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Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ Hardcover – September 12, 2008
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"When it comes to holocausts or other horrors, most of us assume God has his hands tied and his back to the wall. We figure the devil wreaks havoc when God's not looking; we rationalize the Lord's 'mistakes,' figuring he absentmindedly took his hands off the wheel when tragedies happen. But John Piper paints a different picture from the pages of Scripture that will strengthen your heart, bolster your faith, and deepen your understanding of the 'largeness' of God's sovereignty."
—Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder and CEO, Joni and Friends International Disability Center
"I had to read this book twice. The weighty truths about the sovereign wisdom and power of God unpacked in these pages created in me an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and ultimate safety. To be reminded of his might over everything is priceless, and I don't think I'll ever be able to preach the same again."
—Matt Chandler, Pastor, The Village Church; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network
"Pastors, make sure your people read this book! I know of no one who has so clearly addressed the relationship of man's sin and God's sovereignty as John has done in Spectacular Sins."
—Randy Pope, Pastor, Perimeter Church, Duluth, GA
"Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. Wow! Spectacular and sin! I've never seen those words together before. And who but John Piper could so brilliantly weave them into the same lyric as the global, purposeful glory of Christ! This man never ceases to inspire me to be more awestruck with the supremacy of Jesus."
—Chris Tomlin, Recording Artist, Song-writer and Lead Worshiper
About the Author
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He served for 33 years as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, God Is the Gospel, and Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ.
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The world is rapidly changing. Christianity has lost it’s moral voice and authority in America and the West, and we find ourselves living in a country and world that is progressively hostile towards us. Orthodox Christian beliefs are now seen as bigoted, oppressive, and repressive. Christian Fire Marshals are being fired for the views on marriage, private businesses are being forced to serve those with whom their conscience and Bible disagree, private Christian Universities are being urged to changed their views on homosexuality or risk losing Federal funding, ISIS is beheading, clearing out, and murdering Christians, women, and children. Indeed it must be this way. Paul tells Timothy, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). For servants are not greater than their masters. If they persecuted Jesus, they most certainly will persecute his followers (paraphrase of John 15:20).
How are we to think about this changing wave of moralism that we find ourselves in? What is God’s purpose in these global acts of terror? What is ours role for the future? Where is our peace? Piper argues that our peace must be found and anchored in the sovereign God of the Bible. Not the wimpy western version; but the all-powerful, earth-shaping, universe-speaking into existence, wave-calming, dead-raising, life-breathing, sovereign creator God. He wants you to know, see, savior, and trust in the sovereignty of God - especially His sovereignty over sin. “My prayer is that as these great historical vistas of God’s sovereignty over sin take their place in your mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition…I pray that the Lord will weave chords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul” (pg. 97).
There are four impulses behind this book that Piper wants you to know about.
Why does God want us to know His sovereignty over sin?
Why does God not restrain sin more often?
How can we have faith and joy during the severity of the last days?
How was Christ glorified in a world of sin?
Piper answers these questions by looking at God’s sovereignty in five stories:
The Disobedience of Adam
The Fall of Babel
The Sale of Joseph into Slavery
The Sinful Origin of the Son of David
The Betrayal of Judas, the Suicide of Satan, and the Salvation of the World.
If you’ve never studied the sovereignty of God I would recommend you start here. The book is short, just a little over one hundred pages, which makes for a quick read. And the writing is more pastoral than academic.
The sovereignty of God is not just a study of an attribute of God. It frames the events of the world within the all-powerful, good, steady, and righteous hands of God. It is an essential doctrine to understand. Not understanding God’s sovereignty over sin, world-events, life, death, and everything else in between, leads to burnout, frustration, a lack of joy, and possibly drifting from the faith. The western church - over the past 70 years of so - has been fed a wimpy version of God. A God that is more about you than Him. A God that serves you and lives for you. Yes, God loves you, but He doesn’t live for you. God is about God! And that is the greatest truth for every man, woman, and child. This wimpy theology leads to a default prosperity theology. And when that happens, once trials and hardships come - and they will come - you will feel abandoned by God. As Piper exhorts, “If pestilence takes out tens of thousands of my fellow citizens and half my church, my mental and spiritual survival will depend on more than the precious gifts of God’s intimacy” (pg.14).
Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ is a readable, introductory work into the sovereignty of God. Buy it today and allow God’s sovereignty to be a warm blanket for your souls on cold nights.
In a world where God is often blamed for all the horrific things that occur every day, John Piper makes it easier to understand that only an All powerful and merciful God can take man's most malevolent acts and turn them into something good in order that we may see His glory manifested.. John Piper makes it easier to see and be aware of our sinful and self serving nature (yes, every single one of us) in a realm where it's reining prince seduces us into sin with the carnal pleasures he can offer. He gives examples throughout history from the kings of Israel and their fateful decisions, even God's beloved King David's fall from grace, to current world events such as the unthinkable destruction of the World Trade Center and its aftermath, how God's hand can be seen working in the midst of chaos.
The author writes "The apex of the glory of Christ is the glory of his grace--treating people infinitely better than they deserve--Giving himself for the everlasting joy of the worst of sinners, who will have Him as their highest Treasure. The apex of this grace is the murder of the God-man in Jerusalem around A.D.33. The death of Jesus Christ was murder. .the most spectacular sin ever committed..The worst sin served to show the greatest glory of Christ and obtain the sin-conquering gift of God's Grace."
His the author's) purpose in writing Spectacular Sins, is "to build a vision of God into our lives that will not let us down in the worst of times, to open our eyes to the fact that cataclysmic events and personal catastrophes are coming and to prepare us for the events to come." Piper writes in a manner that is easy to relate to of our need to turn to God and His Holy Word (in order to prepare spiritually) in the difficult times that are approaching. We keep hearing this, and many are "prepping" and urging others to do so by stockpiling foods. arms etc., but few (even God-fearing people) urge us to seek comfort and wisdom from the Bible. God tells us repeatedly in His Holy Word, says Piper, that "in some unfathomable way, He (God) governs the sinful acts of men." John Piper is a man on a mission and in my opinion, his easy to read writing style, accomplishes it.
This review, due to its brevity, does not adequately describe what this concise but potent book can do to calm a troubled heart. I recommend this book to all persons who try to avoid thinking about end-times events and are confused about God's role in them. Be aware that What we don't know definitely can harm us. Piper gives insight into these events. This book will change your attitude about your future and reassure you that God, the Creator of the universe, is in control of all things. I assure you you will not regret reading it. I certainly don't.
Piper is prophetic in this book. Guys, we need the full Gospel, the full Bible taught and in it, you will find that God wants us to life quiet and respectful lives preparing for war against the devil. Like soldiers, we train daily through the Bible for our battles with each struggle God guiding us through sanctification for his glory. Piper reminds me of that old adage, "you fight the way you train." This book is worth your while.