Beholding Glory and Becoming Whole: Seeing and Savoring God as the Heart of Mental Health

Last night John Piper addressed the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) at their world conference in Nashville on the topic “Beholding Glory and Becoming Whole: Seeing and Savoring God as the Heart of Mental Health.” The manuscript of John’s message is available here. Here’s a sample: […] God has done everything with a view to one great end—namely, that the glory of his grace should be praised by innumerable redeemed human beings. You, and everybody you counsel, were made by God to praise him. More specifically, you were made to praise his glory. And more specific yet, you were made to praise the glory of his grace. […] This is why we were created. This goes to the heart of what it means for us to be fully human and for God to be fully honored. And the amazing thing is that the two happen together. They happen in the same act. God is profoundly honored and glorified in the very act

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All I have is Christ

Devon Kauflin and the Na Band lead over 2500 worshipers in the song “All I Have Is Christ”. Recorded at the Next 2009 conference in Baltimore, Maryland, May 30-June 2, 2009. From the album “Next 2009 Live”, available at sovereigngracemusic.org. I once was lost in darkest night Yet thought I knew the way The sin that promised joy and life Had led me to the grave I had no hope that You would own A rebel to Your will And if You had not loved me first I would refuse You still But as I ran my hell-bound race Indifferent to the cost You looked upon my helpless state And led me to the cross And I beheld God’s love displayed You suffered in my place You bore the wrath reserved for me Now all I know is grace Hallelujah! All I have is Christ Hallelujah! Jesus is my life Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone And live so all

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On Jesuslessness

I love this from Jared Wilson: There is a pastor whose Twitter feed I occasionally read, but I shouldn’t, because it absolutely drives me nuts. A large portion of my reaction is tied to my own issues, I’m sure, but I see in his broadcasts an almost pathological intention not to mention Jesus. And as I thirst for Jesus, I notice this withholding lots and lots of places in the Bible Belt. I have been and always will be doggedly suspicious of pastors who rarely (or never) mention Jesus. John Piper says, “What we desperately need is help to enlarge our capacities to be moved by the immeasurable glories of Christ.” We ministers of the gospel — and Christians at large — can fumble this commission in three main ways: 1. We speak in vague spiritual generalities. Love. Hope. Peace. Joy. Harmony. Blessings. All disembodied from the specific atoning work of the incarnate Jesus and exalted Lord. It all sounds nice. It’s

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Lost in wonder, love, and praise!

I’ve been meditating on the last line of Charles Wesley’s glorious hymn, ‘Love Divine, all loves excelling’ – Lost in wonder, love, and praise! It has a beautiful theological logic to it. First, we are to see/understand/comprehend, be impacted by Divine glory – wonder. Second, having seen it, we are to love what we see. We are to be affected at an emotional, heart level by the wonder of who God is and all He is for us in Christ. I think this is what Jesus prayed for at the climax of his High Priestly prayer in John 17: 24, 26. That we should see his glory and love and appreciate it/him just as the Father – who sees and loves his Son’s infinite perfections perfectly – does. (A lesser love is not worthy of him.) Having been so affected, there remains only the consummation of our satisfaction in Christ – praise! My prayer is that I can be lost in the foretaste

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John Owen on Stirring the Mind to Contemplate the Glory of Christ

My thanks to Matt Harmon for this: In his treatise “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” John Owen offers five “directions” for stirring up the minds of believers to contemplate the glory of Christ (chapter 4): Let us get it fixed on our souls and minds, that this glory of Christ in the divine constitution of his person is the best, the most noble, useful, beneficial object that we can be conversant about in our thoughts, or cleave unto in our affections. Our second direction unto the same end is, that we diligently study the Scripture, and the revelations that are made of this glory of Christ therein. Another direction to this same end is, that having attained the light of the knowledge of the glory of Christ from the Scripture, or by the dispensation of the truth in the preaching of the gospel, we would esteem it our duty frequently to meditate thereon. Let your occasional thoughts

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“Who is occupying the throne today?”

“In our vision of ultimate reality, who is occupying the throne today? Are we authentic New Testament Christians, whose vision is filled with Christ crucified, risen and reigning? Is guilt still reigning, and death? Or is grace reigning, and life? To be sure, sin and Satan may seem to be reigning still, since many continue to bow down to them. But their reign is an illusion, a bluff. For at the cross they were decisively defeated, dethroned and disarmed. Now Christ reigns, exalted to the Father’s right hand, with all things under his feet, welcoming the nations, and waiting for his remaining enemies to be made his footstool.” —John Stott, The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 162 (HT: Of First Importance)

Preach The Gospel To Yourself Everyday

From Tullian Tchividjian: I’ve been re-reading Jerry Bridges’ excellent book The Discipline of Grace.  A little while ago I read his comments on 2 Corinthians 3:18 where the apostle Paul writes: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed. Bridges reminded me of just how important it is to “preach the gospel to ourselves everyday” if we are going to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. He writes: The glory that has a transforming effect on us is the glory of Christ revealed in the gospel, the good news that Jesus died in our place as our represenative to free us not only from the penalty of sin but also from its dominion. A clear understanding and appropriation of the gospel, which gives freedom from sin’s guilt and sin’s grip, is, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, a chief means of sanctification…Our specific responsibility in the pursuit of

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Savouring the Glory

The deepest longing of the human heart is to know and enjoy the glory of God. We were made for this. “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth. . . whom I created for my glory,” says the Lord (Isaiah 43:6-7). … We were made to know and treasure the glory of God above all things; and when we trade that treasure for images, everything is disordered. The sun of God’s glory was made to shine at the center of the solar system of our soul. And when it does, all the planets of our life are held in their proper orbit. But when the sun is displaced, everything flies apart. The healing of the soul begins by restoring the glory of God to its flaming, all-attracting place at the center. ~ John Piper, Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him,

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Everything flowing from the cross

“Christ is the glory of God. His blood-soaked cross is the blazing center of that glory. By it He bought for us every blessing–temporal and eternal. And we don’t deserve any. He bought them all. Because of Christ’s cross, God’s elect are destined to be sons of God. Because of His cross all guilt is removed, and sins are forgiven, and perfect righteousness is imputed to us, and the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are being conformed to the image of Christ. Therefore, every enjoyment in this life and the next that is not idolatry is a tribute to the infinite value of the cross of Christ–the burning center of the glory of God. And thus a cross-centered, cross-exalting, cross-saturated life is a God-glorifying life–the only God-glorifying life. All others are wasted.” – John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 59. (HT: Of First Importance)

The point is Jesus

This is excellent from Jared Wilson: I don’t believe in this day and age the Church can stress enough that the “point” of Christianity is Jesus himself. The point of Scripture, the point of prayer, the point of faith — all Jesus. American evangelicalism has not done a great job at making Jesus the point of the enterprise of faith. We take the Gospel notion of “faith alone,” a belief many Reformers died contending for, and make it about us. We turn perseverance into personal empowerment and sanctification into self-improvement. We’ve made religion a bad word by turning Law into legalism and grace into license. We made Jesus our buddy, our co-pilot, our sidekick. We don’t have sin — we have “issues.” We say we have bad habits rather than admit we have sinful hearts. We look to Scripture in general as a toolbox of pick-me-up quotable quotes and to the Gospels specifically as a chronicle of warm-fuzzy behavioral aspirations.

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The Glorious Spectacle

“Man, in his natural spirit of self-justifying legalism, has tried to get away from the cross of Christ and its perfection, or to erect another cross instead, or to setup a screen of ornaments between himself and it, or to alter its true meaning into something more congenial to his tastes, or to transfer the virtue of it to some act or performance or feeling of its own. Thus the simplicity of the cross is nullified, and its saving power is denied. For the cross saves completely, or not at all. Our faith does not divide the work of salvation between itself and the cross. It is the acknowledgment that the cross alone saves, and that it saves alone. Faith adds nothing to the cross, nor to its healing virtue. It owns the fulness, and sufficiency, and suitableness of the work done there, and bids the toiling spirit cease from its labours and enter into rest. Faith does not come

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The highest of all missionary motives

“If God desires every knee to bow to Jesus and every tongue to confess Him, so should we. We should be ‘jealous’ for the honor of His name—troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed, and all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honor and glory which are due to it. The highest of all missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God), but rather zeal—burning and passionate zeal—for the glory of Jesus Christ. Only one imperialism is Christian, and that is concern for His Imperial Majesty Jesus Christ, and for the glory of his empire or kingdom. Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die.” —John Stott, The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, Ill:

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Preachers: Be Predictably Christocentric!

It would not appear that Paul’s determination to know nothing among his hearers but Christ and him crucified led him into the trap of predictability.  Of course, if by predictability we mean that people will come to expect every sermon to expound something of the glories of Christ, then let us by all means be predictable!  Since there are inexhaustible riches in Christ, and the implication of this for our Christian existence are endless, I doubt very much that there is any need for a preacher to be boring and repetitive. (Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture), p. 115 (HT: Eric Raymond)

Christ is all-glorious!

Christ is all-glorious: glorious in his throne, which is at “the right hand of the Majesty on high” glorious in his commission, which is “all power in heaven and earth” glorious in his name, a name above every name—“Lord of lords, and King of kings” glorious in his scepter—“a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of his kingdom” glorious in his attendants—“his chariots are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels,” among them he rides on the heavens, and sends out the voice of his strength, attended with ten thousand times ten thousand of his holy ones glorious in his subjects—all creatures in heaven and in earth, nothing is left that is not put in subjection to him glorious in his way of rule, and the administration of his kingdom—full of sweetness, efficacy, power, serenity, holiness, righteousness, and grace, in and toward his elect—of terror, vengeance, and certain destruction toward the rebellious angels and men glorious in the issue of his

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Getting Substitutionary Atonement Right

“The penal substitution model has been criticized for depicting a kind Son placating a fierce Father in order to make him love man, which he did not do before. The criticism is, however, inept, for penal substitution is a Trinitarian model, for which the motivational unity of Father and Son is axiomatic. The New Testament presents God’s gift of his Son to die as the supreme expression of his love to men. ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son’ (John 3:16). ‘God is love, . . . Herein is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (I John 4:8-10). ‘God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Rom. 5:8). Similarly, the New Testament presents the Son’s voluntary acceptance of death as the supreme expression of his love to men. ‘He loved me,

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Becoming what we behold

I love this from Jimmy Davis: We become what we behold. We are to become conformed to the image of Christ, being transformed from one degree of glory to the next as we behold the glory of the Lord (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18).  We are to point the camera lens of our hearts toward Jesus as He is offered in the gospel, and let His glory shine in, burning His image on our souls and developing Christlikeness in our lives (Galatians 4:19; 1 John 3:2-3). Where shall we find that glory most brightly displayed so that we may behold it and be gloriously transformed? “…much of the glory of God appears in the works of creation and providence, but much more in the gospel, where it shines in the face of Jesus Christ.” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 6, “1 Timothy,” p. 651 [HT for this quote: Gospel-Driven Blog] If I were to illustrate creation’s display

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