The whole earth is full of glory — and we find ourselves surrounded by glory in every direction. But not every glory is saving glory, as John Piper explained in a sermon in Houston back in April of this year. He was talking about his new book, A Peculiar Glory, and what makes saving faith so unique. Here’s a clip of what he said.
The reason I called it a peculiar glory — that is the title of the book, A Peculiar Glory — is because I am not interested in generic glory, like a three-point buzzer beater to win the tournament. That is glorious, but it doesn’t save anybody. It doesn’t make anybody know something glorious. But it is pretty amazing. And we come out of our couches — if you can get out of your couch. I am not talking about that. I am talking about a peculiar glory.
“God’s peculiar glory is an inexplicable, inimitable, unparalleled coming together of diverse excellencies.”
What I mean is an inexplicable, inimitable, unparalleled coming together of diverse excellencies — that is Jonathan Edwards’s phrase — diverse excellencies, like majesty and meekness in Jesus. “Though he [Christ] was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on” the most horrible, tortured, shaming thing from God to shame: the cross (Philippians 2:6–8). That is amazing. That is true.
I will stake my life on it. That man is true. Even if you say: They made it up. No, they didn’t make that up. It is woven into the fabric of the Bible. It is woven into the fabric of my heart. It is woven into the fabric of the world, that kind of peculiar glory that he dwells in the high and holy place and with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit (see Isaiah 57:15). There is no god like our God. In fact, that is exactly the way Isaiah argued, isn’t it?
“All the gods make you work for them. God works for you.”
Who has seen a God like you (see Isaiah 64:4)? Now, that rhetorical question — Who has seen a God like you? — means, Nobody. You got that? Nobody has seen a God like you. Go to the Hindus. Go to the Muslims. Go to Jews who don’t believe in Jesus. Go to all the religions of the world. Who has seen a God like you? Who? You know what comes next? He “acts for those who wait for him.” All the gods make you work for them. God works for you. Out of his height, out of his infinite, glorious, holy, unimpeachable height, he comes and dies and saves and pours out his Spirit to carry you and help you. He works for those who wait for him. There is no God like this God. There is no glory like this glory. If God gives you eyes here, these eyes, and you read the Bible cover to cover over and over again, you will see the peculiar glory of God woven into this book such that you will know this book is God’s book.
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