Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Unsearchable Riches

For some reason, I do not gravitate to the books written by the popular religious authors of our day. Perhaps it is due to an unnecessary cautiousness on my part concerning certain segments of modern evangelicalism. For whatever reason, though, I did not jump on the John Piper bandwagon along with so many of my fundamentalist friends. Somewhere, though, I read a review of Piper’s God’s Passion for His Glory and decided to give it a read. I am so glad that I did – not for the introduction to Piper but for Piper’s introduction to Jonathan Edwards.

Like many people, my only exposure to Jonathan Edwards came from reading his Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God sermon, and from hearing preachers say that he was dull or monotone in his delivery. Frankly, I had a rather dim and unflattering view of this great man. Piper, however, changed all that.

For those of you who don’t know, God’s Passion for His Glory, begins with a warm-hearted biography of Edwards’ life and ends with a commentary on one of Edwards’ smaller works, The End for which God Created the World. Here was an introduction to a man who loved God supremely with all of his mind, will, and affections. It was exactly what I needed to spur me on towards a fuller knowledge of God and a desire for the unsearchable riches found in Christ.

The title of my blog comes from Ephesians 3:8, where Paul tells of the grace given to him to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. Jonathan Edwards preached on this passage in a sermon entitled, The Wisdom of God, Displayed in the Way of Salvation. I use an excerpt from this sermon as the subtext for my blog title. I thought I would share the larger context of that quote:

Here is food procured to answer all the appetites and faculties of our souls. God has made the soul of man of a spiritual nature. And therefore he needs a corresponding happiness, some spiritual object, in the enjoyment of which he may be happy. Christ has purchased the enjoyment of God, who is the great and original Spirit, as the portion of our souls. And he has purchased the Spirit of God to come and dwell in us as an eternal principle of happiness.

God has made man a rational, intelligent creature. And man needs some good that shall be a suitable object of his understanding for him to contemplate, wherein he may have full and sufficient exercise for his capacious faculties, in their utmost extent. Here is an object that is great and noble, and worthy of the exercise of the noblest faculties of the rational soul. — God himself should be theirs, for them forever to behold and contemplate. His glorious perfections and works are most worthy objects. And there is room enough for improving them, and still to exercise their faculties to all eternity. — What object can be more worthy to exercise the understanding of a rational soul, than the glories of the Divine Being, with which the heavenly intelligences and even the infinite understanding of God himself is entertained?

Our souls need some good that shall be a suitable object of the will and affections, a suitable object for the choice, the acquiescence, the love, and the joy of the rational soul. Provision is made for this also in this way of salvation. There is an infinitelyexcellent Being offered to be chosen, to be rested in, to be loved, to be rejoiced in, by us, even God himself, who is infinitely lovely, the fountain of all good; a fountain that can never be exhausted, where we can be in no danger of going to excess in our love and joy. And here we may be assured ever to find our joy and delight in enjoyments answerable to our love and desires.

To that I say, Amen. May I never seek to find my satisfaction in anything less.


At 5:12 PM, Blogger Will said...

If the negative connotation of the term "bandwagon" is reflective of Phil Johnson's recent tirades, I'm sorry to see it. Some "bandwagons" aren't so bad. I'm very grateful that Edwards has caught your attention. Don't be afraid to let Piper catch your attention just because he's popular. I'm glad I found your blog, Andy, and I look forward to interacting with you in the future. Small world.

At 5:44 PM, Blogger Andy Efting said...

Hey Wil, thanks for your comment. I see your Dad just about every year at the Wilds golf tournament.

My "bandwagon" comment didn't have anything to do with Phil Johnson. I am not enamored with conservative evangelicalism, however, and so I don't rush out to buy their books. I have found Piper helpful, though, and appreciate much of what he writes. I would just rather read Edwards directly, even though he's a harder read. :)


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