This is a perfect book to read 50 days before Easter. Seeing that Easter came earlier this year, I didn't get the adequate jump I needed on it. So, I am cranking out more than one each day. But, with this Piper reading you can do just that. Each "chapter" is 2 pages long. It is an easy read, but a harder read to comprehend and live by. So, here are my thoughts on 1-25.
To absorb the wrath of God: "We have all loved other things more. This is what sin is - dishonoring God be preferring other things over him, and acting on those preferences. Therefore, sin is not small, because it is not against a small Sovereign." Oft times I think I am better than some other people because I haven't done a particular sin or two. But, oh what I must remember is that any sin is the same because the sin is against the same God.
To Learn Obedience and Be Perfected: "But His heart was perfectly in love with God, and He acted consistently with that love." That is my problem - I am not perfectly in love with God - I am in love with other things that don't give me that complete joy - and I act consistently with that love - and it leaves me empty - it brings no complete joy.
To Show the Wealth of God's Love and Grace For Sinners - "The measure of His love for us increases still more when we consider our unworthiness." Only God's grace is big enough to cover me. It wasn't for me - it was God's rich grace.
To Become a Ransom for Many - "Yet not everyone will be ransomed from the wrath of God. But the offer is for everyone. There is one mediator between God and men - the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. No one is excluded from this salvation who embraces the treasure of the ransoming Christ." - This is where the proclamation of the gospel and the duty of man to do just that comes in. Some people say Calvinists - or reformed people - don't witness as much. I've heard it just the opposite - we should witness more. Because we compelled to know that it isn't us - it is a much bigger God - and He can save whomever He chooses.
For the Forgiveness of Our Sins - "Oh, how precious is the news that God does not hold our sins against us." I love the word Oh! It is so descriptive and so little. This reminds me of the verse is Lamentations 3 where it says that His mercies are new every morning.
To complete the Obedience that Becomes Our Righteousness - "Let us admire him and treasure him and trust him for this great achievement." The treasure part to me is important in the negating of sins. If I treasured Christ the way I should - I wouldn't harbor sins and love sin the way I do.
To Take Away our Condemnation - "Condemnation is gone not because there isn't any, but because it has already happened." Piper is referring to Rom 8.1 here. I realized when I read this line today that I often say and use Rom 8.1 so flippantly when it comes to the Christian life. Oh, how horrible I am that I would make such light of the death of Jesus. He took our condemnation for us - its not like there never was any - its just already been paid. May I be mindful of this.
To Bring Us To Faith and Keep Us Faithful - "Jer 32.40 - I will make with them an everlasting covenant...I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me." I wrote at the bottom of the page - do I not know the fear of God when I sin (and I listed specific sins to me)? Oh, that it would do me good to remember this every minute of every day and to live in the Spirit in order to be killing sin (as Owens would say).
To Make Us Holy, Blameless, and Perfect - "One of the greatest heartaches in the Christian life is the slowness of our change." One would think that the longer you've been a Christian the less you would sin. As I was discussing with my friend the other day - I think I sin more. But, as a wise Greek scholar from Southeastern put it - the more we walk with Christ the more we will be aware of our sin and therefore we will be more mindful of it and be more appalled by it as well. I say that if a day goes by without me being convicted of sin then something is wrong - its not that I am perfect - but I must not be in tune with the Spirit to hear Him convict.
To Obtain for Us All Things That Are Good for Us - My favorite verse - Rom 8.32 - "What then does it mean that because of Christ's death for us God will certainly with him graciously give us all things? It means that he will give us all things that are good for us. All things that we really need in order to be conformed to the image of his Son. All things we need in order to attain everlasting joy." Then I could probably list everything this verse doesn't mean as well. This is not the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel - this is the conforming to the image of Christ and his death gospel.
To Bring Us To God - "If our best joy comes from something less, we are idolaters and God is dishonored. Turn from the fleeting pleasures of sin and come to pleasures forevermore. Come to Christ." I think of the Cameron Crazies or any other fanatical sports people - like me. I can get so excited about many sports events. Oh, that I may get even more excited about the work and person of Christ.
Come back later for 26-50 (as you can see, there aren't 25 here, and I doubt there will be 25 in the Part 2). Just giving you a taste to see what you are missing if you haven't read this.