Monday, 19 March 2007


I watched John Piper's "A Generation Passionate for God's Holiness" on Google Video tonight. As a rule, I steer way clear of the usual "generation, rise up!" hype because it is so often made up of emotional propaganda rather than substance. I gave this video a go because it made Google's "movers and shakers" list, which I thought was quite a feat, and Piper proceeded to prove me very happily wrong! I tried to upload it here, but the file was too big. If anyone has a chance to watch it, do! Here's the link:

I have to admit I've been slogging my way through a quagmire of selfishness, laziness, and personal chaos lately. I've been dull, struggling to remember what I've seen in moments of clarity, but coming up numb. John Piper made me homesick with his descriptions of the Holy God who has, at times, shown himself to me in gasping loveliness and rich, humming vibrance. I miss him.

Piper laments the fact that our generation knows so little even of what holiness is, and hence our sense of who God is, is skewed and warped. We see God as having a higher position than us, but not as being infinitely higher in essence. We see him as a human with superpowers. True. We look at God as a king - when the kings of our world have toppled, one and all, and the few figureheads that remain are so impotent and ridiculous - is it any wonder that our poor, ineffective idea of God has been revealed as a humbug? No, God is no king in mere position as are the kings of earth; rather, he is higher than us in his very essence as that thing in nature is that we bow before in our deep heart's core whether we want to or not. If we only admit it, all but the most depraved of human beings has a sense of the very wonderful and vast and deep and terrible when we experience the natural world. The most intelligent and sensitive to the dullest, least-educated among us are alike struck in our souls at that "something" in nature that asserts itself as superior to us - better, higher, more pure in its very essence.

This is the holy God, the Creator.

Because we are so dulled to even the idea of holiness, our understanding of God and his purposes is dim. Piper apologizes for his generation, who has left to the world no clue that the gospel - the "good news" of Jesus Christ's death on the cross and his triumph over sin and death is NOT ABOUT US. Shocking, that! We have indeed been told, and patted ourselves smugly in believing, that God just loved us so much that he HAD to sacrifice his Son for us - even that he FELL in love with dear old us!

The death of the Lord Jesus was an act of obedience and love to his Father - God. God gave his own beloved Son in love to a world that had already rejected him because he seeks glory and worship for the Christ! The Holy Spirit is gathering those worshippers even now, one by one, out of love for the Holy God and to the glory of the Son. God punished his Son for my sin because of who HE is, not because of who I am.

Who is he?

He is Love. Holy, pure, high, beautiful. Worthy, alone, of glory and honour and wealth and power and praise. When the paper hangings of time are torn apart by the richness of reality, then we will see for ourselves that God is not merely higher, but in himself, the perfection of Love. At that time, reality will come rushing upon us as a flood, and choice will disintegrate in the clearness of the Light, and every knee in heaven and under heaven will bow in acknowledgement of who he is - the God who is Holy.

He is the One that you long for, underneath the petty "wants" that stretch across that aching void in your soul like a piece of plywood across a gaping cavern. Your need of him is that cavern, which threatens to swallow you up in the cold, secret, desperate moments when you wrap yourself in the inadequacy of thoughts full of popular opinion and fevered self-determinism. He knows you deeply, and loves you not because you are lovely, but because he is Love. He loves you with all your chaos and selfishness, because He is Love, and Love is the highest that there is.

What a loss, that we who know him, know him so little! What are we telling our generation about God? What is he, to us? If we but catch a glimpse of the Holy One who sits upon the throne; whose train filled the temple; whose glory fills the whole earth - we will lay our hearts and our lives down at his feet, and cry with the angels before him, "Holy, holy, holy!"


joeyanne said...

I love what you said about God being the One we long for beneath our own petty "wants". Our need for Him is a cavern we try to cover with paper-thin self-satisfaction and entertainment. When I read, "what a loss that we who love Him, love Him so little," I felt as though you could see into my life. It is my loss that I spurn Him for self-indulgence. He alone can fill the void in my life and in my soul. If I am not filled with Him, it is not because He cannot fill that void, it is because I am trying to put something else there. Why do I struggle with this when I know what I need? My "old self" is stronger than I would like. But I keep feeding it. Thanks for the clarity. (again).

Kathleen said...

The video of John Piper is definitely worth the 32 minutes. It really 'blew me away'. I am ashamed that I ever took part in the mainstream fundamentalist christianity that has robbed a whole generation and maybe more of the opportunity to know the one true God. Our finite minds cannot take in His holiness because it is so foreign to our limited knowledge. I wholeheartedly recommend watching it and letting its message change our thinking and consequently our lives. Thanks.