“It’s the line between God-cherishing gratitude and gift-cherishing idolatry.”
Piper’s thinking in God is the Gospel is not novel, tracing back at least as far as Augustine. But it is quite on target. We tend to exalt the gift over the Giver (oh, what insane people we are). We have a tendency to shrink God’s glory by making all His gifts about us. We think of things in terms of how they benefit us. That is okay, if we then use that to direct us back to God, the Giver. What I mean is, we are far more concerned with ourselves than God is. We worship ourselves, and so have a tendency to use God to get our way. This is idolatry just as much as bowing down to Baal, Chemosh or Asherah.
“The ultimate aim of the incarnation was that through Christ people would see the Lordship of Christ and the glory of God.”
From Romans 5:10-11, Piper shows that the goal of reconciliation “is that we ‘rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ God is the focus of the reconciliation.”
“It doesn’t take a new heart to want the psychological relief of forgiveness, or the removal of God’s wrath, or the inheritance of God’s world.”
This last one ought to rock our world. It does, however, take a new heart to want God Himself, and to receive Him on God’s terms. Evangelism often offers people things they may already want, but not God Himself, and offered on terms they can live with.
“So nothing can separate us from Christ’s love, not because Christ’s love protects us from harm, but because it protects us from the ultimate harm of unbelief and separation for the love of God. The gospel gift of God’s love is better than life.”
Piper sums it up this way: “The aim of the gospel is not an easy life. It is a deeper knowledge of God and deeper trust in God.”
God brings us through difficult straits, trials that deepen our knowledge and trust of God. We need to go deeper, but we don’t unless pain goads on us. As long as life is comfortable, we seek God at our convenience. Suffering propels His children to seek Him intently and intensely.