Why Finally Alive

John Piper's new book Finally Alive is scheduled to release next week. We hope to have it available at the Desiring God Conference for Pastors on Monday, February 2.

This is the first of 6 posts introducing this book. This first one is a Q&A with John Piper about why he wrote the book. The last 5 will provide 5 of my favorite quotes from Finally Alive and some endorsements.

Q: Finally Alive is a whole book dedicated to the theme of the new birth. Why take up this doctrine?

A: In December 2006, I finished preaching through Romans with a joyful thankfulness for the great truth of justification that looms so large in that book. It seemed to me that what was needed was to head off the common misconception that those who cherish the court-room-oriented doctrine of justification don’t cherish the new-life-oriented doctrine of regeneration.

So I wanted to move quickly to preach on that doctrine to show that this misconception is not true. I love them both. Both are crucial.

Q: How did you decide on the timing?

I polled the elders. They suggested that after Romans we should do

  1. A series on marriage (this became the book This Momentary Marriage)
  2. Then a doctrinal series (which became Finally Alive)
  3. Then another longer book study (I am currently preaching through the Gospel of John)

Q: What is your concern behind this book?

I am deeply concerned that there are many church members in America and beyond who think they are saved when they are not. Part of the reason for this nominalism is a failure to teach and understand the true meaning of the new birth.

You must be born again. It is a miracle. Many, I fear, don’t even want to think in terms of “being saved” as being in the category of a miracle that only God can perform. They want it to be a decision based wholly on human power involving no necessary miracle. That is deadly.

For those who are truly born again, I want them to exult in what has really happened to them. Many who are truly born again do not know the nature of the change that has happened to them. It is a good thing to know—so that Christ can be honored for the fullness of his glorious work, and so that people can enjoy the assurance of being the objects of that miraculous act.

Finally, I want the new birth to happen more and more. God does the new birth through the word. I pray that the sermons and the book will be a means used by God for the working of this miracle of new birth.

David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor at desiringGod.org and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He has edited several books, including Thinking. Loving. Doing., Finish the Mission, and Acting the Miracle, and is co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.