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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Transformed by Beholding the Glory of God

I recently finished reading “This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence” by John Piper. Wow, I have to say it is the best book on marriage I have ever read outside of the Bible. It is a book that is valuable for men and women, married, single, parents, and those who aren't parents. Indeed, Piper actually addresses all of these categories of people in this book. The book has universal appeal because it gets at the very purpose of human existence for everyone—to glorify God by imaging the gospel. As you can guess by the title, the primary focus of the book is how we image the gospel in marriage. This book does not contain 50 steps toward a better marriage, nor does it expound on the numerous societal benefits of marriage. Rather, it gives us something much deeper by giving us a glimpse into the wonder of God’s design for marriage in the greater scheme of His glory and our joy in knowing Him for all eternity. I love this quote from it:

“Focusing on the pragmatic effects of marriage undermines the very power of marriage to achieve the effects we desire. In other words, for the sake of all these beneficial practical effects, we should not focus on them. This is the way life is designed by God to work. Make him and the glory of His Son central, and you get the practical effects thrown in. Make the practical effects central, and you lose both.” P. 177

Isn’t that true for all things in life? “Make Him and the glory of His Son central, and you get the practical effects thrown in. Make the practical effects central and you lose both.”

Knowing and beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ, by the Holy Spirit, through the Word in worship is how we see practical fruit in our marriages, in our friendships, in our churches, and in all aspects of our lives. Here it is in Scripture:

2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 4:1-6 “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

For a more on this topic, check out this post by Kristian:

Dear Heavenly Father, You are glorious! Please show us your glory everyday through Jesus, through the Word, and by the power of your Spirit, . Show us what it means to worship you, God. Show us the beauty of your character and the gospel of your amazing grace and radical love. Transform us through worship. Show us the unforced rhythms of grace--that our transformation flows from beholding and worshipping you rather than by our efforts and plans. In Jesus' Precious Name, Amen

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