Thursday, November 28, 2013

joy in strange fire

Once again the words of John Piper help me set my mind right. In his book Think, he reminds us that Jesus only rejoiced two times in the Gospels (Jn 11.14-15; Lk 10.21). In John He rejoice in that by not being there to save Lazarus's life, the faith of the disciples would be strengthened. In Luke it was in hiding and revealing. What was hidden from some and revealed to others? It was the gospel of the Kingdom. Interestingly it was hidden in spite of the mighty works done by the seventy sent out to preach. None were Apostles or authors of Scripture. And yet they performed signs and wonders understood only to those that Jesus chose to reveal it to.

So it is in that context that I also rejoice. Jesus is somehow pleased to not reveal the Gospel of the Kingdom to John MacArthur and company while He does so to others.

Piper continues:
Now we are in a position to answer the question, Why does God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit1) rejoice in hiding himself from “the wise and understanding” and revealing himself to “little children”? To see the answer most fully, we need to realize that God’s joy is ultimately in the display of his own glory—especially the glory of his grace.2 In Isaiah 2:17, the prophet says, “The haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” God’s goal in the history of redemption is to humble the suicidal pride of man and exalt the glory of his grace in the Christ-exalting worship of his people. Therefore, he takes pleasure in everything that contributes to this. 
Therefore, God delights in revealing himself to “little children” because this highlights God’s all-sufficiency rather than man’s. The “little children” despair of self-sufficiency and look away from their helplessness and sinfulness to the grace of God in Christ. Therefore the motive of God to reveal himself to such ones is that it displays more clearly the beauty and worth of his grace. The heart of these “little children” magnifies the grace of God, while the heart of “the wise and understanding” magnifies man’s selfdetermination and self-sufficiency. Therefore God’s joy in displaying the glory of his grace is the reason he rejoices in revealing that glory to “little children.” 
On the other hand, he hides it from “the wise and understanding” because if they came to know God without becoming “little children,” the glory of God’s grace and the power of the cross of Christ would be obscured. It would not be plain that the “wise ones” were utterly dependent on God for their wisdom and their salvation. They would boast that by their own wisdom and resourcefulness they found God. To such ones Jesus says, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).
And here I am humbled having not realized the Gospel of the Kingdom through any means of my own, but solely by the grace of God.

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