Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Piper on a Christless Heaven

I found these thoughts from John Piper's book, God Is the Gospel, to be both challenging and pointed at the commonality of the thought of heaven for many people in our churches and society today. Piper points to the reality that God is the Gospel and Christ himself will be the supreme pleasure of heaven. What he points to is both truthful and convicting in so many ways as to how we teach and prepare people for heaven.

"Would You Be Happy In Heaven If Christ Were Not There?" 

"The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied in heaven, if Christ were not there?" (15) 

"And the question for Christian leaders is: Do we preach and teach and lead in such a way that people are prepared to hear that question and answer with a resounding NO? How do we understand the gospel and the love of God? Have we shifted with the world from God's love as the gift of himself to God's love as the gift of a mirror in which we like what we see? Have we presented the gospel in such a way that the gift of the glory of God in the face of Christ is marginal rather than central and ultimate? If so, I pray that this book might be one way God awakens us to see the supreme value and importance of "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (15) 

"Can we really say that our people are being prepared for heaven where Christ himself, not his gifts, will be the supreme pleasure? And if our people are unfit for that, will they even go there? Is not the faith that takes us to heaven the foretaste of the feast of Christ?" (15-16)

"Nothing fits a person to be more useful on earth than to be more ready for heaven. This is true because of readiness for heaven means taking pleasure in beholding the Lord Jesus, and beholding the glory of the Lord means being changed into his likeness (2 Cor. 3:18). Nothing would bless this world more than more people who are more like Christ. For in likeness to Christ the world might see Christ." (16)

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