Blog Posts by John Piper

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…

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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…

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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…

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He Loved Me and Gave Himself for Me

John Piper

I want believers in Christ to enjoy being loved by God to the greatest degree possible. And I want God to be magnified to the greatest degree possible for loving us the way he does. This is why it matters to me what Jesus really accomplished for us when he died.

There is a common way of thinking about Christ’s death that diminishes our experience of his love. It involves…

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New Poem: ‘The Book of Life’

John Piper

Before the night he was betrayed,     
     The Lord of glory died;
Indeed before the world was made, 
     The Lamb was crucified.

Before the sin, the spear, the lash 
     (Eternal was the flood!)
God put his inkwell at the gash,
     And filled it with his blood;

Then with his crimson ink and quill,
     A holy world compiled,…

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Yahweh Is the Sweetest Name I Know

John Piper

You are not wrong to sing, “Jesus is the sweetest name I know,” even though Yahweh is.

Here’s why.

God gave himself the name Yahweh. No man gave him this name. It is God’s chosen personal name. He loves to be known by this name. It is used over 5,000 times in the Old Testament. It is almost always translated by Lᴏʀᴅ (small caps). But it is not a title.…

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Some Kindling for Your Embers

John Piper

We all feel small.

That’s because we are small. John Piper may seem like a big fish in the little evangelical pond. But in the ocean of the world, I am statistically a nobody.

But we are attached to the Creator of the world through his Son Jesus, and we are part of his global purpose for all nations that cannot be stopped.

Fire Up Your Hope

Take three minutes…

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Books Don’t Change People, Paragraphs Do

John Piper

I have often said, “Books don’t change people, paragraphs do — sometimes sentences.”

This may not be fair to books, since paragraphs find their way to us through books, and they often gain their peculiar power because of the context they have in the book. But the point remains: One sentence or paragraph may lodge itself so powerfully in our mind that its effect is enormous when all else is…

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Are We Fascinated with Lewis’s Fame or His Influence?

John Piper

The video below introduces the amazingly influential C.S. Lewis and invites you to our National Conference on Lewis, September 27–29.

If your time is short, just go straight to the video. But if you wonder why we should even care about Lewis’s influence, you might want to read these few paragraphs.

C.S. Lewis’s profound influence on so many people was not owing to his aberrations from evangelical doctrine. Aberrations there…

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Five Reasons to Embrace Unconditional Election

John Piper

I use the word embrace because unconditional election is not just true, but precious. Of course, it can’t be precious if it’s not true. So that’s the biggest reason we embrace it. But let’s start with a definition:

Unconditional election is God’s free choice before creation, not based on foreseen faith, to which traitors he will grant faith and repentance, pardoning them, and adopting them into his everlasting family of

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How Pervasive and Practical Is the Beauty of God?

John Piper

Nothing ugly is ever called glorious in the Bible. There is “great sin” (Genesis 20:9), but never “glorious sin.” The evil one has “cosmic power” (Ephesians 6:12), but not cosmic “glory.” The reason for this is that sin and evil are not beautiful. But glory includes beauty. Glory includes more, but never less. Nothing ugly is glorious.

Therefore, the beauty of God is as pervasive and practical as the glory…

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Should We Tell Children to Love Jesus?

John Piper

Spurgeon was concerned about the emphasis of telling children to love Jesus rather than trust Jesus. He expressed it like this:

Many [distort the doctrine of justification by faith] when addressing children, and I notice that they generally speak to little ones about loving Jesus, and not upon believing him. This must leave a mischievous impression upon youthful minds and take them off from the true way of peace. (…

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New Poem: ‘Now Is An Age’

John Piper

Now Is An Age
On Reading John Donne’s Death, Be Not Proud

One night, as I sat reading 
    Before the fire, and casting
        Calm shadows on the door behind my chair,
    I saw the everlasting,
And all the world receding
         Here, and lodged this prayer:

“O God, all joy exceeding,
    O Christ, forever living,
 …

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Know This Dreadful Deformity of Your Soul — And Your Deliverance

John Piper

This is a lesson in self-knowledge for the sake of worship and righteousness.

Something terrible and profound happened to all humans when Adam sinned. All except Jesus, that is, “who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Something came into the world that had not been there before — something very powerful and very deadly in everyone of us.

But it was not exactly a “thing.” Yet it was more than…

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New Poem: ‘Lady Choice’

John Piper

Four thousand times an hour, or more,
     Each day and night, since I was six
           Weeks old inside my mother's womb,

My trusty heart (a metaphor
     Of what?) with ceaseless double clicks
           Has beat. Click-click. Click-click. For whom?

And you, my Lady, not before,
      Or during, did a single drug admix,
 …

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How the Bible Answers the Question, “Where Is Your God?”

John Piper

I wish we could write about the sovereignty of God in a lull between calamities. But there is none.

If I were to say we are between tsunamis or tornadoes, someone would say, “That tree just fell on my house,” or, “That was my mother whose plane crashed in Ohio,” or, “My uncle was among the tourists killed in Pakistan,” or, “My wife’s battle with cancer just ended — in…

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The Thrilling “Now” of Christian Mission

John Piper

Just think of it. The God of the universe focused his special revelation and redeeming work on one small ethnic people, Israel, for 2,000 years — from the calling of Abram in Genesis 12 to the coming of Christ. For all that time “he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16).

Then at the entry of his Son into the world, all this changed.

As…

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Love Is More Than a Choice

John Piper

This is a gentle pushback on a popular slogan.

There is truth in saying, “love is a choice” or “love is a decision.” It is true that if you don’t feel like doing good to your neighbor love will incline you to “choose” to do it anyway. If you feel like getting a divorce, love will incline you to “choose” to stay married and work it out.

If you shrink…

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Is There a Key to Godliness?

John Piper

Whether you are in your twenties or sixties, you probably have some long-standing heart-responses you don’t like. These are like reflexes. You don’t choose them. They spring up unintentionally from your heart, usually in response to the people around you.

It may be anger, anxiety, envy, resentment, self-pity, disgust, frustration, discouragement, lust, irritability, impatience, hard-heartedness, brusqueness, unkindness, withdrawnness.

When any one of these attitudes springs up unbidden, you hate it.…

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How Do We Rest in the Face of Horrible Calamity?

John Piper

What happens to our emotions if we really believe in the sovereign wisdom and goodness of God in horrible persecution?

This question rises for me for two reasons.

One is because of God’s will for our emotions revealed in the Bible, and the other is what I see happening in the hearts of God’s people today. They are not always the same. One of my aims is to help today’s…

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The Jagged Void (A Poem for Grieving Mothers)

John Piper

When the tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, nine children died in the Plaza Towers Elementary School. I’ve been thinking about their parents, especially the mothers who bore them — and trying to imagine the void. And the more I think, the more the whole battery of recent losses crowd in on my mind — Newtown, Boston, Philadelphia, my own church. I wrote this for those mothers — perhaps …

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When Two So-Called “Married” Women (or Men) Repent

John Piper

One of the sweet advantages of insisting that there is no such thing as same-sex “marriage” is that there is therefore also no such thing as same-sex “divorce.” In the days ahead, this will be very good news for many who repent.

In the years to come, God will be merciful on thousands of those who have been damaged by the present moral madness of our culture. He will exalt…

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Prayer: We Get the Help, He Gets the Glory

John Piper

One of the unique things about God is that he displays his glory by helping rather than demanding help. “No eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4). “He is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything” (Acts 17:25). “He exalts himself to show mercy” (Isaiah 30:18).

This changes the way we pray.

When we ask him for…

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