Monday, June 29, 2009

The Humble Tenacity of Looking to Christ

Indeed, if gameness and heart are character traits that are valued highly in the prizefighter, so are they in the Christian.

"Jonathan Edwards just laid me bare in 1971 and '72 when I was reading his book Religious Affections. I can remember several nights where, in his chapter on evangelical humiliation, he began to peel back the onion layers of my soul. He would say, 'So you think you're humble? What if you're boasting in your humility?' And you admit, 'Yes, I probably am boasting in my humility.' And he would ask, 'Well, what if your confession that you are boasting in your humility is really a pose, and you're still boasting in your humility?'

He gave question after question that made you realize, 'There's no center to this onion.' You peel and peel and peel, and the last peel just disappears, because you can always ask yourself, 'How do you know?' You can always doubt yourself. There's no way, by mere self-analysis, to come to a point where you're looking at something that you can say, 'Definitely authentic!' Because the capacity of the human brain to doubt is always there.

So where in the world does assurance come from? The answer is that, even though introspection is commended and wise up to a point, the bottom line of assurance comes when you stop analyzing and you look to Christ and you look and you look and you look until Christ himself in his glory and his sufficiency by reflex, as it were, awakens a self-forgetful 'Yes!' to him.

Your best moments of assurance are not the moments when you're thinking about your assurance. Because the very moment that you're thinking about your assurance, you have the capacity at that moment to doubt your assurance. This little voice, whether it's your conscience or the devil, is saying, 'You think you have assurance, but...'

And so the answer comes, 'Look to the cross! Look to Christ!' And if you're able to look to the cross, if you're able to see him as sufficient and satisfying and powerfully able to carry all your sins, and you find yourself drawn out of yourself to say 'Yes' to him, that's what you want. You are assured. He is your assurance at that moment.

- John Piper, How can I know if my repentance is genuine?


  1. Good word. I've been learning in a new way the importance of looking always and only to Christ - I've also been learning in a new way just how unfaithful my flesh can be! Christ truly is everything - the only thing. :)

  2. Amen, brother!

    The Pipermeister has commented in an interview that he gets a lot of Christians wanting to bail out of their faith precisely because of despondency over the slowness of their progress in sanctification.

    The remedy for this is to ever be desiring Christ and looking to Him for our justification and assurance of the completion of sanctification, especially in the midst of failures in obedience.

    He is faithful.

  3. Warren,

    This is a timely word, thanks for posting it. I just started a new series on Isaiah 53, which has the same application: LOOK TO THE CROSS!

    "Behold, My Servant will prosper..."

    The effectiveness of His sacrifice can be traced in the smallest drop of faith that exists within our hearts. We always tend to want to be saved by our performance, but He did it all for us. Now, as a result, He is doing His great work in us. And this is just the beginning.

    Blessings, brother.


  4. You are always an encouragement, Derek.

    May the Lord's grace and peace be poured out in greater abundance upon you and your family.


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