form here is a link to the book in PDF format.

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