Saturday, March 13, 2010

Book Excerpt: When I Don't Desire God, How to Fight for Joy (Part one)

If you know me at all, or read my blog, you know that joy is a struggle for me. A friend suggested a book by John Piper, When I Don't Desire God, How to Fight For Joy. It continues to be a real encouragement to me, and when I read this last night, I had a deep desire to share it with you. You can read the book in full in PDF by clicking here.

This is a two part excerpt. Part two will come tomorrow or Monday. But here is part one, taken from page 72:

Jesus Christ came into the world as the divine Son of God in order to die for our sins and rescue us from the wrath of God, the burden of guilt, the condemnation of justice, the bondage of sin, the torment of hell, and the loss of all that is good—especially the loss of God. Our problem is not merely our own corruption but, more seriously, God’s condemnation. To be sure, we are corrupt, or as the old theologians said, depraved. Paul’s way of saying it is that “all . . . are under sin. . . . ‘None is righteous, no, not one’” (Rom. 3:9-10).

This corruption is a massive obstacle to everlasting joy. We desire the wrong things, and we desire right things in the wrong way. And both are deadly—like eating pleasant poison. But our corruption is not our main obstacle to joy. God’s wrath is greater. God is infinitely valuable, and we have offended him infinitely by valuing other things more. We have exchanged the glory of . . . God” (Rom. 1:23). Or as Paul says in Romans 3:23, we all “fall short of the glory of God.”

Therefore, God’s holiness and justice will move him to settle accounts with us in his wrath. “Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Gal. 3:10). The consequence of this curse and wrath is eternal misery apart from the glory of God. “Those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus . . . will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thess. 1:8-9). The iceberg just ahead is no happiness forever, only misery.

We are on a doomed Titanic because of our sin—all of us without exception. “Every mouth [is] stopped, and the whole world [is] held accountable to God” (Rom. 3:19). The sinful ship of our lives is headed for everlasting ruin because of God’s righteousness and wrath. Without a Savior, that’s the reality we must keep out of our minds in order to be happy on the Titanic of this world.
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