Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Great "Therefore" of The Resurrection: Excerpts from Piper's book 'A Godward Life' 4/4

Here is the last article I would like to share with all of us, which I feel is very important. The article is entitled The Great "Therefore" of the The Resurrection: Pondering the Consequences of Ideas.

Victor Frankl was imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Dachau during the Second World War. As a Jewish professor of neurology and psychiatry he became world renowed for his book, Man's Search for Meaning, which sold more than eight million copies. In it he unfolds the essence of his philosophy that came to be called Logotherapy — namely; that the most fundamental human motive is to find meaning in life. He observed in the horrors of the camps that man can endure almost any "how" of life if he has a "why", but there is a less well-known quote that may be just as profound: "I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers."

In other words, ideas have consequences that bless or destroy. People's behavior — good and bad — does not come from nowhere. It comes from prevailing views of reality that take root in the mind and bring forth good or evil. This is why some of us put such a high premium on teaching. It is why we preach the way we do and care so deeply about issues of truth. (Bold added)

One of the ways that the Bible makes plain the truth that ideas have practical consequences is by saying things like, "Whatever was written in earlier times was written... that... we might have hope" (Romans 15:4). The ideas presented in the Scriptures produce the practical consequence of hope. Again, Paul says, "The goal od our instruction is love" (1 Timothy 1:5). The imparting of ideas by "instruction" is meant to produce love. Hope and love do not come from nowhere. They grow out of ideas — views of reality — revealed in the Scriptures and applied in the power of God's Spirit.

Another way the Scriptures show us that ideas have consequences is by using the word "therefore" (1,039 times in the NASB). For example, "Therefore having being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). "Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow" (Matthew 6:34). "Therefore, do not fear, you are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:31). "Therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you" (Matthew 7:12). "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore (Romans 14:13). "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body" (Romans 6:12). "Therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthains 6:20). "Therefore whether we love or die, we are the Lord's " (Romans 14:8).

Every one of these great "therefores" flows from a view of reality. If we want to live in the power of these great practical "therefore", we must be gripped by the ideas — the views of reality — that go before them and support them.

One of the most important ideas in the universe is found in 1 Corinthains 15:51-58 — the resurrection and a precious "therefore" that flows from it: "Behold, I tell you a mystery, we will not be asleep, but we will be changed, in a moment, in the twinking of an eye, at the last trumpet... 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through out Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."

The greatest vision of reality — the greatest idea — is Christ triumphant over sin, guilt death, and hell. O to be utterly gripped and guided by this great ground of steadfastness!

The END!

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