Monday, August 4, 2014

The Godward Focus of Faithfulness

I preached at Dawson Covenant Church (DCC) yesterday. (I can't find any better pictures...)
  It is the church that Emma and I have, for a year now, been adopted as one of their "domestic missionaries".  We are grateful and excited for this, and pray that the gospel might increase and be more known as a result.   It also happens to be the church where my mother is a member, which means I am gladly familiar with many people in the church since my 'younger days'.

I spoke on God's Faithfulness and, with a little help from Piper, entitled my sermon "The Godward Focus of Faithfulness".  The Piper help was that I completely stole the title from a short article Piper wrote, which I forgot to mention yesterday [so, DCC people: "I stole the name" :) ].

Anyways, here is the article which gave the impetus for piggy-backing on the 125 years that DCC is celebrating as a church.  It's point is primarily this: God is faithful to his name and glory before he is faithful to us.  He is most ultimately concerned with his glory, more than anything else.  This is good, because it means we (if you are in Christ through faith) get Him in all his fullness of joy for all of eternity.  It is the best news there can be.

So here it is...

The Godward Focus of Faithfulness

One of my long-standing dissatisfactions with the focus of biblical theology is the habit of tracing God’s faithfulness only as far back as his covenant-keeping. Righteousness (tsedeqa) is portrayed as covenant-keeping. Love (hesed) is portrayed as covenant-keeping. Faithfulness (emet) is portrayed as covenant-keeping.
This has an ill-effect. It skews biblical revelation by making God’s relation with man seem more ultimate than God himself. There is always something more ultimate than God’s faithfulness to his covenant, namely, God’s faithfulness to God.
If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. (2Timothy 2:13)
Here is how Jeremiah pleads for God’s covenant-keeping mercy:
“Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
do not dishonor your glorious throne;
remember and do not break your covenant with us.” (Jeremiah 14:21)
Beneath covenant-keeping there is a more ultimate foundation: God’s allegiance to his name—God’s jealousy for the honor of the glory of his throne.
This emphasis on God’s allegiance to his own name and glory behind his allegiance to his covenant and his people, is desperately needed in a day when we are spring-loaded by nature and culture to make ourselves ultimate: “Of course, God will keep his covenant, he made it with us!”
There is a great biblical antidote for our pride. God keeps covenant for his name’s sake:
“Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name” (Ezekiel 36:22).
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.

No comments:

Post a Comment