Those Whom He Justified He Also Glorified

“Many people want the skyscraper promise of Romans 8:28, many want the precious reality of eternal security. But they don’t want it on God’s terms. They want their security AND their sovereignty. They want God to step in at the end of their lives with sovereign power and give them glory, but they do not want him to step in now with his sovereign grace and make them holy.”  Listen Now:

Those Whom He Justified He Also Glorified by John Piper

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Pride and the providential control of God

God causes the Assyrians to waste away because of their wicked pride fullness (Isaiah 10:16–19 ESV).  What characterizes an arrogant, prideful heart?  I did it, I am strong & capable, I am smart & wise, I understand, I make things happen, I overcome, I am unopposed, I have the right perspective.  When we walk in pride we believe that our strength and savvy is what makes things happen.  See the emphasis on “I?”  ““By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I remove the boundaries of peoples, and plunder their treasures; like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones. My hand has found like a nest the wealth of the peoples; and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken, so I have gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved a wing or opened the mouth or chirped.”” (Isaiah 10:13–14 ESV)
There is coming a day when God will judge the Assyrians for their wickedness.  God (and Isaiah) seem to be OK with using one wicked people (Assyria) to judge another wicked people (Israel) and then turning around and judging the first wicked group (Assyria).  Only in the providential control and guidance of God does this make sense:  “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: “O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians when they strike with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. For in a very little while my fury will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. And the LORD of hosts will wield against them a whip, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb. And his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.”” (Isaiah 10:24–27 ESV)

God’s providential control precedes all human free choice

Assyria is the rod of God’s judgement against Israel.  God’s providential control precedes all human free choice.  God works through human will, but is not dependent upon us to accomplish His will.  The Assyrians wanted to attack the northern kingdom, God did not coerce them, but accomplishes His predetermined purposes through their free act.  “Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few;” (Isaiah 10:5–7 ESV).
God ordains Assyria to attack Israel and Judah as His judgement upon them for their haughty, hard hearts and then He judges Assyria for their arrogant heart.  “When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes.” (Isaiah 10:12 ESV).  Assyria fell in 612BC.  Assyria is nothing other than a tool in the Hands of the Almighty!  “Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!” (Isaiah 10:15 ESV)

Messiah is Coming!

The messiah is coming and He will transform the world:  Isaiah 11:1-16.  Characteristics?  “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,” (Isaiah 11:2 ESV) “And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD,” (Isaiah 11:3 ESV) “with righteousness he shall judge,” (Isaiah 11:4 ESV) “Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins,” (Isaiah 11:5 ESV) “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,” (Isaiah 11:6 ESV) “The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.” (Isaiah 11:8 ESV).  Empowered by the Spirit, delighting in God, judging rightly, faithful, peace will reign, oppression will end.  God will restore his dispersed people from across the globe!  God is mighty!  “And the LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching breath, and strike it into seven channels, and he will lead people across in sandals. And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.” (Isaiah 11:15–16 ESV)

Our pursuit of Christ is driven by joy

Our pursuit of Christ is driven by joy.  God is not out to destroy our joy, on the contrary, He is after our greatest joy.  Jesus is not just better than hardships, He is better than the best stuff in life – sex, good food & drink, fulfilling relationships, healthy marriages, great kids, etc.  The gospels are filled with statements calling us to loose our life in order to find true life.1   Yes, we must deny, follow, love everything less than Christ and be willing to give it all for Him and His kingdom.  The question is, “Why?”  Is it just our duty?  Is it just what is required?  Is it because Jesus does not want us to enjoy anything in this life?  No!  It is because Jesus is after our greatest joy.  He is calling us to exchange that which is fleeting and temporal for that which is ultimate, eternal joy.2

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1 As an example: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:24–26 ESV)
2 For further information, see Jesus is After our Joy.