What is the ultimate goal of the gospel? Is it saving people from hell? Is it walking in accordance with God’s commands? Though both of these are part of the gospel, if our only goal is to live a righteous life and to escape hell, we would be missing the truth of Christianity. In God is the Gospel, John Piper reminds us that “the highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gifts would be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoyment.” Everything we do and say should be focused on God, because He is the only one who is worthy.
The gospel is “good news”. We all know this, and we have heard it over and over. But why is it good? Without God at the center, the life and death of Jesus would have no meaning. If Jesus’ death is sufficient to pay the price for our sins, but there is no eternal enjoyment of God, “we are of all men most pitiable”, as Paul says.
Throughout the book, Piper shows from the scriptures that the gospel is all about God, in all of his three persons. He takes each facet of the gospel with which we are familiar, and emphasizes how each one should bring glory to God: the life of Christ, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and evangelism and missions. God has given us many gifts, but the gift of Himself is the greatest of all, and without that all the other gifts are useless.
John Piper also addresses our natural human tendency to focus on ourselves, rather than God. We often act like God is glorifying us—making us stronger and better and more admirable, when we ought to be glorifying God: holding him up as the strong one, the best, and the only truly admirable Being.
This is the type of book that is good to read just to refresh your mind. There is nothing ground-breaking, no breath-taking new insight for a doctrinally sound believer, but all of us get our focus off of God and onto ourselves far too often, and we need to be reminded of the true point of the gospel. No matter how many times we learn this truth, we always need to hear it again.
I was also delighted to learn a new word as I read: “ratiocination”, meaning “a judgement formed by the process of logic”