Freedom from the Self-Focused Life


John Piper:

1. Do you love the thought that you exist to make God look what he really is — glorious? Do you love the thought that you exist to reflect and display the glory of God? Does that bring joy to your heart and make you tingle with awesome historical destiny? I am on planet earth to make God look glorious, because he is.

2. Do you love the thought that all creation exists to display the glory of God? “The heavens are telling the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). Are you glad about it? When you see spring just trying to come in Minnesota — soon the branches will get little bulges and you’ll say, “Come on; come on.” When they come in, the heads that you chop back so far, you wonder if it’ll ever come back, it gets the little green things on it and you say, “God is real and living.” Are you glad that it’s about God? Or does it burden you that God has to be in everything? Test yourself.

3. Do you love the truth that all history is designed by God to be a completed canvas that displays the greatness and beauty of God? Are you glad that history, from Adam to the consummation, is an emerging, God-painted canvas that, when it is finished, will be the best display possible of the full range of the excellencies of God? Are you glad that God is writing history as only he can write it for his glory?

4. Do you love the fact that Jesus Christ came into the world to vindicate the righteousness of God and repair the injury that we have done to the reputation of his glory? When you think of Jesus, are you glad to think of him as coming to make his Father just in the justification of the ungodly — to vindicate the righteousness of his Father, and to repair all the injury that you and I have done to the reputation of the infinitely valuable glory of God by our daily sinning against him? Are you glad Jesus is all about magnifying and rectifying the glory of God on earth?

Does that make you glad, or is it all about you getting out of hell and having some psychological relief from your guilt feelings and having a mended marriage because God is good and Christ is merciful? Is that all it’s about, or is it about God’s glory — glory in being vindicated in the justification of the ungodly, and glory in the repair of all the injury that I continue to do to the glory of God through my half-hearted love to him day in and day out? If Christ did not mend my reproach upon God, I would be utterly undone, and God would be belittled on this earth indefinitely.

5. Are you glad that your salvation is meant to put the glory of God’s grace on display? Ephesians 1:6: “To the praise of his glorious grace.” Are you glad that the point of being saved is to put the display of grace out for people to see it in your life? It’s all about the beauty of grace. Are you glad about that?

6. Do you love seeing and showing the glory of God? Is the glory of God in Christ your treasure? Is the glory of Christ — who is the image of God — your treasure, what you love above all things? Do you love the glory of God above all things?

This is why he created the universe. This is why he ordained history. This is why he sent his Son. This is why he created you. This is why he saved you: to see, savor, and show the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. So the question at the end of Romans 1–11 is: Do you embrace that as your treasure, as your highest value? Do you embrace God working in all things for the glory of God as your life?

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.