Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jesus: The Means and the Ends of Salvation

That is crucial truth I have been treasuring myself lately and have been trying to impress upon those around me.

John Piper expounds masterfully on the connection between Christian nominalism and the non-understanding of what it means to "receive Christ" here. It's less than 3 minutes long; do watch it.
We showed this clip at Element last Sunday night, the same night I preached on the "treasure" parables (Mt. 13:44-46).

This is about worship and the object of worship.

In Taste and See, Piper writes:
Jesus Christ is not merely the means of our rescue from damnation; he is the goal of our salvation. If he is not satisfying to be with, there is no salvation.
He is not merely the rope that pulls us from the threatening waves; he is the solid beach under our feet, the air in our lungs, and the beat of our heart, and the warm sun on our skin, and the song in our ears, and the arms of our beloved.

This is that "savoring Christ as supremely valuable" stuff Piper goes on and on about. I know it's fashionable to criticize Piper right now, but I find this emphasis very valuable in my own walk right now (and I hope I always do).

At the Boar's Head Tavern this morning (permalinks don't work), Jason Blair wrote:
I love theology as much as the next geek for Jesus. But reminding myself that Jesus is salvation is something I need. It’s what keeps me from going down the road to pride/arrogance that would otherwise make me shun or damn a brother who is otherwise orthodox in their thinking, even we disagree over some minor point. For example, I am no longer a dispensationalist, but I still love my dispy brothers.

I also like the CS Lewis approach, and I like what Capon said. To be fair to him, the quote is being stripped out of an introductory chapter of a study of Jesus’ parables. The point he’s trying to make is that while theology is important, and while we don’t want bad theology, we need to remember that it’s Jesus we’re after, and that the Bible is revealing Him to us. An unhealthy focus on breaking down the text into mere theology tends more often than not to forget that we’re supposed to find Him, not a system of thinking.


Jesus is not just the means to the good stuff. He is the good stuff.

Last night at our weekly Element dinner/discussion, we were looking at the Beatitudes, and one young lady recalled how the ministers she knew in Africa had a better grasp of what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness because they knew exactly what it meant to hunger and thirst for food and water.
We all wondered whether not even knowing what it means to physically hunger and thirst affects whether we can even know what it means to hunger and thirst for God.

I think we can. But it certainly is more difficult when we do not lack for much of anything and have satisfaction in all sorts of other things offered in all sorts of place, including our churches.

I am not there yet, and probably never will be until I see him face to face, but I am beginning to awaken to what it means to crave Jesus. I am glimpsing what it means for a soul to long after him like a deer pants for water.

To live is Christ . . .
-- from Philippians 1:21

1 comment:

Jared said...

PS, I deleted your comments b/c of your links to pornography. That's kind of a no-brainer.

I actually would have kept your comment if I could have removed your link in your userid, but I couldn't figure out how to do that. If you'd like to leave your comment anonymously, feel free. It wasn't offensive in itself, although it was sort of superfluous given the subject matter of this blog and the beliefs of most of my readers.

But, who knows? Maybe it could provoke some good discussion.

I just won't link to porn.