Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jesus: A Contradiction in Terms?

Recently I started reading the John Piper's Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God together with Paul, my ministry mentor and friend. The book's premise is that we should be most satisfied in God because God is most satisfied in God.

The first chapter of the book is about the pleasure that God takes in his Son, Jesus Christ. Now I have read a number of John Piper's books and each one has challenged my thinking about God and ministry. This one has proved to be no different so far.

As I read that first chapter, there was one paragraph that stopped me short and really struck me. If you forgive the extensive quote, let me reproduce it for you. Piper is referring to a sermon by Jonathon Edwards entitled “The Excellencyof Christ.” Here is Piper's summary of Edward's words about Jesus Christ.

“In Jesus Christ, he says, meet infinite highness and infinite condescension; infinite justice and infinite grace; infinite glory and lowest humility; infinite majesty and transcendent meekness; deepest reverence toward God and equality with God; worthiness of good and the greatest patience under the suffering of evil; a great spirit of obedience and supreme dominion over heaven and earth; absolute sovereignty and perfect resignation; self-sufficiency and an entire trust and reliance on God. (The Pleasures of God, p. 30)

Read those words again, contemplating each pair of ideas. Imagine even one of those pairs resident in an average human being – it would an impossible contradiction of terms. We would consider that person horribly mixed up or mentally ill. Yet in Jesus, the divine Son of God, each pair of attributes are each perfectly embodied and lived out. Only Jesus could display a character like that. It is no wonder that God is completely satisfied in His Son and our Savior! The question is – are we equally as satisfied in the salvation God has provided and the Savior He sent to provide it?

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