Tuesday, September 9, 2014

THE CENTRALITY OF GOD - "God loves Himself more than He loves you" John Piper

THE CENTRALITY OF GOD - "God loves Himself more than He loves you" John Piper

October 14, 2009 at 7:24am
by The Reign of Christ *edits/additions
If Jesus Christ personally told you that He was going to pray for you five minutes from now, what do you think He would pray for? Would He pray for financial success, better health, moving you to a different neighborhood away from some of the recent crime? I don’t think these things would be at the top of the list. I think it would be something similar to John 17:

John 17:22-26 “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
He says that ‘I desire that they...see my glory’.

The question I have is: How many of you see this as an extremely desirable thing? More desirable than wealth and health. To see the Glory of Christ. The prospect of beholding the glory of Jesus Christ, even at the risk of your own comfort and possibly even our own life? I’m thinking of Job who said, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him”. Wow. Doesn’t that sound odd? Though He KILL ME, I will hope in Him! Can you imagine Job as a counselor interviewing you, a 21st century American and saying to you, “Hope in the one who is smiting you with boils. Hope in the very one who has just took everything you own. Hope in this one who has just took the life of your sons and daughters.” And if you want to tweak the situation a little to fit our day and time, “Hope in the very one who brought down the World Trade Center resulting in the death of thousands.” To the ‘natural’ mind, this sounds twisted and foolish, yet Job had this hope. And I believe that one can only have this hope, that one can only have this strength and confidence when one comes to grips with the absolute centrality and importance of God as Scripture proclaims.

I think that one of the reasons it is so hard for many to come to grips with these truths is because of the worldview in which they operate. Most people operate within a worldview in which Man is at the very center, the very core. It’s a worldview that has basic assumptions that man has certain rights, certain needs, and certain goals and then it moves away from that center, that focal point, to then interpret the world around these rights, needs, and goals. He then begins to see certain events, judges certain systems of thought, as problems only as it affects the center of his worldview - Man, and his assumed rights, assumed needs, assumed goals, etc. He considers Man and his assumed rights as the measure of all things.
The problem with this though is that it is in direct opposition to the Scriptures. It is directly opposed to the worldview presented to us by the apostles and prophets. The Biblical worldview is not one that simply includes Jesus on the outer ring along with a ton of other things; health, finances, family, that orbit around the center, Man. No, the Biblical worldview is the exact opposite. It is a worldview in which GOD is the center of reality. God is at the very core of existence. HE is the measure of all things. He is the creator. He is the one who spoke US in to existence by His breath, without which we would be nothing. We are the ones that are out on the outer ring floating and revolving around the center, God, as we exist for His purpose and desires. The Biblical worldview presents God and His goals, His rights, His purposes, His desires as central and it is out from this core that certain events, various schools of thought, are to be measured and are to be judged as problematic or not. We are not to ask, “What does man think?”, but “What has God said about the matter?”

For example: Job 2:7-9 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. 9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” Here is the man-centered, ungodly mindset. In essence, his wife is saying, “Who is this God that He can just come to you and cause you all this grief, and pain, and suffering, Job? Curse him.” Then, in sharp contrast, we see the Biblical mindset of Job who responds, “2:10 You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” And so here we have a picture of the two worldviews battling one another. The man-centered worldview which would curse God for exercising His sovereign prerogatives and purposes in violation of man’s assumed rights and entitlements VS the God-centered worldview which understands God’s centrality and acknowledges God’s sovereign prerogative in dishing out good and evil as He pleases.
As an introduction to this series of questions, I will read Isaiah 48:8-13 8 You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously, and that from before birth you were called a rebel. 9 “For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. 10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. 11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. 12 “Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last. 13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together.

1. Q: Why did God choose us?
A: Ephesians 1:4-6, 12, 14 In love 5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace... 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory... 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

2. Q: Why did God create us?
A: Isaiah 43:6-7 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory,

3. Q: Why did God call Israel?
A: Jeremiah 13:11 For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.

4. Q: Why did God rescue Israel from Egypt?
A: Psalm 106:7-8 Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the Sea, at the Red Sea. 8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power.

5. Q: Why did God raise up Pharaoh?
A: Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

6. Q: Why did God defeat Pharaoh at the Red Sea?
A: Exodus 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.

7. Q: Why did God spare Israel in the wilderness?
A: Ezekiel 20:13-14 I said I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to make a full end of them. 14 But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out.

8. Q: Why did God not cast away His people for their evil?
A: 1 Samuel 12:22 For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself.

9. Q: Why did God restore Israel from exile?
A: Ezekiel 36:22-23 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. ..32 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

10. Q: What did Jesus seek in all that He did?
A: John 7:18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.

11. Q: Why are we to do good works?
A: Matthew 5:16 let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

12. Q: Jesus warned that not seeking what would make faith impossible?
A: John 5:44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

13. Q: For what reason does Jesus answer prayer?
A: John 14:13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14. Q: For what reason did Jesus endure His final hour of suffering?
A: John 12:27-28 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.”

15. Q: Why does God forgive our sins?
A: Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
Psalm 79:8-9 Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. 9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!
David cried out: Psalm 25:11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.

16. Q: What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit?
A: John 16:14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

17. Q: For what purpose are we to do all things?
A: 1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

18. Q: Why are people under judgment?
A: Romans 1:22-23 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

19. Q: Why was Herod struck dead?
A: Acts 12:21-23 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

20. Q: What replaces the sun in the New Jerusalem?
A: Revelation 21:23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Friends, from beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation, from creation to consummation, we see that God’s ultimate allegiance is to Himself. The driving impulse behind all that God does is for the glorification of His great Name. His unwavering purpose is to exalt HIS name and to be marveled at for His grace and power. He is infinitely jealous for His own reputation. “My glory I will not give to another.”

John Piper once asked in a sermon, “When was the last time you brought home a sunday school lesson entitled, ‘God loves Himself more than He loves you?” To many Christian’s ears, it is such a strange thing to say but how could it be in light of what we just read? Generation after generation of church members are passing on believing that THEY are at the center of the universe. It’s revealed in how we evangelize, how we disciple, how we talk, eat, and drink. To quote Piper again, “God is the most important person in the universe and He does not like to be taken for granted:

“God is an important person because he created everything in the universe, including all the things and all the people that we think are important and newsworthy.
“Behold, I myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and brings out a weapon for its work; and I have created the destroyer to ruin” (Isaiah 54:16).

God is important because everything newsworthy - from inventors to weapons to calamities - he has created. God is an important person because he upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3) and controls the affairs of men and nations with conscious purpose and plan.

“He changes the times and epochs; he removes kings and establishes kings” (Daniel 2:21). “He does according to his will among the inhabitants of earth, and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What hast thou done?”’ (Daniel 4:35).

God is an important person because he knows all things - all motives, all causes, all designs, all effects, all structures, all secrets, all possibilities. “I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my pleasure.”’ (Isaiah 46:9-10).

God is an important person because he is the only path to eternal life and the only source of everlasting joy. “Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy, at thy right hand are pleasures forever more” (Psalm 16:11).

God is an important person because in his Son he stands at the center of human history and is measure of all truth and all beauty and all goodness, and on his saving will hangs the destiny of every human being (John 14:6). It is simply impossible to overstate the importance of God.

And he does not like being taken for granted. The psalm does not say, “Great is the Lord and greatly to be taken for granted.” It says, “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised” (Psalm 96:4). God makes known his displeasure with being taken for granted by telling us again and again that his aim in all that he does is to be honored and praised and glorified and loved and treasured and trusted and sung and declared and confessed and enjoyed.

He tells us that the demons and the angels will not be able to take him for granted because every tongue in heaven and under the earth will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:9-11)... Yet it’s not unusual for metropolitan newspapers to have an entire section devoted to sports and not one column devoted to God. Not one minute on primetime news. Not one course in 12 years of public education. Not one page in Time or Newsweek.
And how different is it with us evangelicals?...

So I admit very freely that I am on a crusade to say everywhere I can: God does not like to be taken for granted. It flies in the face of his eternal purposes - that he be known and loved and praised and enjoyed. And it makes us superficial people--Superficial preachers and superficial journalists. If you leave the infinite, all-defining, all-controlling, all-pervasive God out of account, all understandings and all interpretations and all analyses are superficial. When the main thing is missing, what’s left is distorted and superficial, whatever it is. “ - taken from “God Is A Very Important Person” by John Piper.

Charles Misner, a scientific specialist in general relativity theory, had this to say about Albert Einstein’s view of preaching back in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s:
“… God does all that He does for His own glory. He has orchestrated the entire cosmos so that HE will ultimately be glorified in all His perfections, mercy and wrath, because HE is most important person of all and His desires, goals, purposes, rights, are of the utmost priority. Who am I to say otherwise?

Again, this I believe is the heart of the matter. When we come across a particular Scripture, we need to recognize that we are all viewing the Scriptures through lenses that will determine the kinds of questions we ask of the text and the kind of ‘problems’ we may see. God predestinating someone will certainly be a problem for someone whose worldview has man at the center and his ‘assumed’ rights as ultimate concern. And this is the very worldview Scripture attacks.
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  • Jean Az likes this.
  • Mike Boswell If God loves Himself more than He loves us, so what? That's His right, His prerogative. The more important matter is that God DOES love us. He has chosen to love us. Who cares that He loves Himself more? There's a lot of good stuff in here. And, yes, God IS central. But, there is some imbalance here. Because throughout Scripture, it is shown that God has chosen to be good to us. He has chosen to love us. He has chosen to answer prayers. He has instructed us to present our requests before Him. He sends rain to the righteouse AND the wicked. He has chosen to direct His love toward us, His creation.

    So, true...people need to understand that God IS central. I agree that that messes with people's ideas. But, I don't think most people would argue that truth - at least theologically. Maybe practically in how they live, but not theologically. However, the way some of this article is presented, it almosts sounds as if God is out to get man - and man "better just deal with it because I'm God." Well, a view like that makes God look like a selfish, immature, narcissistic teenager who doesn't want to grow up. God is not that. He is not a self-consumed spoiled brat. He is self-sufficient and doesn't need our praise or affirmation. He is self-existent and doesn't need our approval. But, He is definitely worthy of it. And, when we do give Him praise and worship, who does it benefit? God? No. It benefits the ones who give Him praise. Well, isn't that self-centered? No. It's just how God designed it. Why? Because He does love us -and desires the best for us. His blessing of us is littered throughout all Scripture. His wrath is for a moment, but His favor is for a lifetime. Isaiah 61 - His wrath is for a day, but His favor is throughout the year.

    The best for us is to center our lives on Him. He is our all in all. "Better is one day in Your courts..." Why? Because He is a good God who has our good in mind. He is not out to destroy us. Break and crush and humble us? Yes. Why? So that we will turn to Him and be blessed and receive favor from Him. He enjoys showing His goodness and love to us. Because that is part of His nature.

    So, there is truth in this article. Good truth. It's just not as balanced as it should be. And, yes, there are Scriptures throughout all the Bible that support what I just wrote. I just don't have the time to list all of them out. Just look up in the concordance all forms of love, good, goodness, give, bless, care, etc. And see how many of them describe the attention God gives to us by loving us, showing His goodness to us, giving to us, blessing us, caring for us, and so forth. Add to that the Scriptures that say the same thing but use different words besides those listed.

    Have a great day!
  • Mike Boswell I'm not saying that you or Piper are trying to do this, but we have to be careful (myself included) not to turn the God of the Bible into Allah who is not love. In Muslim thinking, the saying goes that there are 100 names for Allah. They claim to know 99 of them. But, not one of them is love. People need to know the love of God - and that the God of the Bible, as omnipotent and central to the universe as He is - is not aloof, distant, mean-spirited, or grumpy. "God is love" as John says. And, He bestows His love generously on His creation.
  • Timothy Cheng Where in the Bible does it say God loves Himself?
  • Tuese Ahkiong Mike,
    1. When you use the word "us" are you referring to Christians or everybody without exception?
    2. Do you believe God has a special love for Christians that He does not give to non-Christians?
    ...See More
  • Tuese Ahkiong Tim,
    see the verses in # 3,4,7, 9, 15 above.
    I think you're looking for something more direct like the verses below, but the one's above definitely demonstrate God's love for Himself.

    John 3:35
    The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands 
    John 5:20
    For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.
    Colossians 1:13
    For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
  • Timothy Cheng Oh ok, thanks. Yea, I agree that God should be center. This does have pretty good stuff. But I think God gives His love to everyone and there is no special love that is withheld from anyone.

    Matthew 5:43-45 (KJV)

    43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
    44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
    45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

    And God shows no favoritism.

    Romans 2:10-12 (KJV)

    10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
    11For there is no respect of persons with God.
    12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
  • Mike Boswell Tu, I'll answer your questions, but I won't argue with you (at least I'll try not to). Again, much of this we already discussed in detail when I was with you. We looked at Scripture and so forth. But, as a reminder, I'll answer your questions:
    1. Ev
    ...See More
  • Tuese Ahkiong Matt 5, demonstrates God's benevolent love (or what is known as God's common grace) for the evil and the good in that He provides for them health, wealth, wisdom, life....

    This is NOT a saving love or effectual grace love otherwise everyone would be s
    aved. Saving Love is God's love only for His elect, His bride, His Church, His People, because those who hate God will go to hell; God will kill them. Plus, those in hell are separated from the love of God. 

    see Romans 8:35-39
    35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: 
    "For your sake we face death all day long; 

    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Luke 19.26"He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 27But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and KILL THEM IN FRONT OF ME."

    In Matt 5.45 We are like God our Father in heaven when we are benevolent towards our enemies but in the end, God deals with His enemies by making them eat His Wrath Forever and ever. If a person is in hell for eternity, do you honestly believe they can say that God loves them?

    Romans 2:10-12
    Yes, God shows no favoritism. The context is that He will treat Greek and Jew equally in regards to the law and their sin. 

    Justice is getting what you deserve; hell
    Mercy is not getting what you deserve; hell
    Grace is getting what you don't deserve; Jesus; Peace with God.

    Grace is a gift; unmerited; undeserved. God is Not obligated to give saving grace to everyone otherwise it would no longer be grace.

    1. Deut.7:6-8 “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, A SPECIAL TREASURE ABOVE ALL THE PEOPLES on the face of the earth.7 “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;8 “but BECAUSE THE LORD LOVES YOU, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
    2. Deut 10:14-15 "Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. 15"Yet on your fathers did the LORD SET HIS AFFECTION TO LOVE THEM, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. 
    3. Exodus 33:19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
    4. Matt 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins."
    5. John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." 
    6. John 10:16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
    7. John 10:24-29 The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." 25Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, 26but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one."
    8. Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
  • Mike Boswell I have no problem with any of the Scriptures you use. I just disagree with your conclusions. Each one can be debated. Each one has been debated by people with minds greater than mine or yours. Yet, both views remain.
  • Tuese Ahkiong Timothy,
    God is not partial in that He looks for something within the creature to make Him choose that creature. A person is chosen solely upon God's good sovereign pleasure.

    One of the interesting aspects of Christianity is that God reveals Himself as a Triunity or Trinity; One God revealed in 3 persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). There is unity and diversity within the God Head. God is love because it is God's nature in that God The Father is loving God The Son and God The Son is loving God The Spirit and The Spirit The Father...
    Other faiths do not have a god of love. There god has to create something, i.e., universe, man, to love. Unfortunately, some Christians teach that God created the universe and man because He was lonely. This is so wrong! God is a Trinity and He's never been alone or lonely.

    Anyhow, I like our talks. Let's keep sharpening each other.
  • Ward Fenley Hi Mike, not arguing the greatness of anyone's mind, but if the argument of both views needing to remain because they have been debated by minds greater than ours, why do you disagree with one of the views? And if you do disagree, why does the knowledge that greater minds have argued these matters...matter?  

    Also, one question: If God knows everything ahead of time, then is anything free to happen any differently than the way God knows it will happen? If your answer is no, then how can we argue for *free* will, if it is not free to happen any differently than the way God knows it will happen? If your answer is yes, then doesn't that mean God doesn't actually know everything? I have tried to attack this argument from every which way and find an alternative, but have come to the conclusion that there is only one of two answers.
  • Ward Fenley Tuese, If Jesus is God (which He is), and the Bible says:

    John 17:23 I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.

    How can it be that God loves Himself more than us, when Jesus wanted the world to know that God has loved us just as He loved Jesus (Himself)? In other words, Jesus is saying that the Father has loved us just as much as the Father has loved the Son. I am trying to vindicate the statement, "God loves Himself more than you." Obviously, for that statement to be true, the word love means something different than the way Jesus used it.
  • Ward Fenley Hi Tuese, I read the article. And I agree with everything in the article. However, again, the statement God loves Himself more than He loves you doesn't seem to harmonized with the words of Christ: Joh 17:23 I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me" Obviously God is the Center and absolute Sovereign of the universe, without whom nothing can exist, move, live, or have being. He controls every thought, motive, and result. But sovereignty must be distinguished from love. God considers Himself more powerful, more sovereign, more knowledgeable, more present, than any believer. However, no love can be greater than the love He has shown His people. To say that God loves Himself more is to say that the love with which God loves is is inferior to another love. For example: God is righteous. So are we in His sight. Is He more righteous than His people? No. Because He has given us His righteousness. No righteousness can exceed the righteousness He has given us because it is God's righteousness. If God's righteousness exceeded our righteousness in Him, then He could not dwell with us. So all these things I am sure Piper agrees with. But I am failing to see his (or the title's) statement that He loves Himself more than He loves us. That's why I asked for a definition of "love." There may be categories we need to make.

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