In the last few days, the other side of this hoopla have tried to say that Piper's view somehow thwarts God's sovereignty because Piper is here instructing pastors to "make people feel" like they need to be saved. Unlike, I guess, Peter at pentecost, where the folks listening were cut the the heart and were pleading with him, "what shall we do to be saved?"
But here's the thing: that troublemaker Jesus was also on about how our affections relate to our standing before God. There are a couple of places I think this is demonstrated pretty clearly, but here's one that is simply to obvious to ignore.
- Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [ESV, Mat 6]
Where your -treasure- is, there your -heart- will be. Jesus' words here say explicitly that your treasure -shows- where your heart is.
See -- God's sovereignty is not hardly at stake here: your ability to measure yourself is at stake here. And while we would all affirm -- Dr. Piper included -- that the foundation of our salvation is the finished work of Christ, and the basis for being assured is that Christ saves, our hero Mark Dricosll made a keen point about Grace in his recent "Ask Anything" sermon on the topic.
There was a guy who was a member of Mars Hill Church, and he was a serial adulterer. Married one grrl (that's how they spell it in Seattle), cheated on her, and married that one with whom he cheated. Did it a second and a third time. When Driscoll sat down with the guy, his response was classic: "Jesus forgives all my sins."
Driscoll's response is also classic: "Dude, while I can't see your heart or your soul, in my professional opinion, you do not know Jesus."
That statement is not legalism. It is the assessment that this guy's affections are not Christian affections. He wants worldly sex, not Godly sex. His treasure is laid up in the lap of women who are not his wife, and not at the feet of a savior who paid the highest price for his sin.
This is what Piper is talking about. This is how he is talking about it. Encouraging other pastors to talk about it this way is not hardly a vice -- because it turns out that this would actually be the most serious sin of the American church.
And I'll line that out, and finish up this Pyro-free week on this topic, tomorrow.
Piper speaks for himself, and if you don't understand him after this, I'm not sure I can help you. The really-vigilant will listen to the audio as it has nature embellishments that the text here doesn't necessarily represent.