As Pastor John Piper finishes up his travels through the Middle East during the month of November, we are going into the archives and re-spreading a few Ask Pastor John recordings from years past. And back in January of 2010, he was asked to respond to this question: “I believe in the doctrine of election, but I don’t like it. Is it sin for me not to like the doctrine of election?” Here’s what Pastor John had to say.
It is sin not to like the true doctrine of election. It is sin not to like what God likes.
Loving Biblical Truth
Now I am going to say it like that because many people have conceptions of doctrines — all kinds of doctrines — that are inaccurate, and therefore, their good hearts dislike them. So you could say, “I dislike election,” and be a good person, because you don’t see election clearly. And what you are disliking should be disliked. Or, you may be a person who is starting to see it clearly, and your old self, which is bad, is rising up and not liking what ought to be liked. So I don’t know whether this person should be chastised or not. So this would be the principle: To the degree that you see biblical truth clearly, you should like it.
Now, hell is a biblical truth. So when I say you should like hell, what I mean is, you should like hell the way God does. God says he is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). God does not delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). God afflicts us, but not from his heart (Lamentations 3:33).
So there is in God himself a willing that hell be, and liking that it exists in that big picture, and yet grieving over sending anybody there. And the word like is just a little bit difficult here, because you are going to have to do double perspectives again.
If God ordains that Jerusalem be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, should we like that? And my answer is, yes and no. We should not like women boiling their children, but we should approve of God’s decision that it happened. And so, there is a double perspective in which the things that you see in the small lens should be disliked, and in the bigger lens, you should like that God would run the world this way.