C. S. Lewis on What God Foreknows

John Piper

Reflecting on why God put Abraham’s faith to the test by commanding him to offer his son, Lewis says,

“If God then is omniscient, he must have known what Abraham would do, without any experiment. Why then this needless torture?” But as St. Augustine points out, whatever God knew, Abraham at any rate did not know that his obedience would endure such a command until the event taught him: and the obedience which he did not know that he would choose, he cannot be said to have... Continue Reading

If Not Santa, What?

Noel Piper

How will our home look if our celebration is a picture of anticipation and waiting for God’s plan to be completed, a picture of our joy in the salvation he has begun for us? What visible things will fill our house as we celebrate what God has done through Jesus?

Our very first Christmas was in the middle of our honeymoon, so our traditions began the second year of marriage. We visited our families before Christmas, and returned across the country to our small place late at night on... Continue Reading

Thinking About Santa

Noel Piper

Over the years, we have chosen not to include Santa Claus in our Christmas stories and decorations. There are several reasons.

First, fairy tales are fun and we enjoy them, but we don’t ask our children to believe them.

Second, we want our children to understand God as fully as they’re able at whatever age they are. So we try to avoid anything that would delay or distort that understanding. It seems to us that celebrating with a mixture of Santa and manger will postpone a child’s clear... Continue Reading

Joseph: (Un)Planned Detours

Jon Bloom

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

As Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, discovered in Matthew 1-2, that’s just another way of saying that when your plans are detoured and redirected, you find out who’s really charting the course.

Nazareth. It felt good to Joseph to be back home. The same old market and the same old merchants. The same old neighbors with the same old complaints. The same old synagogue and the same old rabbi.

Oddly,... Continue Reading

Jesus Tree

Noel Piper

Talitha: “Mom, I have a tiny disco ball to hang on the Jesus Tree!”

Me: “Before you do that, you need to tell me how that disco ball relates to Jesus.”

Talitha: “Mmm…well…Jesus is the light of the world…and he shines all around…

Me: “Good. And he’s multifaceted, so there’s always more to learn about his glories.”

The Bible is filled with names and word pictures of Jesus. Every name or image is a facet of the God who is too complex and deep for us to ever know completely. But as we gaze at him from... Continue Reading

Don't Look a Gift Universe in the Mouth

John Piper
A cosmos, one day being rebuked by a pessimist replied, "How can you who revile me consent to speak by my machinery? Permit me to reduce you to nothingness and then we will discuss the matter." Moral. You should not look a gift universe n the mouth.

-G. K. Chesterton (Quoted from Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Volume 1, 71)

Why Require Unregenerate Children to Act Like They’re Good?

John Piper

If mere external conformity to God’s commands (like don’t lie, don’tsteal, don’t kill) is hypocritical and spiritually defective, then whyshould parents require obedience from their unregenerate children?

Won’t this simply confirm them in unspiritual religious conformity, hypocritical patterns of life, and legalistic moralism?

Here are at least three reasons why Christian parents should requiretheir small children (regenerate or unregenerate) to... Continue Reading

Looking Forward: Preparing to Meet Jesus Face to Face

Noel Piper

Advent is a time of looking back, remembering the faithful people who were waiting for the salvation God had promised, as 1 Peter 1:10-12 tells us.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were... Continue Reading

Hope for "Older Brother" Types

Jon Bloom

Someone asked a great question in response to mypostlast week on Simon the Pharisee:

Much like the two sons in the prodigal son story, how necessary is it to be the younger son to appreciate the Father?

In other words, do we have to sin more grossly in order to be able to comprehend how much we have been forgiven so that we can "love much"?

It seems to me that self-righteousness poses challenges that are similar to wealth in terms of how hard it is to get into the kingdom. If... Continue Reading

Looking Back: Advent Candles

Noel Piper

Advent Candles probably are the most common Advent symbolism of looking back to the days of waiting for the Messiah God had promised.

Various helpful schemes of symbolism can be attached to Advent candles, their number, and color. But here are the basics—one candle for each of the Sundays of Advent, and if you wish, a fifth for Christmas Day. Some people have a special candle holder arrangement, a wreath maybe. That’s nice but not necessary. The only requirement for using Advent... Continue Reading