"Am I excited about the cross because there God makes much of me, or am I excited about the cross because there I was purchased and freed to enjoy making much of the righteousness and the glory that is vindicated there, for me to see forever and ever? ... It is so liberating because I cease to be the foundation of my salvation. Rather the infinite worth of the righteousness of of God becomes the basis of my salvation. God's unswerving allegiance to uphold and to vindicate his glory for my enjoyment, is the foundation of my salvation. ... When God's exaltation of God in Christ is your joy, when God's exaltation of God in Christ at the cross is your joy, your joy can never fail."
Click here if you want to listen to the whole message and meditate on it yourself. Following is a very poor attempt to regurgitate Piper's message for you in briefer form and some of my reflections.
In this message, John Piper juxtaposes two "mindsets." By "mindset" he means mindset, emotional set, attitude set - a set all inclusive of our selves and our attitudes, which determines the way we view, respond to, and feel about the world - it is an orientation to the world. These two mindsets are the Biblical mindset and the secular mindset. The latter is one that begins with man, measuring all things by humanity, while the former begins with God, measuring everything by God. The one that you employ will determine everything you think and feel about everything, and Piper's message here is specific to the cross of Christ - what is the problem God is trying to solve in the sending and bruising of his son? Piper uses Romans 3 as his text for this message and speaks about God's righteousness.
"This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:25-26
There we see the answer - This was to show God's righteousness. The problem was that his righteousness needed showing, because he had passed over former sins.
Whoa. Take that in for a second. He had passed over former sins. So why is that a problem? God is being kind and that's a problem?
YES. God's righteousness would have gone down the tubes, so to speak, if he had not judged and convicted all of those sins he once "passed over." All would fall apart! By passing over our sin, God would be agreeing with our exchanging the glory of God for other things - the low value of his glory.
So Jesus came and was bruised so that God could glorify himself? Boy, that sounds egotistical, right? Maybe, but Piper argues that God's self exaltation is loving. And here we return to where we started.
When God's exaltation of God in Christ is your joy, when God's exaltation of God in Christ at the cross is your joy, your joy can never fail.
The cross was for God's sake, then ours. And it is for our sake because our joy is (or should be) in the worth and righteousness of God. *sigh* That's still a lot to take in. And the bottom line? It may be evident - it's all about God (the Biblical mindset).
So am I excited about the cross because there God makes much of me, or am I excited about the cross because there God makes much of himself? Oh, how so many view the former - the prideful, self-centered "gospel," and I admit to often being one who has held that view. I am prideful, and God, the past 6 months or so, has been revealing just how prideful and self-centered I am. The problem is that we often reduce the Gospel to a means to pump up our self esteem. Here in America it's all about how much good we feel about ourselves, especially for women, and there are always new confidence boosters and builders to self-esteem. But what's it worth, and more importantly, is it really working? I say no! When we base the cross on us we demean it's power and worth and validity. When we base the cross on us, our need for salvation, we ruin it for ourselves, especially our self-esteem. Because one day when we have a down moment, we realize we are not worthy of such sacrifice, and then it doesn't make sense to us and our self-esteem no longer has a basis. In reality, we have never been and never will be worth that sacrifice! But God's righteousness was worth it and it is to our benefit - to find life and love in God upholding his worth and glory and righteousness. AND THIS IS WHY our joy can NEVER be destroyed because God IS righteous and glorious and ALWAYS worthy. And our identity is in him and from him, and that should be from where we derive our confidence, our "self"-esteem - from God - God-confidence, God-esteem.
I could probably blabber on in circles with my unedited thoughts but I will spare you, hoping that this is plenty about which to ponder. Maybe when it has settled more in my mind and heart I will write further.