From John Piper’s ‘50 Reasons Jesus came to die‘.
When all is said and done, God is the gospel. Gospel means “good news.” Christianity is not first theology, but news. It is like prisoners of war hearing by hidden radio that the allies have landed and rescue is only a matter of time. The guards wonder why all the rejoicing.
This is crucial. Many people seem to embrace the good news without embracing God. There is no sure evidence that we have a new heart just because we want to escape hell. That’s a perfectly natural desire, not a supernatural one. 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. All these things are understandable without any spiritual change. You don’t need to be born again to want these things. The devils want them. It is not wrong to want them. Indeed it is folly not to. But the evidence that we have been changed is that we want these things because they bring us to the enjoyment of God. This is the greatest thing Christ died for. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
… Adoption is not good news if it only puts us in the Father’s family but not in his arms.
- All beings, devils included, desire heaven and eternal happiness. It is foolish not to want these things.
- However desiring such is no evidence we are born again.
- True evidence that we have been born again is that we desire God, not just what He can do for us.
- We desire things primarily because they bring us closer to God.
- It is perhaps like the child who desires a holiday at the beach firstly because he has more time with the father he loves and secondly because he loves the beach.
- Jesus came to reconcile us to God and so bring us to God who happens to be in Heaven. God is primary and heaven is secondary.
- The Gospel is good news because in it we find true happiness – and that happiness is found in God.