Monday, November 07, 2011

god's goal

Many are confused these days due to a inaccurate or imprecise understanding of God's Ultimate Goal. In that regard, John Piper writes the following in A Holy Ambition:
God’s main, ultimate goal is to uphold and display his glory. That is the seemingly offensive thing to many people. It just sounds so self-centered, self-exalting, and feels bad to people. The key to why God’s self-exaltation, that is, the pursuit of the magnifying of his own glory, is not vicious but virtuous, not unloving but loving, is this word enjoyment. He is doing it for the enjoyment of his people. If God did not preserve and exalt his glory, you would not be given the very thing that you were designed to be most satisfied by, namely God, and God’s glory. He is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the highest virtue and the greatest act of love. When you stand in front of God, if you’re thinking God’s thoughts and not the world’s thoughts, what you want is for God to say, Hey, stand in front of me and watch THIS! And then for him to be God, in his fullness of grace and justice, so that you can spend eternity enjoying that and going deeper into that.
And related, at least in my mind, is this timely post by Justin Holcomb:

The Old Testament prophets looked forward to the Day of the Lord—a divine visitation to purge the world of sin and evil and to establish God’s perfect reign on the earth. With the ministry of Jesus, the Day of the Lord began, and something cosmically significant happened.

Salvation Is Finished
Jesus came as the God-man to bear his people’s judgment on the cross, to rescue sinners from their enemies of sin and death by his resurrection, and to inaugurate his kingdom. Mark tells us, “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand’” (Mark 1:14-15).

Salvation Is Here
Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, eternal life has already begun in one sense. In the midst of sin, death, and decay, there is real life right now. For those who trust in Christ, our future is now. Those who trust in Christ already have so much:

  • We have new hearts (2 Cor. 5:17)
  • We have been made alive with Christ (Eph. 2:5)
  • We have received a spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15-16)

The knowledge that softens the blow of grief is not an abstract platitude but the real resurrection of Jesus.

Salvation Is Coming
But there is more to come that has not yet been fully realized:

  • We will have transformed bodies, not just hearts (2 Cor. 15:50-55)
  • We will be resurrected like Christ (Rom. 6:5)
  • We will experience the fullness of being adopted by God (Rom. 8:23)

Already But Not Yet
We live now in the overlap between the “already” and the “not yet.” This means that the sufferings of now do not compare to the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). This means creation groans now but will be liberated (Rom. 8:20-22). This means we now dwell in a temporary earthly tent but will have eternal heavenly bodies (2 Cor. 5:1). This means we are saved in hope (Rom. 8:24) but will be saved from wrath (Rom. 5:9).

Future Hope
The kingdom of God and salvation is real now, but not yet fully realized. Why does this matter?

The loss that causes grief is very real, but is temporary. The knowledge that softens the blow of grief is not an abstract platitude but the real resurrection of Jesus. Our grief now is in the context of a future hope (1 Thess. 4:13-18). The hope of the new creation frames (though it does not erase) our present mourning: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4).

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