Saturday, July 16, 2011
Jesus, supremely valuable just as he is, nothing more, nothing less
I was reading John Piper's Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God and this portion amongst others, got me into thinking.
"...grace is is God's free giving, and faith is our helpless receiving. When God justifies us by faith alone, he has respect not to faith as virtue but faith as a receiving of Christ. So it is the same as saying that not our virtue, but Christ's virtue, is the ground of our justification...Faith saves because it receives Jesus. But we must make clear what this actually means, because there are so many people who say they have received Christ and believe on Christ but give little or no evidence that they are spiritually alive. They are unresponsive to the spiritual beauty of Jesus. They are unmoved by the glories of Christ. They do not have the spirit of the apostle Paul when he said, 'I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ' (Phil 3:8). This is not their spirit, yet they say they have received Christ. It looks as though it is possible to 'receive Christ' and not have him for what he is...they do not receive him as supremely valuable."
It is not what we do or who we are but the simple act of faith in receiving Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and it must be accompanied by evidence in our lives that we are spiritually alive, i.e. knowing Christ through his word and obeying him.
And not as Piper has put it, simply receiving him as "sin forgiver (because they love being guilt-free" or as "rescuer-from-hell (because they love being pain free)" or as "healer (because they love being disease-free)" or as "protector (because they love being safe)" or as "prosperity-giver (because they love being wealthy)" or as "creator (because they want a personal universe)" or as "Lord of history (because they want order and purpose)".
We can only receive him as "supremely and personally valuable for who he is", nothing other than to proclaim in the Holy Spirit that Jesus is Lord (1 Cor 12:3) and bearing spiritual fruits as a result.
Have we received Jesus as who he is, nothing more, nothing less? Have I received him for who he is? Do I love him with all my heart, soul and mind that I treasure him above all else, as well as translating that love into obedience and love for others?
I do but I struggle, do you?