Blog Posts by John Piper

A Whole World Hangs on a Word

John Piper

Sometimes a whole world — a whole theology — hangs on a word.

Consider the word “this” in Ephesians 2:8. Does it refer to “faith” or “grace” or both? Is faith a gift of God?

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from you; it is the gift of God.

What does “this” refer to? “And this is not from you; it is the gift of God.” What is its antecedent? The question…

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Hijacking Back Your Brain from Porn

John Piper

Last week I wrote about the physiological dimension of addiction to pornography. New brain research suggests it is as strong as addiction to cocaine and heroin because of its unique combination of stimulant and opiate. Pornography lays down real physiological paths in the brain. All sexual experience tends to migrate to these paths.

I concluded that none of this brain research takes God by surprise. He designed the interplay between the brain and the soul. Discoveries of the connections…

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Pornography: The New Narcotic

John Piper

The new narcotic. Morgan Bennett just published an article by this title. The thesis:

Neurological research has revealed that the effect of internet pornography on the human brain is just as potent — if not more so — than addictive chemical substances such as cocaine or heroin.

To make matters worse, there are 1.9 million cocaine users, and 2 million heroin users, in the United States compared to 40 million regular users of online pornography.

Here’s why the addictive…

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How to Be Interesting and Unhelpful

John Piper

The point of this little exhortation is that, in handling the Scriptures, sanctification and speculation rise and fall in inverse proportion. As speculation increases, sanctification decreases. The more guessing the less blessing.

Few people would give their life for a speculation. Few will gouge out an eye or cut off a hand, because of a guess. Suppositions make weak expositions.

Here’s the sort of thing I have in mind.

Preachers, teachers, and Bible study leaders are sometimes tempted to speculate…

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Does “Mere Christianity” Mean Eliminate Denominations?

John Piper

For many years my conviction has been that Christian unity and Christian truth are served best not by removing fences, but by loving across them and having welcoming gates. I don’t claim to do it well. I want to do it better.

The point is that minimizing truth, or filing down its clear edges, or blending it all into one indistinguishable mass, or focusing on prayer, service, and mission, rather than truth — none of these produces unity that honors…

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The Strange Glory of Ordinary Things

John Piper

Clyde Kilby was born September 26, 1902. He may have been my most influential teacher when I was in college. But then again it may have been Stuart Hackett. Kilby was a romantic — like C. S. Lewis. Hackett was a rationalist — like C. S. Lewis. One taught literature, the other taught philosophy. One taught me to see with the eyes of a poet. The other taught me the ubiquitous relevance of the law of non-contradiction.

I thank God…

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Don’t Do God’s Will Like an Atheist

John Piper

After my message to the Liberty University student body last week, a perceptive student asked this clarifying question: So you don’t believe that altruistic acts are possible or desirable?

I asked for his definition of altruism so that I could answer what he was really asking. He said, “Doing a good deed for others with no view to any reward.” I answered: that’s right, whether or not it’s possible, I don’t think it’s desirable, because it’s not what the Bible…

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Does God Desire All to Be Saved? (New Book from John Piper)

John Piper

This extended excerpt is from the introduction to John Piper’s Does God Desire All to Be Saved? — now available in paperback and as a free PDF from Crossway and Desiring God.

When climbing from lowlands to mountaintops, one must often pass through clouds. That’s the way it has been for me all my life as I have tried to get the best views of the glory of God.

When you enter a layer of clouds, it helps to have…

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C.S. Lewis: The Dinosaur, the Parthenon, and the Optative

John Piper

Being a self-confessed dinosaur in the world of modern instincts, C.S. Lewis was, and is, therefore, refreshingly relevant. Already in 1944, his views on education were so well rooted in reason and experience that they were wonderfully out of date.

When I wrote last week on the glory of work, I had today’s blog post in mind. I thought: If I could ignite in you a love for the glory of work, maybe you would agree with Lewis about…

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The Soul’s Final Feast

John Piper

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

God is not unresponsive to the contrite longing of the soul. He comes and lifts the load of sin and fills our heart with gladness and gratitude. “You have turned for me my mourning into…

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Work Is a Glorious Thing

John Piper

Work is a glorious thing. And if you stop and think about it, the most enjoyable kinds of leisure are a kind of work. Both these facts are true because the essence of work, as God designed it before the Fall, was creativity — not aimless, random doing, but creative, productive doing.

The Primal Worker

When God did his primal work, he created the world. That is the essence of work. Then he created us in his image, and put…

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The Strange and Wonderful Miracle of Feeling Loved by God

John Piper

One thing I am sure of intuitively: God’s ways are higher than my ways. Which means: If he reveals through the Bible his ways of loving me, they will certainly be jarring.

The ease with which the human race presumes to tell God how he should love is breathtaking. There is only one way to know how God loves me: Listen to what he tells me, and believe him.

One of the things he tells me in the Bible is…

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Even If You Labor “for Nought”

John Piper

Discouragement comes in many forms. So our weapons must be varied.

Before I accepted the call to become a pastor 33 years ago, my father wrote me a discouraging letter — a kind of warning about the pastorate. He gave me a long list of the discouragements, pitfalls, and hardships of pastoral ministry. Later, when I accepted the call, he rejoiced with me and said that the letter was not meant to stop me, but to prove the reality of…

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The Lordship of Jesus 100 Years Ago and Today

John Piper

Jesus Christ is Lord of the universe. Therefore, all the nations — the peoples — of the earth belong to him by right of creation and by right of his redemptive purpose on the cross.

By right of creation: “The earth is the Lᴏʀᴅ’s . . . the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it” (Psalm 24:1–2).

By right of redemptive purpose on the cross: “You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people…

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Drafted: Why Chris Norman Said No to the NFL

John Piper

I invite you to watch this moving 11-minute story of Michigan State linebacker Chris Norman.

Desiring God commissioned the video because God is at the center of the story, and because at one key point, God used Don’t Waste Your Life as part of his surprising plan for Chris’s life. Special thanks to hip-hop artists Flame and Shai Linne for their contributions to the soundtrack, and to Michigan State University and ESPN for the game footage.

Why would a promising…

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Spectacular Sins, Today and Yesterday

John Piper

When we published Spectacular Sins five years ago, sinning was not even then as spectacular as it is today. For example, that the history-long, ever-present heartache of same-sex desires in boys and girls and men and women should be celebrated as holy was not yet sanctioned by culture, court, chief, and church. Today it is. There are no words painful enough to lament this human ruin and divine dishonor.

In reissuing Spectacular Sins this week, now in paperback, we are…

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The Value of Knowing How God Saved You

John Piper

I will venture to say that most Christians don’t know how God saved them. I don’t mean how God paid for their sins, but how he brought them to faith. That means many Christians miss out on the benefits of knowing this. There are at least six benefits which I’ll mention at the end.

God saved us by raising us from spiritual death, opening the eyes of our blind hearts, and giving us the gift of faith. Let it sink…

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God Is Not an Idolator

John Piper

When he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:10)

People stumble over the teaching that God exalts his own glory and seeks to be praised by his people because the Bible teaches us not to be like that. For example, the Bible says that love “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5, see NASB).

How…

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How to Read a Book

John Piper

It’s that time of year when students and teachers are going “back to school” after the summer vacation. John Piper describes this new poem as “playful, though serious,” and we hope it will both clarify and energize the productive enterprise of reading, whether you’re starting a new semester or reading the daily news. – Editor

On Reading Well
A Meditation on C. S. Lewis’s
Experiment in Criticism, pages 100–101

Would you attain an author’s sense?
   Or…

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Will You Be a Believer Tomorrow Morning?

John Piper

Christian, how do you know you will still be a believer when you wake up in the morning? And every morning till you meet Jesus?

The biblical answer is: God will see to it.

Are you okay with that? Does this make you uneasy, admitting it depends decisively on God? I hope it is your joy and song. It really does have huge implications to believe this. Let God’s word shape your mind on it.

We must endure in faith

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The Gospel of the Wall of Jericho

John Piper

Your wall, O wicked Jericho, your ancient, mighty wall,
         Your shame, where you have made your infants’ blood renowned,
                  Your boast, your monument, your Babel, tall
                           And endless on its side, bent ’round
                                    Into a ring, a thrust,
                                             Betrothing you
                                                      To dust;

         Your wall, your peace, your life you thought would ever thrive,
                  Now hollowed with four centuries of pride
                           Into a labyrinthine hive
                                    Of honeyed lust inside,
                                             With brothels all
                                                      Will fall;

                  But for one slender segment, with its…

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What God Says to Egypt

John Piper

Egypt! Egypt!
A Meditation for Today
on Isaiah 19:24–25

O Egypt, Egypt, do you not
    Recall, dear friend — have you forgot —
That twice you were the savior of 
    My only Son — though not from love?

You fed him in the famine. Then
    You took him for a slave. And when
I rescued him, I made you know
    My name, my power, and how much woe 
Will fall on those who mock my Son.

  

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Five Cheers for the Church and Individualism

John Piper

If individualism is a bad thing, corporatism is also a bad thing, and probably a worse thing. If I had to choose, I would prefer to fight for biblical truth in the chaos of American individualism than in the iron-clad corporate expressions of Hitler’s Nazi camps and Stalin’s Communist gulags.

But let’s not compete for who’s the biggest bad guy. My point here is that the message of the New Testament confronts the horrors of corporatism as forcefully as it…

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Whatever Is Not from Faith Is Sin — Really?

John Piper

People from the time of John Chrysostom (347–407) have tried to limit the meaning of Paul’s words in Romans 14:23, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Chrysostom cautions, “Now all these things have been spoken by Paul of the subject in hand, not of everything.”

Leon Morris follows this limitation and says,

Whatever be the truth of actions done before one becomes a believer, Paul is not discussing them here. His concern is with the believer who sometimes…

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The Failure of Christless Tenderness

John Piper

The grotesque is part of what this fallen age is. Seeing it and seeing God with clear, uncompromising eyes of faith keeps us from making gulags or gas chambers.

When sentimentalism separates the grotesque from the sovereign goodness of God, we are on our way to Auschwitz. It is a great irony that in rejecting God, in defense of a less grotesque humanity, we become hideous as we cleanse the world of imperfections.

The tender-hearted souls who cannot bear to…

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