The following is an unedited transcript of the message.
Last night I said that Colossians 1:16 taught that everything exists, including the rulers and authorities which are the devil and all of his angels, everything exists, including the devil and his sin, including Adam and his sin, for Christ, in order to make Christ look great. Now I am going to go further with this, but before I do, let me just say a word about why this matters and why you should care about this, at least beginnings of this and I hope you will hear more. I think in my preaching about and in my ministry about helping people defensively and offensively in life. Pastors should be defending their people and should be mobilizing them for offensive action in the world. And the great defense is I want you to really, really believe Romans 8:28.
And the way this fits with C.J. is that what we are talking to ourselves is promises of God bought by the blood of Jesus, the biggest of which is everything works together for our good. And I know that even if you have it worked out so that tsunamis work together for good and cancer works together for good and loss of job works together for good, so many people don’t have it worked out that the sins against you work together for good including your own. That doesn't seem right. It seems to dangerous to say that, because it is going to incline us to sin that grace may abound. Already got somebody ask me that from last night. If the law came in to increase the trespass, in order that where sin increases grace may abound to the glory of Christ, then let us sin that grace may abound. Do you think that was a surprise to Paul? Read on.
The very next verse is: Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? If you don’t preach the sovereignty of God and the grace of God so that people say without understanding yet: Well, it sounds like we should sin that grace may abound, you are not preaching it yet. And, of course, his answer was not: Well, I guess I overstated it in chapter five. His answer was: Dead men don’t sin. That is a paraphrase. It said: How can we who die to sin still live in it? That is another sermon.
So C.J. said you can listen to yourself and you can talk to yourself. When you talk to yourself you can talk the gospel. And he actually quoted Romans 8:28. And all I am doing as a footnote here to this message is to say: It is really true. It is really true. It is really, radically, dangerously, easily distortably true. So where we are going now is to ask the question: So what is the good that everything is working together to do? Rehearse Colossians 1:16 from another text. Then we are going to say not only is the fall to Satan and the fall of Adam working to glorify Christ in his magnificent grace at Calvary, but God gets us to that praising of that glory of that grace through the treason of his people in asking for a king and through the wicked betrayal of Judas, the most heinous sin ever committed. That was God’s planned pathway to magnifying the glory of Jesus. That is where we are going.
Now here is the question. What is the good that everything is designed to work in your life if all things work together for good? Before I give you the contextual answer to that, the story of Joseph in the Old Testament has a line in it that in my guess is all of you are familiar with it and it is so valuable. Here is a sentence, ok? We are into sentences. So Genesis 50 verse 20 is one of those sentences that you get in the devil’s face with and you get in your other self’s self with that is talking to you. And these brothers who sold him wickedly into slavery are cowering before him, you remember, after they discovered he is now the vice president in Egypt and could wipe them out for their evil. And he says to them, as you remember: You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.
Now don’t miss the meaning of the verb meant in the second clause. Don’t let any preacher tell you it means use as if you are going to get God off the hook for meaning it. Let me say it again now. You wicked brothers of mine meant it for evil, meant it, evil. God, same word, meant it, evil, for God. That is ... I could just go home now. But I have some illustrations.
Ok there is your sentence. Now did you hear the word good? Ok, good. We got Romans 8:28. All things work together for... say it. And you meant it for evil, God meant it for good. Now I want to know what that is. What is the good that everything is working together to do? So if you wan to look at Romans 8:28 we will just get our answer from verse 29. It is as clear as a bell what the good is. And so we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose for those whom he foreknew he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son in order that he might be the first born of many brothers. That is the ground and explanation of all things work together for good. It is good because everything is conforming you to the image of the Son so that the supreme older brother would have lots of brothers who are imaging him for... this is what the universe is for. The universe is to get hordes and hordes of people shaped into Christ likeness so that the older brother is radiant through them in the universe. That is the good. He is working in us a kind of image
You know what images are for, don’t you? Images are for imaging. So, ok. Good. That is Luther. I am always trying to pair up the people up there with the speaker. I get Luther. He was kind of foul mouthed, wasn’t he? Going somewhere with that. And MacArthur had Whitefield. We won’t talk about that anymore. Images, images. There is an image. The point of the image is to image Luther. So think Luther. That is why it is up there, I guess. Images are for imaging. When you are those whom he foreknew he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son that he might be the first born among many images of him. So the point of the universe its hat Christ is supreme. He has got a family and they are praising him and displaying him in the world fully for the apex of his glory which is his grace.
Now I jumped the gun there, because I assumed the text that is supposed to come next. Go with me to Ephesians chapter one, because I am getting the answer of what we are imaging about Christ from there. I just said it, but I now I want you to see it. So if we just have Romans 8:29 what we have is a band of predestined people, conformed to the image of Christ who is their older, elder, greater superior brother. And this whole family is radiant with him. Now I just want to know more specifically anything specific in mind like radiant with what about him. Ok, and here we are, Ephesian one verses four to six. He chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him in love. He predestined... now get that. That is the same word, in fact, the very same idea and context as Romans 8:29. He predestined us for adoption, all right? We got an older brother and now we are being adopted into the family to be conformed to the older brother. Are we all together here now? Same idea, same constellation of ideas going on. Predestination is unto brotherhood of Jesus. It is into the family of Jesus, only here if you read the next verse you find out more specifically what it is we are supposed to be radiant with displaying. He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will.
Now here it comes, to the praise of the glory of his grace. Now I think that is the highest verse in the Bible. In other words, if you think in terms of verses supporting other verses, like this one supports that one and then you get to the top eventually. This is the top. There is nothing this supports. Everything supports this. Once you have a family foreknown, predestined, redeemed, justified, glorified, radiant, reflecting the older brother specifically his glorious grace, you are at the end of the purpose of the universe. You don’t step on that and go somewhere. Like now what? What was that for?
Everything was for that. That is the end. So that is my sentence. I exist, you exist to enhance, magnify, display the glory of the grace of God in Christ supremely manifest on Calvary. The universe was set up the way it was for Golgotha. The implications in that sentence are staggering, which is why I am saying what I am saying and wrote what I wrote, because it is so unbelievably controversial. To believe that the universe came into being for Calvary commits you to everything I am saying. So don’t go there quick, because I am saying big time controversial things about how sin fits into that.
Ok, so that is the set up. Now we are going to go these two places. God is going there, let me see, he went there. He is going there, he is still gathering the foreknown, the predestined, he is still justifying, he is still glorifying in order to gather that Christ conformed, praising band who magnify the elder brother forever supremely. He is still gathering them if you are in that number, because that is the universe about that. Now how did he get there? First, tonight, he got there through the treason of his people in demanding a king besides God. So let’s go to 1 Samuel 12.
Staggering things are going on here. We are at 1 Samuel 12:12, verse 12. And when you saw — this is Samuel talking to the people — and when you saw that Nahash the king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me: No. But a king shall reign over us, when the Lord your God was your king. And now behold the king whom you have chosen for whom you have asked. Behold. The Lord has set a king over you. Drop down to verse 16. Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord that he may send thunder and rain. You shall know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the Lord in asking for yourself a king.
So can you feel the indignation in Samuel’s voice, which I tried to put in mine? It is disbelief. He can’t believe. God was your king. God is your king. He has been your king for one thousand years. And you would now have a king. 1 Samuel chapter eight verse seven says: And the Lord said to Samuel: Obey the voice of the people in what they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Obey their voice, only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.We are back in chapter 12 verse 13 at the end of the verse. Behold, the Lord has set a king over you.
Now feel this. Feel this. Got analogies in your own life, probably. I sure do. Things that were wicked and God took the wicked demand and he acceded and from it he brought the Messiah in your life. You have got to feel the wonder of the history of salvation when you read the Bible because it is wicked, wicked, wicked and all of it is designed to get to Calvary with a key. Amazing. Just amazing. Don’t miss those words in verse 17, second half of the verse, 1 Samuel 12:17. You shall know and see your wickedness is great which you have done in then sight of the Lord in asking for yourselves a king. And then read alongside that verse 13. The Lord has set a king over you. You think God does not bless you by answering your wicked prayers? Sometimes you would be dead if he didn’t. He is ... talk about mysteries, Rick. I walk up against this in the Bible and I just kind of deep breath. God, if it is so wicked, why did you do it? You said it was wicked for them to ask this. You are their king. They shouldn’t want an earthly king.
Now look. I am totally aware that in Deuteronomy 17 and Deuteronomy 28 and in the story of Melchizedek that God had promised a king, totally aware. That is not a problem. The problem is how he got the king. I know a genius plan from the beginning. It was wicked to want a king. Now to make sure that you really feel and don’t miss how holy God is from unholy wickedness of asking for a king, doing it, God is doing it. Listen to Acts chapter 13 as Paul narrates history. This is what Paul says in Acts 13:20. God gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king. And God gave them Saul, the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin for 40 years. And when he had removed him he raised up David to be their king.
There is a question. If God in his sovereignty had planned from the beginning of Israel, Abraham, that there would one day be a king — a thousand years without a king and then there would be a king and it would be given in answer to a wicked desire, if he knew that, why didn’t he just plan that there would be a king in Israel from the beginning, Abraham would be the first king and Moses would be a king and Joshua would be a king. Put the kings in place. Easy started that way. Why a thousand years without a king and then a big, treasonous rebellion and you accede to it and get David in place so he could have a son who dies for our sins? Why don’t you just put the king in place form the beginning, a nice clean king from the beginning, clean request, clean desire? It is not a bad thing to have a king, I suppose. Why don’t you just do it that way, God? This is really complicated. It is long and I this controversial and you are getting your name sullied by people in this room who are ready to cop out on Christ. What is going on?
There are reasons. Let me suggest a couple. What should we learn from his doing it this way? Number one. The kingship in Israel belongs only to God, period. For a thousand years he made that plain and he wouldn’t have made it plain if he had skipped that chapter. The kingship in Israel belongs only to God. Clear thousand years. Don’t ask for a king. I am king, God says. That is why he said in 1 Samuel 8:7. They have rejected me from being king over them as they ask for themselves a king. If he had started with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Moses and Joshua and they were all kings, everybody would have assumed: Well, it is natural and appropriate that Israel have a human king and God isn’t the king, people are kings. That is not going to be the case now because he has had 1000 year of direct kingship over this people. And the way the king comes into being is through treason. So this is pretty clear. God will be the only king in Israel, that is number one.
Number two. He means in doing it this way to inaugurate a line of human kings, all of whom would fail, except one. All of them... have you ever reads 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles? What a litany of failure. You think it is going well and suddenly somebody is in bed with somebody and chopping off somebody’s head and doing last minute revenge including David. So he has now chosen to have a thousand year season of direct kingship. They want a king in rebellion against me, I will give them kings and they all failed. That was important to see because it is pointing to something. You remember the last thing Jesus said to the Pharisees that shut their mouths and they never said another word to him? He said, quoting Psalm 110 verse one: The Lord, Yahweh, says to my Lord, the Messiah — David is talking — The Lord says to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool, to which they respond: David’s son, yes, he says: If David calls him Lord, how is he his son? And that is the last word he ever exchanges with the Pharisees. If David calls him Lord, how is he a son? Which means for those who have ears to hear, because he didn’t explain it, I am far more than the Son of David. I am far more than the Son of David. There had to be king and yet the king can only be God. God hadn't forgotten the first thousand years like, oh, I made a mistake in saying I am king and I am the only king. And so he puts in place these kings, these petty kings all the while showing they are not, they are not, they are not. And one comes and when he comes he says: If David called me Lord why do you just call me his son? Because I am far more than his sin. And now could it be that God’s initial design that there be only God is king in this line?
And, number three, the third thing I think doing it this way shows is that not only did the king have to be God, the king had to die. If the king is going to be surrounded by a group of redeemed subjects who are forever praising the glory of his grace and they are all treasonous in their hearts, he has got to die for them. God can’t die. So there has to be a God man to be king. I think that is what is going on. And probably lots more. A thousand years to say only God can be king. Treasonous rebellion, all right. I will use that and I will put in place humans, all of whom fail. In the end I am going to bring my king in from heaven, the one who is always king. I am bringing him in. He is going to be human and he is going to be flawlessly human so that he can die to save all these treasonous people who in their treason brought about their salvation by demanding their king.
Oh the depths of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How inscrutable are his judgments. Who has ever known the mind of the Lord? Who has ever been his counselor? From him and through him and to him are all things. We scarcely have any idea what is going on in history. We see little tiny glimpses of those millions and millions of things God is doing in the treasonous acts of the people in America and Iraq and China and Indonesia, all in rebellion against God and working out his sovereign, saving, Christ exalting plan.
Finally, he went through the treason of his people to put in place a line of human kings, none of whom could be king because they were all so unworthy. He brought through that line the very human who would fulfill the design of God to be God as king and also be able to die so that the treasonous covenant people could have Christ likeness and image him forth in his grace forever. It is not done doing strange things.
Here we are in the last hours of his life and Judas betrays him. So let’s go to Judas for a few minutes. Judas was one of the 12 apostles. Christ chose him to be an apostle and he says in the gospel of John he knew from the beginning who would betray him. This is a plan from the beginning. Christ never says: Oops. And he didn’t when he discovered what Judas was about to do that night. He was entrusted with the money bag where he proved himself to be a thief. How many betrayals in ministry have come through the love of money? That, too, is another sermon. He was sitting close enough with Jesus at the last supper to dip the same cup. You have 12 men. Judas has a very close place. Well, how did that come about? He betrayed him in the garden with a kiss.
Michael Card, which probably none of you have ever heard about. Who is Michael Card who sang this song? That is not what a kiss is for. That is the line I remember from the song. That is not what a kiss is for. Very powerful song, very powerful line.
Ok, here we are at Luke 22 verse three. Satan entered into Judas. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and the officers how he might betray him to death. And they were glad and agreed to give him money so he consented to and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd. And later in the garden he did it with a kiss and Jesus’ death was sealed with a kiss.
Question. When it says Satan entered into Judas, why would he do that? Didn’t he know that if he seals the death of Jesus he is committing suicide? Doesn’t the devil know this? Because it is so clear that at the cross Christ disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to a public shame, triumphing over them in him. Didn’t the devil know this? Did he? Or did he not know this? Did he think: I am just going to get rid of this Jesus? Did he not know if he dies for the sins of the world, I will be undone, which he was undone. I think he knew it. And let me tell you why I think he knew it and then your second question is going to be: Well, why did he do it?
And, number one, the first answer: How do I know that he knew it? Well, just follow the interaction between Satan and Jesus through his ministry. It begins in the wilderness and what is he doing in the wilderness? He is saying: Turn stones into bread. Jump off the temple and worship me. All three of those temptations are designed to do one thing, keep Jesus off the Calvary road. Use your power. Pray it. Come on. You do the miracle kind of thing you can get a big following here and they will make you king. Isn’t it amazing? Satan would have wanted that. Be king that way. Or jump off the temple. Angels bear you up. Whole world sees. Enthrone you. Do it. Or bow down and worship me. I will give you everything. You can have the world if you just worship me. I believe he meant it. So he knew got to kick him off the Calvary road. I have got to keep him of the cross. He can have kingship anyway he wants, but not that way.
Or here is another illustration of that. Do you remember when Jesus predicted to the disciples the Son of Man is going up. He is going to be beaten and spit upon and rejected by the chief priests and the elders and killed? And Peter butts in. Remember? Peter butts in in Matthew 16:22: Lord, this shall never happen to you. And what did Jesus said to him? Get behind me, Satan. You think that was just kind of an overreaction to enthusiastic love? It was enthusiastic love. I am on Peter’s side here kind of. I am not going to let this happen to you. I love you. I will die for you. And Jesus says: Satan, get out of my way. What did that mean? It means Satan doesn’t want this to happen.
So here we are at the end of the ministry and Satan puts it in the heart of Judas to make it happen. Why? I will tell you why I think. I am not sure absolutely. We are not told. Two reasons. One is he saw after three years of trying to divert him he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t succeed through his disciples, through direct temptation, he couldn’t stop this man’s face from being set like flint for Jerusalem. I am going up here to die. So I came, the Son of Man came to give his life a ransom for many. I am going there. Nothing is stopping me, not Peter, not Satan, nobody. And Satan tried and tried and tried and then he gave up. When he gave up he didn’t give up hating him. He said: I am going to make this as painful as I can. I am going to do it with betrayal. I am going to do it with denials, I am going to do it with abandonment. I am going to stir these guys up. I am going to rub this in his face, because I hate him. I think that is the first reason.
And the second reason is sin is irrational. If you were rational you wouldn’t sin. Sin is suicidal. It is destructive. It ruins people. It ruins you. It displeases God. Here are 10,000 reasons not to sin and no good ones to sin, just stupid lying ones and we all do it, because sin is irrational and Satan is infinitely smart and stupid, smart and irrational. You know people like that. They are all in all universities, people who are brilliant and will look like absolute idiots on the judgment day. Isn’t it tragic, gifted brains all being invested in folly of opposing the king.
So those are my... that is my best shot at explaining why Satan at the end of the road would put it in Judas’ heart to bring about his own destruction on the cross, Satan’s own destruction.
Last question. Where was God? And I use that word just because that is what happens after car wrecks and tsunamis and floods. And I am talking about tall the miseries that come into your life. As soon as they come millions of you: So where is God? It was my son... I don’t want to give him credit it if wasn’t him. Somebody tweeted the other day after the crash... they tweeted after the plane went down just off Brazil, you know, strewn bodies for 50 miles, everybody is dead. One plane crash, 10,000 safe landings every day and God gets no credit. One crash and God has got to give an account. That is the way we are.
So everybody asks: Where is God? So I ask: Where is God when Satan put it in Judas’ heart to kill his Son? And you know the answer to that. It is very controversial. We sing about it from the day we are three, not realizing how unbelievably controversial and horrific this is. First, we answer by saying: God was in heaven fulfilling dozens of detailed Scriptures written hundreds of years before the sins happened that fulfilled them. Let me just read you a few of them.
The Scriptures prophesy that evil men will reject Jesus when he comes. Matthew 21:42. Have you never read the Scriptures? The stone that the builders rejected have become the corner stone. The Scriptures predict evil men reject Jesus. That has got to be fulfilled. Second, the Scriptures prophesy that Jesus must be hated. John 15:25. The word that is written in their law must be fulfilled. They hated me without a cause. The sin of hating the Son of God is predicted. It must be fulfilled. Number three. The Scripture prophesy that the disciples would abandon Jesus. Matthew 26:31. You will all fall away because of me this night. It was a sin when they abandoned Jesus like that and it was a fulfillment of Scripture. Number four. The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus will be pierced, but none of his bones will be broken. And so you read in John 19:34 one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. That was sin. It is a sin to run the spear into the side of the Son of God. But it fulfills holy Scripture. Number five. Scriptures prophesy that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend for 30 pieces of silver. Jesus said: I am not speaking of all of you. I know whom I have chosen, but the Scripture will be fulfilled. He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me. Or Matthew 26:24. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him. But woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
So my first answer is: Where is God when Judas is selling his Son into death and Satan is rampaging to rub it in and make it as bad as possible? And the answer is: God is ruling in heaven to fulfill dozens of Scriptures in those sins. Sin everywhere in fulfillment of holy Scripture. There never was a greater conflagration and coming together of sin than here, never a moment where more Scripture was being fulfilled than here. Not only that, but Jesus himself not just Scripture, but Jesus himself had predicted down to the beard pulling and spit what would happen to him in the sinfulness of his enemies. Matthew 10:33. See, we are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles and they will mock him and spit on him and flog him and kill him. This is Jesus giving detailed narration of the sins that must be. Where was God? God was in heaven putting his holy Word in the mouth of his Son and seeing to it that we not only had Scripture predicting the sins, but the Son of God himself predicting the sins.
I tell you this very night, Peter, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times. And that will be sin. I know how you will weep over it. It is going to happen. It is ordained. My Father and I will rescue you from it, but it is going to be.
From these prophesies, from Jesus and the Old Testament, we know that God foresaw — I am just going to put it as softly as I can — God foresaw and did not prevent and therefore ordained that this come to pass. I could say it a lot stronger, in fact, I will in just a minute. But right now just say it as softly as I can. Because it is in Scripture that all these sins happen in bringing Christ to his death, we know God knew it was going to happen that way. And we know he could stop it. I could give you text after text in the Bible where God stops people from sinning, like old Abimelech in Genesis 20 who didn’t go to bed with Sarah and God told him in the morning: I stopped you. He didn’t know God. God could have stopped any of these sins and he didn’t. And he didn’t purposefully. God never does anything whimsically. So for him to permit something that is known for 700 years is to involve planning. It is not whimsical. Like: Oh, what are we going to do? There is Scripture about to be fulfilled.
He wrote them. And now I will say it stronger. He brought them to pass. Isaiah 53:6 and 10. All we like have sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way. The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. Verse 10. It was the will of the Lord to crush him. He has put him to grief. There wasn’t any suffering that came upon Jesus not put there by the Father. Nothing was by accident. It was the will of the Lord to crush him. It was the will of the Lord that he betray. It was the will of the Lord that he be denied. It was the will of the Lord that he be abandoned. It was the will of the Lord that he be spit upon, his beard be plucked, he have a crown of thorns, that he be hit with rods, that they stripped him naked, they mocked him, put a crown on, bowed down. These were all God’s doing and sin. Every one of them sin.
Listen to the most important statement on this count in the Bible from Acts 4:27. Truly, in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed both Herod and Pontius Pilate along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel — in other words everybody that had any hand in this at all — to do what your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. That is crystal clear. I will read it again. Truly there is in this city gathered together, there was in this city gathered together against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed both Herod — and you remember what he did, put the robe on him, tried to get him to do a miracle, soldiers around him mocked him, sent him back to number two — Pilate, washing his hands, consigning him to be whipped, expediently giving him up to be crucified. There weren’t any worse sins in the world than these cluster of sins here. They were gathered together, Herod, Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles. That would be the soldiers who nailed him, speared him, mocked, traded for his garments. And the peoples of Israel: Crucify him, crucify him. All four of those groups to do whatever your hand and your plan predestined to take place. Now that is a very strange way of talking, hand predestined to take place. Plans I understand, plans predestine things. Hands don’t predestine things. So what do you mean, Luke, in recording this prayer of the people? God through Herod, Pilate, Gentiles and Israel did to Jesus what his hand and his plan predestined to take place, predestined in all those Scriptures? The hand of God in the Old Testament is the manifest immediate powerful acting of God. If God’s hand does something — of course he doesn’t have a hand. He doesn’t have a body. So his hand means his immediate, intervening, active power. So what he means when he says your plan and your hand predestined that these horrific sins take place in the killing of your Son, he meant there is a plan and God actively is involved in bringing it about. He is not distant. Look what they are doing to my Son. I don’t want that to happen. No.
Let me close and see if I can make this clear for you. You may be wrestling now with the theological implications of what I am saying, namely that God is sovereign over sin. You meant it for evil, Lucifer, and God meant it for good. You meant it for evil, Adam, God meant it for good. You meant it for evil, Joseph’s brothers, God meant it for good. You meant it for evil, Judas, God meant it for good. You meant it for evil, you treasonous Israelites, God meant it for good. You may really stumble over the fact that God means evil, designs evil, ordains evil, wills that evil be without himself being evil. You may be having a hard time with that right now and let me end by saying: If you don’t embrace that, what you are up against. You can’t have the gospel if you say that in the betrayal, in the denial, in the abandonment, in the spitting, in the crowning, in the beating, in the laughing, in the nailing, in the spearing God had no hand. There is no gospel. The gospel is that in that God was loving you.
We are not playing games with theology when we talk about the sovereignty of God. We are not just throwing ideas around to try to create controversy. We are trying to say the gospel. You can’t have the gospel if God is not sovereign over Herod and Pilate and the Gentiles and the Jews and Judas and Peter and the nails and the spear and the crown and the cry. You can’t have the gospel. It is all just historical accident. It may be admirable in its sacrifice and love, but God can’t be doing anything for you. He can’t be crushing his Son. He can’t be making a curse for you. He can’t be loving you. I am not playing games with the sovereignty of God. I want you to come to the cross and not say that the substitutionary atonement is divine child abuse. I hate that. I am trying to rescue it for you. I am trying to preserve the Bible for you. I am trying to help you go to the cross and feel loved by the Father.
There is so much mystery left. We are just scratching away at the tip of an infinite iceberg which is a totally contradictory image for all you mathematicians, because an infinite iceberg doesn’t have a tip. It goes down forever, it goes up for very. Ten percent is forever. I think. Ten percent of infinity is infinity. But we have got an iceberg here and forget that illustration. It doesn’t make any sense. We have got an iceberg here and a little teeny bit of it, it goes down forever, at least, is sticking out and Piper is just scratching it. I want to understand what is going on here. And what is going on is that in ordaining the fall and ordaining Adam’s fall, Lucifer’s and Adam’s, in ordaining a tower of Babel, in ordaining treason so that there could be a line of human, failing kings leading to a human God king, and ordaining so much enmity and betrayal and denial and abandonment and then all the nails and all the suffering, in ordaining all that sin, he is doing it in order that you might be conformed to the image of Christ and spend the rest of your eternity enjoying making much of the glory of the grace of Christ, which comes back around and saves all the treasonous people who will simply trust him.
If you get that, if you embrace that if you will embrace God’s sovereign action in the death of his Son through the sins of his enemies, if you will get that, then you will be saved. Embrace that. Embrace the Son’s death for you as a gift orchestrated by God who is on your side in that. If you will have that, you will be saved, the Son will be magnified and, C.J. and Rick and Steve and John and I will not have preached in vain.
Listen to the first message: Spectacular Sins, Part 1