I read something the other day that I can not get enough of. And for fear of diluting it, I’m just going to copy it straight out of his book, and give it to you untainted. What follow is an excerpt out of John Piper’s book, “The Passion of The Christ.”
The great conclusion to the suffering and death of Christ is this: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ” (Romans 8:1). To be “in Christ” means to be in relationship to Him by faith. Faith in Christ unites us to Christ so that His death becomes our death and His perfection becomes our perfection. Christ becomes our punishment (which we don’t have to bear) and our perfection (which we can not perform).
Faith is no the ground of our acceptable with God. Christ alone is. Faith unites us to Christ so that his righteousness is counted as ours. “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ in order to be justified by faith in Christ and no by the works of the law, because by works of the law no one can be justified” (Galatians 2:16). Being “justified by faith” and being “justified in Christ” are parallel terms. We are in Christ by faith, and therefore justified.
When the question is asked, “Who is to condemn?” the answer is assumed. No one! Then the basis is declared: “Christ Jesus is the one who died!” The death of Christ secures our freedom from condemnation. It is as sure that we cannot be condemned as it is sure that Christ died. There is no double jeopardy in God’s court. We will not be condemned twice for the same offenses. Christ has died once for our sins. We will not be condemned for them. Condemnation is gone not because there isn’t any, but because it has already happened.
But what about condemnation by the world? Is that no an answer to the question, “Who is to condemn?” Aren’t Christians condemned by the world?There have been many martyrs. The answer is that no one can condemn us successfully. Charges can be brought, but none will stick in the end. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33). It’s the same as when the Bible asks “Who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger or sword?” (Romans 8:35). The answer is not that these things don’t happen to Christians. The answer is: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
The world will bring condemnation. They may even put their sword behind it. But we know that the highest court has already ruled in our favor. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). No one successfully. If they reject us, He accepts us. If they hate us, He loves us. If they imprison us, He sets our spirits free. If they afflict us, He refines us by the fire. If they kill us, He makes it a passage to paradise. They cannot defeat us. Christ has died. Christ has risen. We are alive in Him. An in him there is no condemnation. We are forgiven, and we are righteous.
“And the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1).
This video is not for the faint hearted. I pray though that we would come to know and see and hear the Truth of the real Gospel, and that we would be made fully alive, set free, and completely satisfied by the Giver.
I really don’t know how I came across this video, but I do know why I did. Despite the fact that I have argued against the biblical and theological fallacies of the “Prosperity Gospel,” I have been praying and thinking as though it were in fact truth. And this video tipped me off.
What I have asked for in prayer has dictated my praise when left unmet or unanswered. And that’s a problem. If I am totally honest, I would have to admit that my feeling of worth in God’s eyes is diminished when He says “no.” Why? Because He didn’t love me enough to give me what I wanted. And there in lies the problem– He was not all I wanted for total satisfaction. I wanted what He could do or provide. I loved the gift more than the Giver. I was and have been an idolater of many things; I have been near-sighted far too long. I have insisted on playing in mud puddles when a gracious and merciful God has beckoned me to the ocean (reference CS Lewis).
I have idolized what I have created as good, as “enough-for-now” when God Himself waits to bless with me with more than I dare ask for or hope.
God, may we trust you wholeheartedly, with all that we are and everything we have. It is all yours; do with it what you please. May you use us to bring glory and honor to your name.