Monday, September 24, 2012

A Insightful Meditation on the Law and Our Sin by John Piper

I've been reading in a book by John Piper called, "Pierced by the Word".  It covers many different topics; a very helpful meditation book.  Anyways, this morning I read the chapter called, "How Does the Law Help me Know my Sin?"  It was a meditation on Romans 7:7-8.  It was really good and very thought provoking.  The way he worded some things was really helpful to me. So I thought I would post parts of it for your meditation as well!  :-)

Until God's law comes in and prohibits some of our desires ("You shall not covet"), our desires are not experienced as sin but as imperial demands that seem to have their own lawful standing.  Until God's law confronts this mutinous "law" we don't experience our desires as sin ("apart from the law sin lies dead," Romans 7:8).  "I want it, so I should have it."  This is inborn.  "Desire equals deserve," until God's law says, no.  You see this clearly in little children for whom it is very painful to learn that their desires are not law.

This points to the root sinful condition: independence from God, rebellion against God.  At root our sinful condition is the commitment to be our own god.  I will be the final authority in my life.  I will decide what is right and wrong for me; and what is good and bad for me; and what is true and false for me.  My desires express my sovereignty, my autonomy, and -though we don't usually say it- my presumed deity. 

This independence from God -this rebellion and presumed sovereignty and autonomy and deity- produces all kinds of covetousness.  This word "all (kinds)" sets us to thinking about how deviously covetousness can express itself.  We need to know this or we won't know our sin or ourselves. 

In general, there are two kinds of bad desire (covetousness) that the law stirs up, and both are expressions of our love affair with independence and self-exaltation. 

1. One is more obvious, namely, desires for the very things that are forbidden.  This is owing to our ingrained love of being our own god and our distaste for submission

2. The other kind of bad desire that the law stirs up is the desire to keep the law by our own strength with a view to exalting our own moral prowess.  This looks very different.  No stealing, no murder, no adultery, no lying.  Instead, just self-righteousness.  Not that keeping the law is evil or covetous.  No, the problem is the desire to keep it by my power. not in childlike reliance on God's power.  The problem is desiring the glory of my achievement, not God's.  That is a subtle form of covetousness. 

So know yourself!  Know your sins.  Know your sinful condition of rebellion and insubordination.  If this lead you (again and again) to the cross and the gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone, it will exalt Christ, be healing to your soul, and sweetening to all your relationships.   

~John Piper

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