Monday, January 19, 2009

An Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies

Oh, that I had written the brilliant title for this post! But those are the words of the 18th century puritan pastor Jonathan Edwards.

I was reading this morning out of John Piper's newest devotional-style book, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, a Christmas present from my parents, via my dad. The third entry is titled "The Lion and the Lamb," and in it, Piper discusses Jesus' diversity first as the lamb-like Lion as incarnate Christ--the Lion of Judah playing the part of the sacrificial lamb in order to absolve us our sins--and then as the lion-like Lamb standing in authority at the throne of God for eternity (Revelation 5:5-6).

Piper further discusses the diverse excellencies of Christ:

"We admire Christ for his transcendence, but even more because the transcendence of his greatness is mixed with submission to God. We marvel at him because his uncompromising justice is tempered with mercy. His majesty is sweetened by meekness. In his equality with God he has a deep reverence for God. Though he is worthy of all good, he was patient to suffer evil. His sovereign dominion over the world was clothed with a spirit of obedience and submission. He baffled the proud scribes with his wisdom, but was simple enough to be loved by children. He could still the storm with a word, but would not strike the Samaritans with lightning or take himself down from the cross."

Piper goes on to write that we love the diverse manhood of Jesus because we ourselves are full of dichotomy. But I think we can take that thesis a step further to say that imitating Christ (Ephesians 5:1), we are called to embody dichotomy in our spiritual lives, to be "an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies" through the power of the Spirit that resides within us. We must live out of both grace and truth, both justice and mercy, in the world even as we are citizens of another world. We are called to live boldly as coheirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) and humbly as those desperately in need of grace (Romans 12:3).

May the power of the Lion and the love of the Lamb make our faith in Christ unshakable. So deliver us from small dreams and timid ventures and halting plans. Embolden us. Strengthen us. Make us love with fierce and humble love.
--John Piper

1 comment:

mowens said...

Thanks for sharing that. What a simple and complex truth.