Book Review: John Piper – God is the Gospel

I received this book back in 2006 shortly after it was published, but just finished reading it. And, honestly, I’m glad I waited till now to read it because it has come in handy as I think about the curriculum project I am working on for my church.
The only thing I would say negative about the book, like most Piper books, is that it could be shorter because of the repetition that he includes. But, if that is my only critique – its pretty good.
This book is true John Piper meaning that it is all about God finding joy in Himself and giving us a glimpse of Himself, through Christ, to take full joy in Him. That is our greatest satisfaction. It has also helped me think through taking the WHOLE Trinity in account. Some folks take God – but want nothing to do with Christ. Some take Christ but don’t have a right view of God. And many have no clue who the Holy Spirit is or what He does, especially in the process of our sanctification.
My favorite part is the last chapter where Pastor John offers us some old (and older) hymns that communicate this treasuring God as the Gospel in our lives. My personal favorite (of the ones I didn’t know already) is a German hymn written in 1667. “What is the world to me, with all is vaunted pleasure, when Thou and Thou alone, art my Treasure.” (p 173)
Most convicting thought in the book is how John challenges us to think through why we want to be good (or holy, pure, wise, strong, etc). Is it just so we can be seen as these things and the world will focus on us? Or is it to our traits (those listed above) point others to God and show the world we treasure Christ above all else. Our goodness won’t save us or save others – only Christ saves. Only God is the Gospel.
Piper does a fabulous job of unpacking his definition (which he reveals early in the book): “When I say that God is the Gospel I mean that the highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gifts would be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoyment.” (p 13)
“My burden in this book is to make as clear as I can that preachers can preach on these great aspects of the gospel and yet never take people to the goal of the gospel.” (p 41). In that light, I love this video with Dever, Driscoll, and MacDonald. The whole Bible exclaims Christ in God – should every thing we write, teach, and preach?
“Long looking with admiration produces change. From your heroes you pick up mannerisms and phrases and tones of voice and facial expressions and habits and demeanor and convictions and beliefs.” (p 92) I know the truth of this. I know guys who preach just like Pastor John (mannerisms, wording, etc) or pray and talk just like David Platt, or speak just like Leon Tucker. When you are around people you admire, you start to act and behave and speak like them. Think about accents – when I am in the south I speak more southern. If I am in the mid-west very long, I lose that accent. Natural. I want my mannerisms to be like Christ. Are they?
“True sorrow over sin is shown by the gospel to be what it really is – the result of failing to savor “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (p 107). I thought through this the other night. I was out playing sand volleyball with some friends. I am a competitive person when it comes to sports or physical activity. I may not be great at it – but I like to play hard and like to play with others who play hard. I let prideful attitudes wage war in my mind the entire evening (ones of pleasing man, pride, entitlement) and then bore the weight of remorse for pride the entire next day. I repented, asked others to forgive, but then realized the greater sin was treasuring me and my ability or other’s lack of ability over treasuring and seeing Christ and displaying Him to others.
Read with a pen and an open heart.

About kimddavidson

I am bought with the blood of Christ and being graced every day to know Him more. I am a writer. Love to read, run, hang out, watch movies, cook, bake, work hard/play harder. God is so abundantly good to me.
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