Why God is the Gospel, Even for God. Book Review: John Piper, Part 3
Now, after reading through John Piper’s book God is the Gospel for four years, after reading it aloud to Frontiers candidates for four years, after that Desiring God Ministries has given a free copy of God is the Gospel to all 250 Frontiers candidates over the last three years, now, after all this, I am thankful for glorious message of this book more than my words can express. Because it has brought me to God. That is, God has brought me to God through the reading of the book God is the Gospel, a book that I reviewed here and here.
I am a slow learner, but God is merciful, and recently, after four years of reading through God is the Gospel, and after opening my Bible to look up all of the more-than-fifty New Testament references to God the Father and God the Son (read them here), I made a connection that I had never made
before. I made what is a new discovery for me and I am very excited. I discovered that these references enable us to know that God Himself is the Gospel, even for God. God is the reason for God’s joy, first, because God has a Son. A loving Son, a truthful, promise-keeping, joyous, free, obedient, good, beautiful, adorable, glad, Son. God has a Son and God said of Jesus Christ, “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
And God is the Gospel, even for God, because God has a Father. A wise Father, a good, truthful, promise-keeping, commanding, counseling, caring, free, adorable, glad, fatherly Father. Jesus adored His Father, and said of Him, “Father, glorify your name” (John 12:28). And “I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 5:30). Jesus Christ on earth was surely a reader of the Psalms, and read what God is like: “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:24-26).
Jeremiah grieves for His people, the Jews, who “stubbornly follow their own hearts and have gone after Baals as their father taught them” (9:14). Too bad this is what their fathers’ taught them, because things are about to go very badly for the Jews. What should be done? The Lord says, “But let him boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things” (Jeremiah 9:23-24). In reply Jesus might say to His father, “That’s what I like about you.”
God is the Gospel, even to God, because God the Father devotes His complete love to His son, and that is what the son likes about His Father. And God the Son devotes all of His love to his father, and that is what the Father likes about His son. Father and Son love each other. Therefore, the Bible can say, “God is love.” Were the deity a singular, then He or It would never devote His complete love to another, only to Himself, whatever that means. Not that multiplied numbers of mythical deities do any better at staying true to each other. No, mythical deities are the just projections of what people are doing.
But back to the interesting, wondrous, relationship between God the Father and God the Son. To the other, each is truthful, joyous, good, glad, loving and eager to please. Thus, Jesus said, “I seek not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 5:30). And “I and my Father are One.” Because of love like none other between Father and Son, the Son became obedient to the father, even unto death. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name above all names, that at the name of Jesus, every knee in heaven and on earth should bow.
God is the Gospel even for God. Because God is a Son and a Father and they have always been truthful, joyous, honoring, good, glad, and glorifying. “Father, glorify your name” (John 12:28). As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Father and Son trust one another, love one another, and are glad for the other’s glory to increase. The Son’s future is bright because He has such a Father, and the Father’s future is bright because He has such a Son.
Endless delight, the future is bright.
Father and Son, Two But One.
Honor and glory, this is God’s story.
When we sing, “Crown Him the Son of God,” The Father is glad because His Son is glorified. And when we sing, “This is My Father’s World,” Jesus Christ is glad because His Father is glorified.
Father is glad because of His Son’s obedience; the Son is glad because of His Father’s trustworthy, proven care in all that He commands the Son to do. The Son is glad because the Father sent Him on a mission, and not a mission of little consequence, but to glorify the Father. The Father is glad because His Son trusted His Father by going on the terrible mission for the purpose of glorifying His father. And that mission is to bring salvation to the world, but also to warn of the judgment to come. Jesus said, “I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me” (John 5:42-43). They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (John 8:19).
Father and Son existed in all eternity, and displayed the perfections of God to one another: They displayed goodness and beauty, holiness and meekness, peace and love, truth and joy, kindness and self-control. All of these perfections were enjoyed in endless eternity between Father and Son. Were God a singularity, He by himself could not display kindness or love. But God is Father and Son, and so from before the beginning, glory radiated from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the Father. The Bible says,
1Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” John 17:1-5