Piper’s Augustinian Tulip

John Piper makes a strong case that we need to get more of Augustine’s doctrine of “Sovereign Joy” in our reformed theology. Augustine defined grace as, “the free gift of sovereign joy in God that triumphs over and breaks the bondage of sin in our lives!”
Listen to Piper’s plea:

“We need to understand and make clear that Total Depravity is not just badness, it’s deadness to joy, blindness to beauty! We need to understand and make clear that Unconditional Election means that the completeness of our joy in Jesus was planned for us before the foundation of the world! We need to understand and make clear that Limited Atonement is the assurance that Christ’s infallable work on the cross will secure joy for us infallably, forever! We need to understand and make clear that Irresistible Grace, is committment, and power, and love, that God has towards us so that we will not stay in the bondage of suicidal pleasures! It is God’s way of saying, “I have something better for you!” Why is this such an issue of free will? That should not matter that we lose free will because we gain infinite joy on the other side! We need to understand and make clear that Perseverance of the Saints is the almighty work of God, through all the affliction and suffering of the life, so that we will not be lost to an inheritance of pleasures at God’s right hand forevermore!”

“How sweet it was, all at once, for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose, You drove them from me, You who are the true Sovereign Joy, You drove them from me and took their place! My Lord, My God, My Joy, My Salvation!” (Augustine)

May we be so consumed by sovereign grace! You can read the rest of the sermon here.

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Love God and Do WHAT?

What? is the usual response to reading this quote from St. Augustine.  Before you join those ranks of those who believe such foolish things, allow yourself to hear this logic to its proper end.

The Biblical ground this quote comes from asking a simple question.  When one loves God what does one please (like, enjoy) to do?  Most of the time the answer is simple – the one who loves God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength is pleased in doing that which pleases God.  Now of course we all know that this is not 100% true because we are after all still sinners and though the blood of Christ has cleansed us of all guilt. shame, and punishment, once and for all, the power of canceled sin still holds much sway in all of our hearts.  But down deep in the heart of every Christian, what is the greatest, most foundational desire in existence?  God.  God to be glorified, to be magnified, to be treasured, enjoyed, cherished, loved, and admired among all the nations and peoples of the earth.

This person, by doing what they please, does what pleases God.

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