Blog Posts by John Piper
A Prayer for Japan
The scenes of the tsunami in Japan are apocalyptic:
The power of moving water is greater than most of us can imagine. Nothing stands before it. We are driven to our knees:
Father in heaven, you are the absolute Sovereign over the shaking of the earth, the rising of the sea, and the raging of the waves. We tremble at your power and bow before your unsearchable judgments and inscrutable ways.…
A Five-Pointer Shares the Gospel
Here’s a conversation between an unbeliever and an evangelist who believes in the doctrine of definite atonement (sometimes unhelpfully called “limited atonement”)—the biblical teaching that when Jesus died, God’s unalterable purpose was to cancel the sins and commute the death sentence of all whom he would give to the Son (John 6:39).
Unbeliever: So what are you offering me?
Evangelist: Salvation from God’s wrath and from your sin.…
What Bob Dylan Got Right
In 1979 Bob Dylan recorded the song "Gotta Serve Somebody." For those who listen with biblically informed ears the refrain echoes Paul and Jesus:
Paul: "You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness" (Romans 6:16).
Jesus: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other,…
Israel, Arabs, and the Family of God
Last Sunday I met an Arab Christian who was visiting our church. In a respectful way, he poured out his heart concerning the plight of his people in the Middle East and his sadness at how few American Christian pastors ever say anything positive or hopeful about Arab Christians.
His perception is that Christians in America give carte blanche support for Israel. No injustice against Palestinians or Arab Christians elsewhere…Continue Reading
Honoring Another Christian Death in Pakistan
This is my small tribute to another Christian killed for Christ’s sake. I read his story with great admiration. I pray that his death will not be in vain in my life and in Pakistan’s struggle for freedom.
Shahbaz Bhatti was the Minister for Minority Affairs in Pakistan, and a Christian. He was killed in Islamabad on Wednesday, March 2, 2011. He had opposed the Pakistani blasphemy laws that appoint…Continue Reading
I Act the Miracle
When it comes to killing my sin I don’t wait for the miracle, I Act the Miracle.
Acting a miracle is different from working a miracle. If Jesus tells a paralyzed man to get up, and he gets up, Jesus works a miracle. But if I am the paralyzed man and Jesus tells me to get up, and I obey and get up, I act the miracle. If I…Continue Reading
All Creation Betrothed to God
George Herbert died on this day in 1633. I return to his poetry for my own soul more, probably, than any poet outside the Bible.
In a poem called “Ungratefulness,” he shows how the Trinity and the Incarnation draw all the work of creation finally into God’s enjoyment.
Just as God exulted over his creation in the beginning with, “It is very good,” so in the end he…Continue Reading
The Gift of Victor Hugo
We have little hope that his spiritual pilgrimage led him to Christ and heaven. But in the providence of God, and by the grace he scatters so liberally among his adversaries, Hugo was brilliant in his blindness. The imago dei…Continue Reading
No, No, Augustine!
In Augustine’s Enchiridion, chapter 46, which I am listening to in spare moments, he says this:
Here lies the necessity that each man should be born again, that he might be freed from the sin in which he was born. For the sins committed afterwards can be cured by penitence, as we see is the case after baptism.
This is, if I understand him, misleading at best.
Not that…Continue Reading
God’s Love Is the Cause and Result of Ours
Do you believe both of these statements?
1. God loved us before we loved him, and not because we loved him.
2. God loves us in response to our love for him—because we love him.
They are both true.
Before I give you the texts to show it, the key in all such questions is to insist that you define terms and make necessary distinctions. The same words can mean…Continue Reading
Marriage and the Unthinkable
A 1951 laughable thought: In 60 years the President of the United States will refuse to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
A 2011 laughable thought: In 60 years the President of the United States will refuse to exclude from marriage a man and a chimp.
Are you laughing?Continue Reading
What Is Present When Kneeling to Pray in Jesus’ Name
Here’s what is present when we kneel to pray in Jesus’ name:
1. God the Father on his throne sovereign over the universe, with a welcoming, countenance focused on us.
2. God the Son in his high priestly role, standing as advocate before the throne as a Lamb that was slain with perfect righteousness and with all God’s promises purchased fully in his hand interceding for us.
3. God the…
Piper's Foreword to Crabtree's Practicing Affirmation
The point of being created in the image of God is that human beings are destined to display God. That’s what images do. And the point of being redeemed by Jesus, and renewed after the image of our Creator, is to recover this destiny.
But why? Surely not so that God’s handiwork in his people would go unnoticed or…Continue Reading
Brad Pitt: Why Emphasize God’s God-Centeredness
Pitt was raised a conservative Southern Baptist. For a while, his religion worked. But not for long.
Religion works. I know there's comfort there, a crash pad. It's something to explain the world and tell you there is something bigger than you,…
Beware: The Bible Is About to Threaten Your Smartphone Focus
Are apps a threat to God-focus? Yes. But it works both ways. Fight fire with fire.
If you are reading your Bible on your computer or your smartphone or your iPad, the presence of the email app and the news apps and the Facebook app threaten every moment to drag your attention away from the word of God.
True. Fight that. If your finger offends you, cut it off. Or…Continue Reading
What If Your Reputation Is Unjustly Bad?
[Jesus] told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and…
How Shall We Pray About the Upheavals in the Middle East?
In 1 Timothy 2:1–4, Paul connects prayer for “all who are in high positions” with a peaceful life for the followers of Jesus, and with his desire for all people to be saved.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and…
What We Learn from God Killing the Sons of Judah
The sons of Judah, Er and Onan, were wicked men, and the Bible says, the Lord killed them.
“Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death.” (Genesis 38:7)
“What Onan did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also.” (Genesis 38:10)
But what are we to understand from the statement that…Continue Reading
Womanizing vs. the “N” Word
Chronological smugness is the feeling that we have advanced to a moral condition higher than the generations before us. Shelby Steele has a good warning for us. We may not be advancing, but only reshuffling the vices about which we want to be relativistic or absolutistic.
I wondered if President Clinton would be defended with relativism if he had done what, according to gossip, Eisenhower was said to have done.
What About Reformed Racists?
All Christians sin. All churches are blind to some of their sins. None of us is in a position to claim our theology is true because of the quality of our lives. Truth is grounded in God’s word, not our works.
While it is true that “you shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16), it is not true that you shall know their theology by their fruits. Man’s…Continue Reading
John Piper's Poem for His Wife on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day, 2011
Your Most Common Prayer for Your Soul?
Do you have a main prayer for yourself that you come back to again and again?
Mine changes only slightly from year to year. Different words come to mind with different meditations on the central truth of the Bible. But the heart of it has not changed for many years. It always circles back to “Hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9).
The way I prayed it this morning was:
The Ministry of Reminding—Myself
One of the great enemies of hope is forgetting God’s promises. Reminding is a great ministry. Peter and Paul wrote for this reason (2 Peter 1:13; Romans 15:15).
The main reminder is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). But don’t be passive. You are responsible only for your own ministry of reminding. And the first one in need of reminding by you is you.
The mind has this great power: It…Continue Reading
At Least Be as Smart as a Bush
In the debates over evolution, be sure you do not become less intelligent than the beasts, the birds, the bushes, and the fish. They know something the brilliant godless do not know.
But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare…
God’s Moral Will and Sovereign Will
I would like to help you distinguish between God’s moral will and his sovereign will. This will help you make sense of the apparent contradiction between these two statements:
1. God does all things according to his will (sovereign will).
“He does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand” (Daniel 4:35).
“Our God is in…