Interview with

Founder & Teacher,

Audio Transcript

Look at Christ — and what do you see in him? The answer to that question determines everything. Pastor John explained why in his message at Passion to 20,000 students in Atlanta on January 3, 2015. Here’s what he said.

My guess is that for many of you, this language is not the way you grew up talking about the gospel. I don’t know that you are familiar with anyone saying, “When Christ died for me, the best thing he purchased for me is the greatest gift of the love of God — namely, God’s gift of the beauty of God to satisfy my soul forever.” I don’t know how many of you ever talk that way. Or when you got saved said, “That is what happened.”

So here is why I am preaching on this. I want you, true Christian, to know that happened to you, and you have experienced that. Nobody may have ever taught you the language to use to define what God really did in your life. And then there are others of you who have been playing this game called “religion” because it is a cool group on your campus — and you have never seen it. I am talking a foreign language to you right now: “I don’t even know what you mean by the beauty of God.” I want you to see. So I’ve got three answers to this last question, What difference it would make in your life?

Infinte, All-Satisfying Beauty

If you believe, which Passion does and I do, that the greatest good of the gospel is the gift of the beauty of God for your everlasting enjoyment, implication number one is: your saving faith is not, at root, a decision about Christ’s truth, but a sight of Christ’s glory. I’ll say it again. At root — this is important. At root, your faith, your saving faith, is not a decision about the truth of Christ. At root, it is a seeing of the beauty of Christ, the all-satisfying, all-compelling beauty of Christ.

When you are confronted with infinite, all-satisfying beauty, the question is not: So what is your decision? The question is: What do you see? Do you see Christ in the gospel as beautiful — more beautiful, more glorious, more satisfying than anything else? That is the question. That is the root question. When you are presented with infinite beauty — all-satisfying beauty — the question is not: So, what is your decision?

Picture yourself in an art class, and the teacher holds up a beautiful painting. And you look at it and find it boring, and the teacher says to you, “So, make up your mind. Decide: Is it beautiful, or is it boring?” Your proper response to the teacher is, “It doesn’t work like that. You show me a painting. I think it is boring. You tell me to decide. That is not what you do when you see something. You don’t decide. You just either see it as boring, or you see it as beautiful. You don’t decide to see it as beautiful. If you tell me I am supposed to write on the test, “It is beautiful,” I can do that, but there is a name for that: it is called lying or hypocrisy.”

You can’t decide yourself into seeing as beautiful what you think boring. It doesn’t work like that. And you would be right to respond to her that way. Deciding isn’t what gets you there.

New Sight of Christ

I was eighteen years old once. You know how long ago that was? Fifty years ago. And I sang a song.

I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
No turning back.
No turning back.

I sang that. I loved that. I meant that. And I am singing it now and meaning it. It is a good song. However, I have learned something: Beneath and before I could ever decide to lay my life down in the discipleship of Jesus Christ, I had to see him; otherwise I am playing with him.