Principle for Bible Reading
There is war happening for your soul. On one side, Satan is scheming to enslave you to sin and blind you to the beauty of God. But God, by his power, is able to lead you to faith, repentance, and freedom. How is the war won? John Piper looks at several key verses in this lab.
Repentance as Transformation (01:29–04:54)
- Unrepentant people lack the knowledge of the truth, are captured by the devil, and have lost their senses. (2 Timothy 2:25–26)
- God alone grants repentance. When it comes, it comes from him. (2 Timothy 2:25)
- Repentance is a deep inner change in a person — change of mind, of heart, and of soul — that leads to a knowledge of the truth.
- Knowledge alone is not enough. Unbelieving and unrepentant people — even demons — can know a lot of true things about God.
- True knowledge of God sees Jesus as beautiful, compelling, and infinitely valuable.
- The kind of knowledge that leads to freedom and a right, vibrant relationship with God is grounded in repentance.
Salvation as Sight (04:54–08:32)
- Coming to their senses (2 Timothy 2:26) corresponds with repentance (2 Timothy 2:25).
- Repentance is a change of heart, in which we reacquire our ability to think and feel rightly.
- Escaping from the snare of the devil (2 Timothy 2:26) corresponds with coming to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25).
- The devil does not snare us by binding our hands against our will. When we’re under his power, we hate the right and love the wrong. No, the devil ensnares us through deception. He holds us in captivity by blinding us.
The Gift of God (08:32–10:51)
- Our Condition: We were snared by Satan, and were blinded by him. ⇒
- Our Repentance: God gives repentance, and restores our senses. ⇒
- Our Knowledge: Repentance leads to a knowledge that treasures Christ. ⇒
- Our Freedom: We are now free from the captivity to do the devil’s will, and free now to do the will of God.
- Based on 2 Timothy 2:25–26, how would you describe yourself before God granted you repentance? What language does Paul give to describe our condition?
- Is there true knowledge of God that does not spring from repentance? Can you think of examples in the Bible?
- How does the devil ensnare people? And how does God defeat their bondage to the devil?
Piper: “A saving knowledge of God sees the truth about Jesus as beautiful, compelling, and infinitely valuable.”